New London school board, city council elections
By Scott Bellile
The New London School Board will see two fresh candidates vie for seats in the April 4 local elections.
Five incumbents on the New London City Council will go unchallenged.
There are three spots on the school board up for re-election. All incumbents will be on the ballot and two more citizens will take them on.
Running for a three-year term are:
• John Michels (incumbent)
• Kim Schroeder (incumbent)
• Mary Swifka (incumbent)
• Terry Wegner
• John Heideman
There will not be a primary held before April. For that to happen, the number of candidates would have to surpass double the number of open seats. In this case, at least seven candidates would have to run to hold a primary.
There are seven seats on the school board. The members who are not up for re-election this year are Virginia Schlais, Connie Neely, Bill Schmidt and Chris Martinson.
There are five aldermen up for re-election on city council this year. Running uncontested for another two-year term are:
• First District: Robert Besaw
• Second District: Tom O’Connell
• Third District: Lori Dean
• Fourth District: Robert Way
• Fifth District: David Morack
New London’s city council has 10 spots. Those who are not up for re-election this year are John Faucher (First District), Mary Tate (Second District), Mike Barrington (Third District), Ron Steinhorst (Fourth District) and Dennis Herter (Fifth District).
No other citizens registered for the race, New London City Clerk Sue Tennie said. Prospective candidates had from Dec. 1 to Jan. 3 to return paperwork.
New London Mayor Gary Henke said the lack of competition has been a trend unlike when he became involved in city government in 1984. Today, contests tend to emerge only when an alderman quits.
“It’s kind of disappointing that there aren’t more people interested,” Henke said. “You would think in a city this size that there would be more people interested in becoming involved in city government one way or another. I guess one way to think of it is everything’s going wonderfully.”
Henke acknowledged people would disagree with that – one only needs to check Facebook to see otherwise. The nice thing about contested races is they spark deeper debate on how the city is doing, he said.
Citizens may not toss their hats into the ring because they either think it’s expensive or a large time commitment, Henke speculated. He doesn’t believe either is the case. Cost-wise, he estimated spending $150 on his contested run for mayor. Time-wise, he said the three required meetings per month for aldermen rarely total four hours.