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Our View: It's your turn to decide

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This isn’t one of those elections you see coming from a mile away. Citizens haven’t been bombarded for months on end by robocalls, mailers and TV commercials from candidates and special interest groups. Locals probably haven’t been solicited to donate money and time to campaigns, or reminded by a friendly activist to “get out the vote.”


But that doesn’t mean Tuesday’s elections aren’t important. In fact, a case could be made that local elections – the ones held every spring in Wisconsin – have the potential to affect a person’s life even more than national elections. While presidents, senators and congressmen have the power to affect many with grand, sweeping legislation, board members, alderpersons and mayors have the power to affect your schools, neighborhoods and property.

They are your neighbors, and they will be tasked with determining issues that may be vital in one community, but meaningless to the next one over.

City councils and village and town boards make decisions that matter to just about everyone.

School board members make big decisions about when additional school space is needed, where to put new facilities and what such facilities will cost the community in taxes. They also have a hand in shaping the administrators and teachers who shape the minds of children in the community.

Municipal board members have input on regional transportation projects, such as the St. Croix Crossing and I-94 interchange projects and regional stormwater/wastewater issues.

Those elected get to decide where libraries will be built, and how much they’ll cost, how well-funded police and emergency services will be, and whether the roads have potholes. They decide whether new businesses come into town by imposing restrictions or offering incentives.

By shaping the zoning code, they even have a say in what sort of fence residents can build.

Tuesday is the only chance citizens have this year to decide which decision-makers get a seat at the various boardroom tables.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley joined RiverTown Multimedia in July 2013 and serves as editor at the New Richmond News. In the past he has worked at several news outlets including in Hudson, Wis., the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif., the Leader-Telegram in Eau Claire, Wis., and the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn. He began his career as a Marine Corps journalist. He served as a reporter and photographer in Okinawa, Japan, and editor of the base newspaper at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls.
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