Ask Mayor Jeff Speaker, and he'll tell you that he hasn't changed much after eight years in City Hall.
And, the mayor says, that's something his constituents have observed as well.
When Speaker, 53, was going around the city collecting signatures as part of his bid for a third mayoral term, he had an opportunity to talk with residents about his service and the things he has accomplished.
"What they like about me is that I'm still Jeff," he said. "I'm not a political monster. I'm someone who is consistent, who is a hard worker and who does what's in the best interests of the city."
And Speaker said he isn't done leading yet; he is seeking another term.
"We have some unfinished business," he said.
Former officer elected in '02
A former police officer, Speaker was first elected in 2002, defeating Alderman Michael Jakus to replace Kathryn Bloomberg, who served six terms as mayor.
Speaker defeated then-alderwoman Cindy Kilkenny in 2006.
One of the things he promotes as an accomplishment during his time as mayor is the improvement of communication between City Hall and residents. People told him City Hall "wasn't that friendly" before his arrival, but now residents are comfortable coming in and talking to him and other department heads, he said.
City has to look at long term
Speaker also said the city has to look to its long-term goals across a variety of areas, from redevelopment to Brookfield's use of technology.
For instance, the city recently completed an update to its outdated computer software at City Hall. That has proved extremely beneficial for departments across the building, Speaker said, including cutting down the time employees need to process property tax payments.
Experience proves beneficial
Speaker cited his accomplishments as mayor - including keeping a "reasonable tax rate" and helping promote development in the Brookfield Square area - as reasons voters should bring him back for a third term.
Plus, Speaker said he has a leg up on the other candidates because of his experience in office.
"The learning curve is quite large on this job," he said. "You have to know when somebody's pulling your leg or something's not right."
Speaker said he will continue to tackle the controversial issues, such as road widenings, and take responsibility for the decisions he makes.
"I think that in these economic times, this is not the time to change leadership but to stay with proven leadership that we have," he said.
ADDRESS: 18520 Milwaukee Ave.
EDUCATION: Police Recruit School, Fox Valley Technical College, 1982-83; Port Washington High School, 1976
PHONE: (262) 894-2500
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