MEQUON – Connie Pukaite, former alderwoman for District 2, thanked the common council for a special proclamation which named April 18, 2017, as “Connie Pukaite Day” in recognition of her service.
“Thank you very much, that was lovely,” Pukaite said.
Pukaite had a varied history with the city as alderwoman, council president, and a stint as mayor from 1986 to 1992. She first got involved with local government in 1982.
Elected three years ago to the council, Pukaite said she was surprised and appreciated the opportunity the voters provided.
“This purposeful retirement feels like déjà vu all over again,” she said.
While she is retiring from office, Pukaite said she isn’t retiring from civic engagement, saying her new title is “active citizen.” She said residents should stay informed and share their views.
Pukaite said there are no unique qualifications to being an alderman beyond being a thoughtful citizen who will take the time to study the issues. She said those in office need to be “visionaries and change agents” and need to help the city adapt to change and prepare for the future.
Pukaite said she always had competition when running for office, saying it meant either she was doing something right or something wrong.
“I personally think more people should be running for office,” she said.
Issues for the future
The council is facing two major issues, Pukaite said.
First, they need to address emerging city needs for public safety personnel to meet the demands of increasing drug problems in the area. She said many wonderful people serve in public safety but the city needs to plan for a future when the city can’t raise up as many volunteers.
While the council says public safety is the number one goal, Pukaite said the budget hasn’t reflected action to back that claim.
The second biggest issue is city infrastructure – buildings, parks, roads, etc. – that are falling into poor condition.
In a closing message, Pukaite called the council “good and dedicated public servants.” She said she respects and admires their dedication to the city.
She also appreciates Glenn Bushee, the man who has taken her place as District 2 alderman. She said he’s been studying the issues in the city for months. He is a “very thoughtful man with great questions,” according to Pukaite.
She said she’s glad he’s her alderman.