PLYMOUTH – The Pilot News sent a questionnaire to all candidates facing a contested race in the November 2019 Plymouth municipal election. The newspaper will run the candidates’ answers in print and online as the candidates submit them and as space allows.
Here are the answers submitted by Rob Listenberger, a Democrat seeking election to an at-large seat on the Plymouth Common Council. His responses have been edited.
Tuesday, Nov. 5, is Election Day.
Family (Spouse, names and ages of children): I have three daughters: Sidney Hartung, 23, who is married to Joel; Emily, 21, a junior at Purdue University; and Celia, 18, a senior at Culver Girls Academy.
How long have you been a Plymouth resident: 54 years.
Current occupation: I am currently self-employed. I have been a small business owner for over 35 years. Most of those years have been spent working in the food service industry. I have been a franchise owner for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Long John Silvers, and I have also owned and operated several independent restaurants. I am especially proud of our Military Food Service Operations. For the past 12 years, we have fed over a million meals to our military men and women who serve our nation.
How long: 35 years
Previous work experience you believe is relevant to the office you seek: As a small business owner, you have to wear many hats. Some of those hats include: human resources, marketing, construction management, operations management and financial budgeting, to name a few. Throughout my business career, I have served on numerous boards, committees, and associations.
High school you attended and graduation date: Plymouth High School, 1983.
College you attended and graduation date (if applicable): I attended Ball State University. I completed one year, after which my father passed away, unexpectedly, at an early age. I returned home to join our family business.
Why are you seeking this political office/what makes you the preferred candidate? First of all, Plymouth is home to me and I love this community. Over the past several years, I have tried to volunteer and I have become more involved in numerous events, committees, and boards. I simply feel it is important for me to do more for the community that has done so much for me my entire life.
What are the biggest issues facing the city? I don’t feel that we are in crisis mode in any one area. However, I feel that the two areas I would place on my top list would be: Small business growth and our Complete Street Program.
What are your proposals for solving those issues? I am a member of the small business class, I know firsthand of the struggles: Plymouth needs a strategic policy that targets growth for our existing small businesses, while also attracting new small business. These programs need to have goals and we have to be able to measure the progress of such programs. I will continue my work on the Plymouth Economic Commission. I will also look into other programs that can help in this endeavor.
I am a member and am dedicated to our Complete Streets Program: In a way, Plymouth is 20 years behind in its development of a complete street concept. There is a lot of talk about improving roads and sidewalks. That is fine, but what we need is an overall comprehensive plan outlining and prioritizing our street needs. Our citizens, no matter what age, ability or income, deserve safe and accessible routes to work places, shopping, schools, and other community destinations. These modes of transportation should include walking, driving, bicycling or any type of public transportation. As we build new roads, re-surface or plan our trail systems, our overall plan should always be referred to before we start a new project. This is what the recently formed Plymouth Complete Streets Committee has been asked to provide. I will continue on this committee and help in this overall plan.
Final pitch to the voters: In summary, I will promote small businesses and I will work towards a Complete Streets Community. Currently, I am a member of the Plymouth Parks and Recreation Department Board and I will continue to be an advocate of our great parks system. I will also support our first responders and I will truly listen and support our city employees and its citizens.
It will be my pleasure and honor to serve on the Plymouth Common Council and I kindly ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 5th.