For further reading – my speech manuscript:
Dear fellow citizens of the city of Albstadt,
my name is Roland Tralmer, I am 55 years old, married, professionally active in our hometown as a lawyer. I grew up in Ebingen and have been rooted in our town privately, voluntarily and professionally for many years. And when I say “our town”, I don’t mean Ebingen, but I am an “Albstädter by conviction” with a lot of heart and soul.”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
why am I standing here today running for mayor? In recent months, many fellow citizens, also from other parties, associations, approached me with the request that I make myself available. First, I discussed what I understand to be a “round-the-clock job” with my family, and I’m glad that my family and my wife gave me the “green light,” as did my political home, the CDU. However, I do not understand my candidacy in any way in terms of party politics. At the level of local politics, it is not about the quarrel between the parties, no, it is about discussing together the best way into the future for our livable and lovable city.
Times are not easy, neither in the world, nor in Albstadt. The turn of the times has reached us, the economic development is uncertain, as well as that of the municipal finances. What is important because of this?
The keywords “trust”, “communication” and “implementation” are especially important for the city of Albstadt today. We will only move forward if our fellow citizens – all of you – have the necessary confidence in the city administration to master the future. This means that the administration, local council and politicians communicate openly, provide you with full information and make transparent, comprehensible decisions. Above all, however, it is important to then implement them!
And that’s where it applies. We have 9 independent districts, each unique and with special strengths. Districts with strong local councils that need to be further strengthened and listened to. I expressly do not want centralism in this city, no, knowledge and solution competence on site in the districts must be used. This is precisely what will lead to us expanding, which is urgently needed: I would like to work with you on a new and better Albstadt self-confidence. As the largest city in the Zollernalbkreis district, we truly do not need to hide with our unique landscape, our great economic strength and, above all, with our committed population.
And that is why, ladies and gentlemen, for me it is not an election slogan, but simply a matter of course to further strengthen what is good in our home city. That goes without saying!
We now need to address what is difficult and what needs improvement. Nothing is gained with fine-talking and concepts alone. This city has plans, expert opinions and papers for every area of life: Albstadtkonzeption 2030, cycle path concept, noise protection concept, tourism concept – to name just a few examples. What is lacking, however, are the topics of “implementation” and the“red thread in local politics“, with an answer to the question:
Where do we want to go? Where will Albstadt be in 10 years?
You can already read my program on the Internet since December, which has obviously been done. You will therefore hear much of the same content in today’s speeches. At least I’m very pleased that there suddenly seems to be so much agreement on issues such as the economy, skilled workers, housing, energy, and so on.
I however, have not been in charge as mayor so far and could have implemented this long ago, nor have my previous political convictions suddenly changed fundamentally because of the OB election campaign – they remain.
Not everything from our conceptions will be immediately and promptly realizable. All the more so when municipal finances are increasingly constrained due to substantial and so unacceptable cost increases in the construction sector. We must therefore set priorities for our livable and lovable city.
In order to move forward, we must first and foremost know our roots: Albstadt is a mature industrial town, the economic metropolis in the Zollernalbkreis district, which plays a major role in financing it. That is why a good future is only possible if we continue to strengthen Albstadt as a business location. It is not the annual discussion about increasing the business tax that gets us ahead, but the strengthening of the location and its jobs. This means nurturing existing industry, commerce, crafts and services and supporting the emergence of new ones. That is why the topic of the economy must once again become a “matter for the boss”. We need to expand economic development and place it directly with the mayor. The mayor must regularly seek dialog with local businesses on his own initiative. It must clarify what framework conditions the Albstadt business location needs in order to continue to grow and flourish in the future – sustainably, mind you. It must not remain that once a year the IHK invites to a discussion round.
In this way, we also need fewer expensive expert opinions – for example, on the question of the need for new industrial estates. Because we should not shy away from new commercial areas. But they must be ecological and sustainable. Tourism should also be developed further in this way – not as mass tourism, but as a high-quality and environmentally compatible project, from which our entire city and its inhabitants will then benefit. If we can do this, it will help our beleaguered trade flourish again.
But there is much, much more to a livable and lovable city: Albstadt has a shortage of skilled workers. It must be possible to offer affordable housing. And not just quick, cheap refurbished housing, but quality housing. Things are going too ponderously here for me. If I am elected, I will therefore immediately launch a “housing offensive” with an active land policy in order to be able to purchase existing inner-city building land from the city. This cannot be done by the “urban caretaker” alone. Here, the mayor must not be too shy to act himself when it comes to important properties.
