Treasurer candidate says office holder should be steward

Ann Knef Apr. 12, 2006, 7:39am

The ink on his resume suggests vision.

Kurt Prenzler, Republican candidate for Madison County Treasurer, owns a St. Louis daycare center, finances historic building renovation projects, is a CPA and holds a law degree.

He's originally from Bloomington where his family built successful real estate development and homebuilding businesses. After having lived in Edwardsville for more than five years, he sees untapped potential in resource-rich Madison County.

Prenzler's desire to become a public servant was in part shaped by a four-year mission to the Soviet Union. He traveled to Latvia in 1992 after the fall of the Berlin Wall and taught business and formed a sales and management training company to help workers in the emerging economy. It was also there where he met his wife, Rita. They have three young children.

"I was totally amazed," he said. "The Soviet Union was falling apart. It was incredible how very quickly it happened."

"We in this country have a tremendous heritage: a spirtual, cultural, legal, historical heritage which I value very, very deeply. It should not be squandered. It should be revered."

Prenzler, who got more than enough write-in votes in the March 21 primary to earn a spot on the November general election ballot, in some respects wants to rebuild government in his adopted hometown with principles of the nation's founding fathers.

"I am not a professional politician," he said. "I have never held a political office. My real goal is not to be in government. My goal is to bring some level of accountability and responsibility to taxpayers."

Prenzler believes citizens should have a say in how they are taxed, in the same way the nation's forefathers did.

"Government officials I view as stewards," said Prenzler. "They should not be in it for personal gain. They have a fiduciary responsibility.

"I am not seeking a lifelong job. I am not seeking a job as treasurer. I have my own business. I am seeking this because Madison County can benefit from open, transparent government."

Prenzler said he grew up in a county that businesses "like" --McLean County-- because of its well-run government.

"Businesses like to be located in Champaign-Urbana or Bloomington-Normal because of the climate," he said. "It's not perfect but it has good government and businesses like that."

Prenzler said he looks at the qualities of Southern Illinios University-Edwardsville and Madison County's proximity to the airport and wonders why the area has not seen more profound growth.

"Why has it not vibrantly attracted more business and jobs?" he asked.

"It's because of the legal and political climate. It needs a change."

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