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Surprise mayor-elect eager to start

December 11, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

"If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve." - William Tecumseh Sherman

When Jeremiah Schutt was asked to run, he did; now he's the mayor-elect in Winnebago. He will be sworn in Jan. 8.

"I had a couple groups of people approach me," said Schutt, who has lived in Winnebago his whole life. "They wanted to write me in ... and wondered if I was interested. That was the start."

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Jeremiah Schutt was elected mayor of Winnebago in November through a write-in campaign. He will be sworn into office Jan. 8.

Although flattered, Schutt needed some time to think about it.

"My fear was:?Do I really have enough time to do this?" he said.

He knew being mayor isn't just about presiding over the monthly council meeting. There's also special meetings, committee meetings and "normal business things," he said.

Besides, Schutt has plenty to do. He works for Royer's in Winnebago as a plumbing, heating and air-conditioning technician. He is on the Winnebago Area Museum board of directors and "very active" with Our Savior's Lutheran church, where he has been a trustee for six years, played organ and volunteered for more than 10 years.

After talking to the city administrator and council members, Schutt "decided it would be a great experience."

Plus, he got another important vote of confidence:?"My wife (Heidi) has been very supportive."

Because it was too late to get his name on the ballot, Schutt and his supporters had to mount the write-in campaign.

In November, Schutt edged incumbent Mayor Randy Nowak, 310-286.

"I was very excited," Schutt said. "I know it's gonna be a challenge, but I'm happy and ready for the challenge."

"I know there's things I have to learn," he said. "With my other board positions, I know the general way things operate.

"Church is a small governing body and so is the museum," he said. "I know how a governing body works, dealing with budgets, dealing with committees. There's still stuff to learn, but I don't feel like I'm in the dark."

Schutt already has some ideas about how he wants to proceed.

Although he and his wife of one year don't have children, he feels the area's children are important.

"I really wanted to keep the elementary school system going - [that's] high on my priority list," Schutt said. "The other thing is, I know it's a small town, but I need to get more industry in town, get the population growing, keep more kids in our schools.

"It's easy to talk about it and hard to do," he acknowledged, but he has a game plan. "Talk to the council and EDA board. Just a matter of trying to implement a plan."

Schutt believes he is as ready as he can be.

"I think it will be a fairly smooth transition, I really do," he said.



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