Allan Kauffman, a graduate of Goshen College and longtime mayor of the city of Goshen, is being drawn out of retirement to seek another elected position in Goshen.
If Kauffman is successful in winning a seat on the school board, he would extend an elective office timeline that began in 1969, when he served as treasurer of the junior class at Goshen College. The following year, in 1970, he won his second election, becoming the senior class president.
All told, he has served more than 36 years in office: two at Goshen College; 16 on the City Council; and 18 and two thirds as mayor.
Kauffman said he hopes more Goshen College graduates follow his lead.
“I think we have to be involved in local government,” he said. “They say all politics is local, and local politics affects daily life more than anything. You can’t change the world if you’re not in the world. There are no classes at Goshen College that teach you how to be mayor, but a bachelor of arts degree lets you do a lot of things.”
In seeking the District 4 seat on the school board, Kauffman is running against Keith Goodman, the incumbent, who serves as vice president of the school board. Goodman, who also graduated from Goshen College, in 1986, with a major in business, is a commercial banker at Lake City Bank.
Though Kauffman served on the council and as mayor as a Democrat, neither candidate this time is representing a political party. School board elections are nonpartisan.
“He’s a good guy,” Kauffman said of Goodman. “We’re in Kiwanis together. I’m not saying I’d do a better job. It’s just that I’ve always wanted to be on the school board, and I’m running out of time.”
Kauffman, who is 71, said that his father, Paul, who worked at Western Rubber, was a school board member for nine years in the 1960s.
“A piece of me always wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Kauffman said.
Kauffman won a seat on the Goshen City Council in 1975 and served 16 years on the governing. He was mayor from 1997 to 2015.
Born and raised in Goshen, Kauffman graduated from Goshen High School; he chose to stay close to home for his college career. While at Goshen College, he majored in science and contemplated medical school before he decided on dental school.
While a student at Goshen, Kauffman worked a part-time job at NBS Office Supply in downtown Goshen. He decided to not pursue dental school and took a full-time position at NBS following his college graduation.
He was in upper management positions at NBS for seven years before he made the decision to go into municipal politics. Kauffman ran for and won a seat on the Goshen City Council in 1975.
He would go on to lose in the 1979 City Council election and take a four-year hiatus from politics. He returned to the at-large race and won back his seat in 1983.
In March 1997, Mayor Mike Puro resigned and a caucus determined that his replacement would be Kauffman. That was the beginning of a nearly two-decade run as the mayor of Goshen.
In finishing his fourth term as mayor, Kauffman announced that he would not be seek another term. With Kauffman’s support, another Democrat, Jeremy Stutsman, took his seat.
On March 10, 2016, there was a special ceremony held in honor of Kauffman. He was given the newly created “Allan J. Kauffman Good of Goshen Award,” which celebrates residents who better the community.
That same night he received another tribute: Rock Run Park, located in the north side of Goshen, became the Allan J. Kauffman Park.