We will also have to push ahead with new construction areas in all districts. Not to further urban sprawl, but to provide for the future in a growing city that needs to become more attractive again, especially for young families. This includes different types of construction, cooperation with investors, who can no longer complain about the fact that there is not even a callback from the city administration when they make such requests. Here, our municipal construction company AS-Wohnbau must once again play a much more active role than before.
Our livable city also includes a safe and clean environment. Anyone who denies that the city of Albstadt – especially Ebingen – has a problem here is mistaken. At my insistence, we have managed to make a step forward: In the course of this year, there will be both new jobs and machines at the operations office for city cleaning, and – even more important – a newly introduced municipal public order service with police powers to strengthen our population’s sense of security, especially in problem areas and at night. This has been decided, and here again the keyword “implement now” applies.
The quality of life also includes the upgrading of our suburbs, currently that of downtown Ebingen with more greenery, more quality of stay, with more areas that invite residents to linger. We need more offers for all generations, for families, young people and seniors. Incidentally, this also includes accessibility wherever possible and functioning traffic, with a well-timed public transport system – where there is a massive need for improvement – and all transport systems working together on an equal footing: from cars and public transport to cyclists and pedestrians.
Quality of life also means art and culture, associations and volunteerism: Another priority on my list: To further promote our rich cultural landscape with museums but also a colorful private art and culture scene. For years, I have been urging improvement in our association funding guidelines. Here, too, I would like to “not talk, but implement”!
Therefore, it is also important to quickly get a grip on our hall problem. This is where local politics is lurching at the moment. What is lacking is trust and transparency. It is therefore important not to implement the current decision of the municipal council in this way, but to discuss it again with all of you, with regard to Thalia, the Ebingen festival hall, the sports halls, but also with regard to the question of when, where and how a new culture and event hall can be built. For me, this is part of the promotion of voluntary work and associations: without volunteers, without the fire department, the German Red Cross and associations, nothing would work in our city. Here, too, there is a lack of “communication”. We need to network more between our volunteers, as well as between the clubs and the administration. In addition, it is important to value volunteerism. For me personally, it is therefore much more important to celebrate an honorary office day in our city in the future instead of the previous citizens’ festival, which serves exactly this purpose: networking, information exchange and appreciation of honorary office! In the future, the administration should react flexibly to the wishes and concerns of associations. So far, it highlights all the things that can’t be done. I want to work together with you to put voluntary work into practice in an appreciative way.
Furthermore, a high quality of life includes daycare centers and educational institutions: We have made good progress here in recent years. However, this must be continued swiftly. Not just for structural measures. No: We need more daycare places for children as well as a comprehensive school supply under the aspect of “short legs, short ways” with flexible care offers. And we need sufficient specialists and teachers, as well as up-to-date technical equipment in the schools.
It is long overdue, just like the determined drive for the energy turnaround in Albstadt. I would like to tackle the expansion of solar energy in our city – privately and publicly – just as we must push ahead with the introduction of decentralized energy supplies using indigenous energy sources from biomass and other sources. This must succeed, not overnight, but if we start now with a clear future perspective for the good of our city!
All of this, ladies and gentlemen, will only succeed with a citizen-friendly and digitized administration. We need to re-root the idea of service in the administration of this city. This, too, is a sign of digitization: In the future, only those who have to appear in person for compelling reasons will have to go to the town hall. Everything else has to be possible digitally in this day and age. The idea that administration is “authority” must disappear. The head of the administration and the administration itself are service providers for the residents of this city. It is therefore a matter of course for me that the Lord Mayor will not only hold office hours in Ebling’s town hall in the future, but will come to the citizens in the local districts for office hours on site, at times that can be easily perceived.
There are thick boards to be drilled for the future of Albstadt. No one can do it alone. On the family side, I would therefore like to thank my wife Kristina, who has had my back for the last few weeks and is willing to continue doing so in the future.
But we together, administration, municipal council and all of you can master these challenges. In trusting cooperation and at eye level. Let us therefore tackle it together, with confidence, trust, creative power and willpower, but always also with mutual respect and humor. Our homeland has all this and I will gladly devote all my energy to it in the next 8 years. For this, I sincerely ask for your trust on March 5, 2023!