Meet the Candidates: Karl Koenig - Board of Sueprvisors District 3
The Yuma Sun is spotlighting the candidates ahead of the Nov. 6 general election.
Name: Karl Koenig
Office running for: County supervisor, District 3
Family: Wife – Teri, daughters – Karin and Kris, sons – Patrick and Hans
Education: Worsham College of Mortuary Science diploma 1981
Employment: TRAX Test Services, Yuma Proving Ground
To what organizations do you belong? Masons, American Legion, AMVETS, Elks, Moose, ARRL
What in your past experiences helps qualify you for this seat? I am a current elected member of the Yuma Elementary District 1 Governing Board. My job as a board member requires knowledge of the ways a governing board operates, what the board can and cannot do, and how the state laws affect the operations of the board. The board deals with budgeting and making district policies. The keys to being an effective board member is to listen to your fellow board members, be willing to compromise, and not be afraid to fight for what you believe is right. This experience will transfer directly to the county board of supervisors, since they too follow some of the same laws and are charged with basically the same work.
In my work at Yuma Proving Ground, I have managed test programs with multimillion-dollar budgets and large numbers of personnel. I understand and appreciate what it means to be a steward of taxpayer dollars, and I have proven to accomplish that task well. I also developed and operated Sunset Vista Cemetery & Funeral Home, located in the Foothills. This venture gave me experience of operating a business in the private sector. Starting a new business from scratch is no easy task. Sunset Vista is now in its 24th year of operations. I am proud to have been the force behind that. I have created jobs in Yuma in the past, and I continue to do so today.
If elected, what is the one issue on which you would focus to improve Yuma's quality of life? How? I have always maintained, and most economists would agree, that the key to a strong economy in a community is an educated workforce and a good infrastructure. As a school board member, I am already working to find ways to a better education to our community. As a supervisor, I will continue to support the Yuma County superintendent of public instruction and the programs that office undertakes to bring better education to our county. As a supervisor I would focus on the infrastructure and work to find ways to provide better roads, power, water, rail service, etc., to the county so the goods we produce can reach the intended markets.
What do you think is the biggest challenge right now facing Yumans, and how would you change it? Lowering the unemployment rate in Yuma is probably the biggest challenge. It is not easily fixed, and no one person can do it. To reduce unemployment, it will take an effort by the entire community. The way I can help as a supervisor is to work to make the county more business friendly. This could be done in a number of ways that help the small businesses to expand and help entrepreneurs start new businesses. If that were accomplished, new jobs would be created, thus lowering the unemployment rate. Again, this is no easy task and there is no silver bullet.
What would you do to make government more accessible? I would improve communications with constituents. At this point in time, electronic communication is the norm, rather than the exception. Nearly everyone now has access to email, internet, text messaging, etc., either at home, their work, their cell phone, or our public library. I would utilize this medium to inform the public of important events, plans, schedules, or whatever it might be that will have some impact on them. They then can contact me as well to ask questions, make suggestions, etc. I would have a regularly scheduled newsletter posted on my website as well, to help keep people up to date. Lastly, anyone can call me anytime and we can discuss issues directly. There would be no reason that someone could not express their opinion or get information, 24/7 by using any or all of these means of communication.
Who is your personal hero, and why? My grandfather, who was always there when I needed him.