Tag Archives: Mary Weigand

Go Vote!

It’s election day in Wisconsin. Most importantly, get out and vote for Judge Michael Screnock. Also, vote YES to get rid of the State Treasurer. Then look down the ballot and make choices in your local races.

In my neck of the woods, I encourage you to vote for Monte Schmiegie and Mary Weigand for the West Bend School Board, and vote NO on all four of the referenda for roads in the City of West Bend.

Like many folks, I took advantage of in-person early voting and exercised my franchise last week. If you didn’t, there’s a snow storm schmucking Wisconsin today. It looks like it’s going to roll into the southern third of Wisconsin this afternoon, so get out there and vote this morning. We’re Wisconsinites… we don’t let a little snow keep us away from choosing our government.

 

Proven conservatism for West Bend School Board

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

There is an election April 3, but in-person absentee voting is open at your local City Hall until the end of the day Friday. Most importantly, get out and vote for Michael Screnock for the Wisconsin Supreme Court. After that, look further down the ballot and you will find many other important races. In the West Bend School District, four candidates are contending for two seats.

The West Bend School District is in the midst of some serious challenges. The biggest challenge is that the district has been without a superintendent for the better part of a year and is just beginning the search process for a new one. Many of the other administrators have also left the district leaving a severe vacuum of leadership. Meanwhile, the School Board is charging headlong toward an unwise referendum to replace Jackson Elementary.

West Bend voters are privileged in the fact that all four candidates running have a lot in common. Monte Schmiege, Mary Weigand, Chris Zwygart and Kurt Rebholz are all devoted local citizens with deep roots in the community. All four candidates have solid, if different, backgrounds that would bring a lot to the school board. They all tout the virtues of fiscal responsibility, safe schools, transparency and all of the other things important to West Bend’s voters. They are all intent of finding a superintendent who will fill the leadership void with a clear vision, strong administrative skills and an ability to connect and communicate with the entire community.

For all practical purposes, all four candidates appear to agree on 90 percent, if not more, of the issues that will come before the board. The differences between the candidates are small, but they are real. Those differences lead me to cast my votes for Monte Schmiege and Mary Weigand.

One of the biggest differences that has emerged between the candidates revolves around the School Board’s role and responsibility when it comes to determining curriculum. Rebholz and Zwygart have made strong statements to the effect that the School Board should provide some oversight, but that the determination of curriculum should be left to the so-called experts. They eschew the responsibility for curriculum saying that part-time non-educators should not have a say in determining what is taught to our kids. I reject that notion.

The whole purpose of having an elected School Board is so that the government school district is overseen by representatives of the community. They are there to inject the community’s values into everything from budgeting to safety protocols to extracurriculars and to, yes, curriculum. And if the School Board thinks that there is better use of time in an eighth grade language arts class than spending 40 days reading about the “Sustainability of the US Food Supply Chain,” then the School Board should change the curriculum — experts or not. The School Board should not micromanage curriculum, but neither should they abandon their responsibility for it.

The other primary difference between the candidates just comes down to track record. As we learned in the School Board election last year, it is easy for candidates to bamboozle voters by touting fiscal responsibility and transparency and then abandon those values when elected. Both Rebholz and Zwygart are relative newcomers to engaging in the issues of the school district.

Meanwhile, Schmiege is the only incumbent in the race. Running for his second term, he would be the most senior member of the School Board and the only member who has been part of a search for a superintendent. He has a rock solid track record of fiscal responsibility and thoughtful leadership on the school board. He is one of the only members of the School Board willing to continually work on the boring things like revamping old policies and strictly adhering to rules governing a public board. He has also remained transparent and open to the community throughout his term. There is never any doubt about where Schmiege stands on an issue or whether or not he will stick to his convictions. He is a rock.

Weigand has been actively involved in district issues as a parent and citizen for years. She has served on the district’s Human Growth and Development Committee and is serving on the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee. Weigand is a regular feature at School Board meetings and frequently offers insightful input. Like Schmiege, there is never any doubt as to Weigand’s convictions or whether or not she will waver from them under pressure.

All four candidates say many of the same things, but only Schmiege and Weigand have the years of public history backing up those statements. They have both earned a seat on the board.

Win or lose, I truly hope that all four candidates remained involved in shaping the district’s future.

West Bend School Board Primary Results

These are interesting results:

sbresults

First, who are the 505 idiots who voted for Carl Lundin? He’s the guy who dropped out. We’ll call that the “ignorant voter” quotient.

Second, the two candidates who identify themselves as Conservatives, Mary Weigand and Monte Schmiege, won convincing pluralities. Schmiege is an incumbent and one of two conservatives on the current board. Weigand is a well-known local conservative. This is, perhaps, not surprising in a conservative community like West Bend, but the results of the past few local elections seemed to indicate a softening of that demographic feature. This election seems to indicate that perhaps the previous elections were anomalies.

Third, turnout for this primary election was 35% higher than the general election last year for school board (22.53% vs. 16.68%). This is a pattern that we have seen in West Bend for a while. There is a vocal, committed, organized liberal minority. They vote more reliably than the conservative majority. This means that turnout is everything. When turnout is below 20%, liberals can win victories in local elections like they did last April. When turnout is higher, there just aren’t enough liberals to overcome the conservative vote. The liberals can turn out every single liberal in the county and they can’t win if there is even a moderate conservative turnout. It’s just math.

Let’s hope that turnout is decent for the April election. Given that the Supreme Court race is likely to be very heated, I think Schmiege and Weigand have the inside track to the school board. That bodes well for the district.