Brookfield Alderman Steve Ponto, 62, is getting used to change.
After 30 years as a corporate attorney, Ponto in December accepted a severance package after the company he worked for, Metavante, was acquired by Fidelity National Information Services.
Now, he's looking for another change.
Ponto is turning his focus to Brookfield's mayoral race.
"I have the qualifications and experience to do a better job in these difficult times," he said.
Politics a lifelong interest
Ponto is in his 12th year as an alderman and has been re-elected four times. He served as Common Council president twice, from 2002-04 and 2006-08.
He said running for mayor is something he has considered for a long time; he has been interested in politics since he was a student at Lawrence University in Appleton.
A stint as a student worker in the governor's office followed, and Ponto got involved in government again when he was elected to the Common Council in 1998. Having served on the state Elections Board from 2001 to 2003, Ponto is now chair of the city's Legislative and Licensing Committee and is a member of the Board of Public Works.
"Ever since I graduated from law school, (politics) has been something I've pursued on the side," he said.
Ponto said the recession has driven politics, and that the decisions made by local, state and national leaders have moved to the forefront of peoples' minds. He said people are becoming "less tolerant of people who aren't really utilizing government in a constructive way to solve our problems.
"Suddenly what government does seems important to people."
A conservative approach
Outside his political interests, Ponto is active in St. John Vianney Parish, including participation in the church's and archdiocese's capital campaign this year.
He also has served on the board of directors for the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts and was chairman of the East Central Branch of the Waukesha Republican Party from 2001 to 2005.
He said he would take a conservative approach to the mayor's office, looking to limit the government's role in residents' lives.
"I've resisted over the years as an alderman just making rules because we could," Ponto said. "I don't think the government should overstep its bounds and get into the nitty-gritty."
He said the mayor has "an obligation to lead on issues, to get involved in policy and let policy-makers know where he's coming from.
"I believe I would be a hands-on, hardworking mayor who would lead on difficult issues," Ponto said.
ADDRESS: 19755 Kilkee Court
EDUCATION: Lawrence University, 1969, bachelor's in economics; Princeton University, 1971, master's in public affairs; University of Wisconsin Law School, 1978, juris doctorate
PHONE: (262) 789-9877
WEB SITE: pontoformayor.com
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