Cool Dude #2: Deb Hadley
by Dino Corvino on March 12th, 2008
(A note on Candidates, and Councilpersons pieces: I want to be clear that my writing these pieces is not an endorsement of any person. I have a clear view as to what I believe, and I have no problem with that view, but these pieces focus on the act of service. As always, we ask for your comments. We ask that your discussion be civil, fact-based, and respectful of these very real people who live in our city. These are people with children, with families, and with feelings like you and I. We are not asking you to agree with us, but we are asking you to raise the level of discourse to allow for public discussion to be polite. With that, we reserve the right to remove or refute comments we feel to be overtly negative, or prove to be factually inaccurate. We thank you, and we hope you vote for someone.)
Deb Hadley is not playing around. She is running for Mayor of Wausau, and is running an aggressive campaign. She has a plan, she is telling people about that plan, and is not afraid to take on the other guy and his plan. She is running a real campaign. It is clear from all the billboards around town, and the ads in the paper, and all the other stuff we are seeing.
Deb Hadley is a wife, a mother, and a member of our community. She has a loving relationship with her husband Mark. She has grown children. She and Mark have a circle of friends that they care for very much. She also is part of a multigenerational Wausau business that has employed what I assume to be hundreds of people over the years that it has existed.
Here is my favorite statistic. I spent 5 hours with her. I arrived at 9 am, and left a little bit after 2 pm. In contrast, my good friend Andy and I spend roughly 1 hour a week in each other’s presence. I really like Andy. So I clearly like Deb, because as a spoiled infant man I rarely do things I do not like. I spent 5 hours talking to who at the time was a total stranger. I think that is saying something.
What I learned during that time with Deb is that she believes what she is saying. She does not think that taxes need to go up. She wants to address spending on the part of our City before we go back to the taxpayers to increase taxes and ask for more money. She talked quite a bit about being a small business owner, and how from time to time in business we need to address spending. This is a valid point; a point worthy of discussion, and I wonder if it is currently being discussed with requisite seriousness.
I also learned that Deb likes to ski. She also has not really had a chance because when she and her husband, Mark, have free time they like to drive to visit their children, who live elsewhere these days. On that note, she talks with great love about her kids, and has a real desire to see them carry on in the family business. But, like my mom, sighs and is happy if they are happy.
Deb comes from a part of Wausau that my friend Al called Old Riverview, which is apparently by a golf course and down a long dirt road. Or at least that is how I imagine it. This neighborhood used to be home to just a few families, in what at the time was the country, and a bunch of kids who had free reign to be outdoorsy explorers. She was bussed to school until she was in 6th grade, but only because the neighborhood did not have a school until her 6th grade year. Deb also graduated from the first class at Wausau East; the first class to be a part of the split high schools in the city.
So there you go. A list of stuff about Deb Hadley: candidate for mayor. She was a member of the Wausau School board from December of 1993 through April 1999. This is one of those hot button issues, and I know you all wanted me to ask. She told me that she was recruited from her neighborhood to run. So I asked about the bussing issue, and she responded by telling me that she ran for School Board on the idea that she opposed the busing of the kids from their neighborhood school to that of other schools. She did not like the fact that her kids ended up in two different schools. Seems like a valid point.
Then she was out of public life for a while until 4 years ago when she was once again recruited to run, this time based on the issue of the Tax Bill here in Wausau. At that time she was a supporter of Mayor Tipple; she thought he was going to really address the issue. She felt he let that issue go after he was elected, and as a result wants to step up and give it a try. Deb feels that the taxpayers of this city are not being given the leadership that they deserve. She feels strongly enough about this to step up and be willing to take the attacks of the kind that only our Mayor takes.
When asked about those attacks, she said that she has been getting bombarded since the beginning. While she would not admit it, her husband talked about how it was hard on her. I am sure Mayor Tipple and his wife would say the same thing. There is something admirable though in the idea that she is doing this. She knows what is coming, she knows she will be faced with a barrage of personal, unfounded, and often times flat out cruel attacks and she steps up and does it anyway.
I don’t know Deb Hadley, and I am not sure I understand the budget process of a growing city like Wausau. But I think Deb is cool. I think Deb is everything that a Cool Dude should be. Willing. Committed. Brave enough to stand up for what she believes in.