Weißenkirchen im Attergau has 968 residents but no mayor. At least not one who was elected. After 15 years, Josef Meinhart (VP) retired at the end of August this year. He said he wanted to spend more time with his family and work more intensively on the farm. Because Meinhart’s resignation took place before two-thirds of the current electoral term had expired, there will be a new election. Date: January 14, 2024.
On this day, Josef Rauchzauner Jr. wants to be recognized as the youngest mayor in the country.
The job would not be new for the 25-year-old: Since September 1st, he has been running the business as deputy mayor in the small community in the Hausruckviertel, five kilometers by car from Frankenmarkt. And he has known politics since he was a child: “My father is our longest-serving local councilor, politics was always a topic of conversation, I grew up with it. It’s good for me,” he says. Rauchzauner, who was initially only considered “the boy” in Weißenkirchen, was unanimously nominated as the top candidate by the ÖVP community party leadership. And the 25-year-old already has concrete plans: “I’ll put it this way: We have to catch up on certain things that we have to get to in the 21st century.” There is not yet a photovoltaic system on any house in Weißenkirchen, and he also wants to start with childcare. “And, this is a sideshow, but: There isn’t even a projector in our meeting room. We won’t be able to work with boards forever,” says Rauchzauner.
Rauchzauner, HTL graduate, is a go-getter. “I used to spend more time in the workshop than at school,” he says. In 2019 he founded RKL Maschinenbau GmbH with two colleagues, he is the managing director there and was chairman of the rural youth for three years. He has also been involved in the volunteer fire department since 2006.
In his private life, he takes things more calmly: “There wasn’t enough time for a girlfriend,” he says. But for football, at least passively: “I’ve been a Salzburg fan since I was seven years old. People in Linz may not understand that now, but I was taken to the stadium back then and that has stayed with me,” he says .
Who is the challenger?
Officially there is no one yet who will challenge Rauchzauner on January 14th. However, there is already talk behind closed doors about Weissenkirchen’s FPÖ chairman Johann Kalleitner running again. Kalleitner got 32.66 percent in the election two years ago, but lost to long-time mayor Josef Meinhart (67.34 percent).
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