“I’ve learned in life that process is as important as content when building consensus,” says Jan Kailuweit, candidate for the Ward 1 city council position. “Sometimes we lose people when the process is faulty, even when those same people would otherwise agree with the content. That’s the principle I will apply as city councilor, because, in my opinion, it is the most likely way to reach agreement.”

Kailuweit is running against Cara Kaser for the seat in the local election held May 17. Ward 1 includes downtown and the closest neighborhoods in all directions, including West Salem.

Arriving from Germany in 1999, Kailuweit has been active in city government since 2004, when he began volunteer work with the Grant Neighborhood Association, serving on the board and as vice chair for nine years. He’s also served on the Salem Public Library Advisory Board (the library is still, he says, his favorite city institution) and the Mayor’s Sidewalk Repair Taskforce in 2007. For the last five years he has served on the City of Salem Budget Committee, including as vice-chair (2013) and chair (2014).

“I enjoy the fact that Salem is a capital city,” Kailuweit says, “and that the different governments (city, county, state) are accessible. My residence is in walking distance to the state capitol and I have occasionally watched a session from the galleria… I enjoy following the political process in action on all levels of government.”

Kailuweit has attended numerous city council and other meetings over the years, and knows that the time commitment for councilors is substantial. He has spoken to sitting councilors before committing to run for election and says, “I expect my commitment to be around 30+ hours a week, often involving late night meetings.”

He believes in a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city. “I live in Ward 1 so I can walk to work, to downtown shops, to the movies,” Kailuweit says, “That’s how I grew up. My +70 year-old mother still buys her daily groceries by riding her bicycle to the Saturday market and the grocery store… I’m interested in making downtown attractive for small businesses and tackling the related traffic and public safety issues.”

Kailuweit holds a Masters in Management from Southern Oregon University and has worked for the State of Oregon in various positions, mostly as an operations and policy analyst. His wife Kim, who was born in Oregon, is a licensed massage therapist. They have a six-year old son.

Endorsed by the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, Kailuweit says that if elected, “I will stand for collaboration and creative solutions that go beyond progressive and conservative labels.”

May 17 will have Oregonians casting their vote in the presidential Primary while, locally, city positions are perhaps the most contended in years, with four of five open ward council seats disputed and the mayor’s  seat up for grabs.

Candidate Brad Nanke, who has long held the seat for Ward 3, is running unopposed.