2023 Candidate Questionnaire: Richard Wehner For Havre De Grace City Council
HAVRE DE GRACE - The Havre de Grace Patch spoke to Richard Wehner about his history, why he is running for office, and his positions on local issues.
Below are Wehner's answers to our candidate questionnaire.
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
"I'm a mechanic at heart, and I realized that a lot of times, something doesn't have to be broken to make it perform better. I don't see any massive issues with the current operation of the city, but some areas can be addressed. Since becoming involved in some of the committees and boards, which I've been doing since moving down here. I've noticed a few policies and ordinances that may be antiquated."
"As a contract writer for pretty much my entire life, I've realized the devil is in the details. If elected, I'm looking forward to getting into the minutiae of some of these ordinances and streamlining and cleaning things up."
"I think our citizens occasionally are faced with instances where it feels like the city's working against them, and that should never be the case. We should be either working for or with you or, at the very minimum, getting out of your way."
What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?
"A lot of effort and focus is given to the downtown area, and it should be because that's where the local businesses are for the most part."
"Nevertheless, we've concentrated so heavily on the downtown business area that other parts of the city often get overwhelmed. I want to get more of the city involved geographically and focus more on prettying up or making some areas of the city more welcoming and attractive. Hopefully, this would drive some traffic to other parts of the city where small businesses exist."
"The bigger we can make that attractive business zone, geographically, the more anchor businesses we can attract."
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
"I'm the worst politician on the planet because I would rather have someone not vote for me for the right reasons than vote for me for the wrong ones. I'm brutally honest when asked a question, and I'm sure that has cost me some votes."
"I don't see hidden agendas with anybody [currently on the council]. Nevertheless, some people are more skilled at doing what is necessary to procure votes, and what sets me apart is that I'm not good at that."
"I don't have it in me to paint the corners of the plate to win a vote, so if you ask me a question about something, I'm going to give you an honest answer, even if that honest answer is no."
Where do you work, and what is your job title?
"I work for the Department of Defense's Global Veterinary Medical Practice. We run veterinary clinics for military dogs as well as privately owned pets of active-duty soldiers and retired veterans. We have 139 clinics on bases all around the globe. This program is operated under what's called a NAFI, which is a non-appropriated fund instrument, meaning they have to make money, unlike a standard military base operation where it's all taxpayer-funded."
"Specifically, I look at the way the clinics are run, trying to find ways to make them more profitable, increase access to care, and ensure that our clients are well served."
"Most of our day involves somebody coming up with an idea. We sit there and argue about the validity and try to find ways to correct the problems and then implement a plan. It's the most rewarding job I've ever had."
What is your age and birthplace? Other family information you'd like to share?
I grew up in Middle river Maryland and later moved to Edgewood, right outside of the APG base. I lived there until I got married, and then my wife and I moved to Joppa and bought our first house. We lived there for about 25 years before moving to Havre de Grace.”
Please list the schools and colleges you attended, the degrees you attained, and when.
“I went to Eastern vocational technical high school; my primary focus was diesel mechanics. I graduated high school with six ASE certifications. I did some knocking around in the industry until I realized it wasn't something I was particularly interested in doing for the rest of my life.”
"I got my undergrad from the University of Maryland in computer science with a minor in E-commerce technology management; I later received my graduate degree from the University of Maryland in project management."
Approximately how much money do you expect to spend on your campaign?
"Counting signs, advertisement, and everything else: well under $1000, probably somewhere in the five to six hundred dollar range."
How long have you lived in Havre de Grace?
"I Moved here in 2016 with my wife, and we just fell in love with the town. The small-town feel, the friendliness of the people, and how there was always so much happening made us want to stay forever."
What's your favorite thing about Havre de Grace?
"This is going to sound very cliche, but it's honest: the people."
"I've lived in several places, but I've never before had a place that I considered a hometown. When you do volunteer work in Havre de Grace, you realize just how many people in this city are willing to dedicate their time, efforts, and talents to make the city work."
What is the biggest issue facing Havre de Grace?
"One easily identifiable thing is the parking situation. I don't think it's as big a problem as it's being made out to be, but when you have local people living here that are parking where they normally park, and you have businesses that are operating, and then you throw two or three festivals in the same weekend in the same tight space it causes an overflow of traffic."
“Another thing is that we're constantly playing catch-up to address other issues around town. When changes to the city ordinance are being introduced, it is essential to look two steps ahead toward what new issues will be introduced."
"I want to clarify that the city has done a pretty good job addressing these problems, but there is still room to improve."
The Havre de Grace Patch has reached out to the other candidates for City Council and hopes to post their candidate questionnaire responses later this week.