Tom Eichinger, 74, is running for Hillsboro City Council president as a Republican. He has been a resident of Hillsboro since 2008.
Following are his answers to questions posed by The Times-Gazette:
Why do you want to be president of council?
Eichinger — “I’ve been attending most city council meetings ever since I got involved with the planning commission in 2014. Over the last several years it seemed that there was a lack of dialog between council and administration and, as a result, not a lot of common ground was found. When Mr. Koogler resigned, I thought maybe I could affect that in a positive way and threw my hat in the ring. Some progress has been made in that regard: I have been having regular meetings with the mayor and the safety/service director a week or two prior to council meetings. These are beginning to help and I’d like to continue the effort as we move to a new administration. Good regular communication leads to good compromises and better decisions for Hillsboro.”
2. What you do think makes you qualified for the position?
Eichinger — “Throughout my career with Dow Chemical Company or its subsidiaries, it was necessary that I bring diverse groups of people together to find solutions to difficult problems. This has included people of different technical and non-technical backgrounds and people whose native languages were different. As a result, I believe I have some skill at getting people to work together to find common ground.”
3. Do you have any past political experience?
Eichinger — “I have no prior political experience in the sense that I have never run for any public office before this. However, I have been exposed to and active in the general political environment here in Hillsboro as a member of and past chairman of the Hillsboro Planning Commission.”
4. What do you see as the major issues facing Hillsboro and city council?
Eichinger “1.) Infrastructure upgrades, repair and expansion including roads, sidewalks, sanitary and storm sewer and traffic management. 2.) Neighborhood revitalization. 3.) Historic uptown revitalization. 4.) Attracting new businesses.”
5. How will you work to correct those issues?
Eichinger — “Over time, these issues can be corrected or improved by working together to find solutions, attracting new capital where necessary, and having a broader plan for the future. To those ends, I would continue to encourage and participate in open dialog with all interested parties, help to engage the right people to attract business growth and new revenue, and help to actualize the Imagine Hillsboro Comprehensive Plan being worked on right now.”
Eichinger said he was a 34-year employee of the Dow Chemical Company or its subsidiaries where he held numerous technical and leadership positions in the information technology area in the U.S., Canada and Europe. He said he has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a strong minor in mathematics concentrating on computer science. After retiring from Dow he worked for a management consulting firm where he helped train managers and leaders in ways to accomplish “impossible” results in “impossible” time frames.“