“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
Tuesday’s result was a dramatic victory for citizen-driven local government. The media, our opponents, and even some of our supporters, were surprised we made it through. I wasn’t. Even though we were the last campaign to enter this race, I knew my neighbors were ready for reform in city hall and only needed the option on the ballot. Now Wausau stands ready to replace the existing dysfunctional leadership with a new mayor committed to inclusive democratic government.
In this race, there have been far too many distractions from the issues that matter most to city residents. Concerns over personalities, temperaments and whisper campaigns of personal attacks have crowded out discussion of critical issues. Our opponent has yet to take seriously the issues of unacceptable childhood poverty rates, mental health service shortages, stagnant incomes, a stagnant tax base and years of tax rate increases, conflicts of interest in city hall and in dealings with public-private and private ventures, and a host of other important concerns.
From the beginning, I have made clear that this campaign is not about electing an individual. A political campaign is a collection of values and intentions. This campaign has always been about returning the decision-making authority back to the people of Wausau by breaking private interests’ stranglehold on our public institutions and opening up the processes of governance so that the public eye can prevent conflict of interest and self-dealing in city hall.
As a campaign, our values demand that city hall represents the interests of the whole community, and not a select group of individuals. Our values respect the dignity of every human being and their right to participate in their own governance without regard of their gender, wealth, race, religion or politics. Our values demand safe streets, quality services and fairness for the taxpayer of Wausau. Our values demand a culture of inclusiveness in city hall. More than anything, this campaign’s values demand honesty in policy from our city government, even when the truth is unpleasant.
As a campaign, we intend on restoring robust democratic institutions to our city government. We intend on making public records truly public. We intend on delivering accurate information to the citizens of Wausau so they can make informed decisions. We intend on demanding RFPs and competitive bidding processes when spending tax dollars. We intend on implementing sound accounting and auditing to ensure accurate economic forecasts and sustainable development. We intend on reforming the committee structure and chain of command in city hall to make the process more transparent and responsive to the needs of the people.
I will continue to work hard with you to ensure victory so that our goals of reform can be achieved. I ask that the “ultimate rulers of our democracy” enjoy this first step to victory, but keep working hard to finish the job April 5.
Pledging to make the priorities of residents the priorities of local government,