Hagen announces bid for 5th term
Hagen served his first three terms as mayor between 1975 and 1987, and was elected again to the city’s top administrative post in 2011.
“Frankly, I did not come home after moving to Madison for 22 years to run for office,” Hagen said. “I came home to be nearer to family and very, very long-term friends that I’ve known since childhood. This is my hometown.”
Hagen said when he went to Madison in 1988, it was his intent to return home when he retired.
“Running for mayor when I came home was an afterthought and it allowed me to do what I most love, know and care about and that is local government,” Hagen said of a passion stemming from his childhood, when his father was involved in local and state government.
Hagen said he decided to announce his candidacy now to give citizens the opportunity to explore his qualifications and those of other candidates likely to step forward between now and the April 7 election.
Hagen said he and his wife Lois will meet with citizens, organizations, businesses and other groups over the next eight months to get their message out. They won’t be accepting contributions nor spending their own money during the campaign.
“We believe in Superior, the people of Superior and the absolute requirement for continuation of positive vision,” Hagen said.
While Hagen is the first to announce his candidacy, he said he does expect challengers in the spring election.
During his fifth term in office, Hagen’s focus has been on jobs and improving the image of the city. It’s that focus he would carry into another term.
“I am very strong that we have to have a proper image to present ourselves to not just those that live here, but to those that are thinking of coming here,” Hagen said. He said the goal is to create a lasting, positive image.
“Unlike decade after decade of high unemployment, Superior is no longer the community that leads the pack in unemployment and fewer job opportunities,” Hagen said. “Throughout the recent and entire recession, Superior has witnessed unemployment levels much lowers the state and certainly much lower than the nation, by a considerable margin.”
Hagen credits the diversification of the local economy to provide a wide array of opportunities without dependence on one or two major industries for some of the city’s success.
“I’ve stated over and over that government doesn’t create jobs …government can be an obstacle or part of the solution. My role as mayor has been and continues to be that we as government get out of the way to be a positive part of the solution rather than an obstacle,” Hagen said. “What we emphasize is making decisions, decisions without delay and move to get the job done.”
In addition to jobs, Hagen has reprioritized how the city budgets its limited resources to address city infrastructure.
In a city second only in area to Milwaukee, the city has about 350 miles of streets, 150 miles of alleys, parks, ball fields, tennis courts and other assets to maintain.
“All of this is very expensive and we are making great strides in prioritizing with the resources available,” Hagen said. By re-establishing priorities, he said more has been accomplished since he took office than was done for many years before that.
And it happened at a time when the city’s share of property tax levy has been on the decline.
“It’s no wonder that Superior was recently rated the best city to live in throughout Wisconsin,” Hagen said. At a time when other Wisconsin communities are not making improvements, and are laying off workers, Superior is still moving forward, the mayor said.
“Standing still is not an option; standing still is really moving backwards,” Hagen said.