SHELL LAKE, WI -- My name is Rowie Hansberger and I am running for City of Shell Lake Mayor.
Forty-nine years ago, after growing up in a house with nine siblings, I married my husband Bruce, and we started a life and journey together that brought us three wonderful sons and an amazing extended family highlighted with 10 grandchildren. Throughout my life, I’ve enjoyed a sense of community built around my family, our activities, and my work as a registered nurse, with some of the closest bonds being formed over four volunteer trips to Africa. On those trips, we performed surgeries, set up HIV/AIDS clinics and a nursing school, and during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, manned a treatment center in Liberia. I hope to return for a fifth trip soon.
Eight years ago, when Bruce and I both retired and moved to Shell Lake, it was the first time in our marriage when a community wasn’t brought to our door through our family or a job. And so, we decided to seek and create social connections through volunteering. Bruce joined the Lions and served as its president, and I joined the library book club. After a few years, our circle of friends encouraged me to run for city council, something I had never considered. However, even though I wasn’t sure exactly what I could bring to the council, given some of my experience on the board of United Way and in management, I was confident I could be a productive member of the council team as I learned my role. Over the last four years on the council, I’m proud to have been a leader in securing the new police building, updating the community center, and restoring the shelter house. But most importantly, I’m grateful for the ties we’ve formed with the community of Shell Lake and the lives we’ve helped make better.
Over the last year, my fellow council members, business leaders, and friends have encouraged me to run for mayor, and just like the council, this isn’t something I had ever considered. But given my experience, I am confident I can do the job well. That hints at, but doesn’t answer the most important question though, why do I want to be Mayor of Shell Lake? The answer is that I love this beautiful city, and I think I can make a difference. Below are three priorities, in no particular order, of how I’ll organize and describe my efforts.
- Foster economic growth and enhance public safety, supporting local businesses and protecting our environment. Under this priority, I envision efforts, like those of the Shell Lake Inland Lake Protection Advisory Committee, that protect our city’s most valuable asset, the lake and its signature clarity.
- Champion the policies that create a more thriving and sustainable city. For instance, I envision a more close-knit community sharing the common value of developing our children. A vision I am already attempting to carry out as President of “Friends of the Library” where I work with a group of women and an engaged library staff to increase the city library patronage and introduce innovative new programs for children and their families.
- Increase the transparency of our local government. The first step here is to increase the visibility and accessibility of the Mayor and City Council Members by making more public appearances in support of the city’s activities. If elected, I will also publish a monthly letter to the editor describing our successes and challenges and the planned way forward.
I chose Community First as my campaign slogan because I think it best describes my values, vision, and approach. If you agree, I need partners in making a difference in our community. The best place to start that partnership is by voting for me in April. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail and working with you in the future.
If you are a City of Shell Lake resident and would like to learn more about me and my priorities, please email me at email@example.com or call me at 651-595-5200.