Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear editor,

This (Wausau) City Council race between challenger Jo Ann Egelkrout and incumbent Tom Kilian is providing Wausau voters in District 3 with its clearest and starkest choices on how the city should move forward. It is time for change. It is time for Jo Ann Egelkrout.

In a recent campaign plug here in the pages of the Wausau Pilot, Mr. Kilian lists all his accomplishments in office: He stopped “that” redevelopment; he opposed “this” TIF; he prevented a walkway from being built with COVID funds; and he opposed 3M’s job creating plan for 1300 Cleveland St. But rest assured, Mr. Kilian does fight “for” some things. He promoted divisive resolutions (Community for All), he supported give-away programs (Universal Basic Income), and now his latest crusade against the taxpayer – free water and free filters to be distributed through, you guessed it, “environmental justice.” One can only imagine what philosophical principle lurks behind “environmental justice,” but that is an argument best left for another day. In short, Mr. Kilian’s policies evidence that he has never seen a development that he couldn’t oppose, a large employer he could not threaten, and a tax dollar he could not spend, all in the name of (insert a trendy adjective) justice!

Jo Ann Egelkrout, on the other hand, would concentrate her efforts to strengthen the city’s “traditional” services and functions like police, fire and public works. Our poor roads need attention! She will ensure that the terrific people that currently run these departments will get the resources and support they need, not malign them in the media!  Egelkrout correctly sees the 3rd District’s problems as crime, drugs, prostitution and urban blight, not racism, genderism and environmental scares. She would make the city welcome to business by promoting pro-employer policies of less taxation and less regulation and pro-employee policies of health care privacy and medical choice. Jo Ann sees a city government that currently seems more concerned about “tax consumers” rather than “the tax contributors.” On pollution issues, Egelkrout values our current corporate industrial citizens and their contributions to Wausau. Attributing culpability to them for pollution that occurred in the 1800s is unfair. Instead, she points out that these current corporate citizens, like 3M and Kolbe, are uniquely knowledgeable about pollution amelioration and can best provide the solutions to past pollution problems.

Both candidates also disagree on who in the city is to blame for our current state of affairs and who in the city lacks representation. Mr. Kilian likes to point out that “City Hall” (of which curiously, he is a current member) runs the city in secret and that what he calls the “regular folks” have no voice in city government. Jo Ann Egelkrout might tend to agree with Mr. Kilian on this point, but her view of who constitutes “City Hall” and who makes up “regular folks” might differ. In her recent campaign interview for the City Pages, she correctly explained that for too long the city has been run not by its alderpersons and its standing committees (the proper way), but increasingly by numerous and very recently created committees and “commissions,” populated by unelected, anti-business activists and grievance specialists appointed by Mr. Kilian and others. Can we possibly forget how much time and “voice” was given to the divisive Liberation and Freedom Committee last year, a committee on which Mr. Kilian is the only elected official? The professional activists have had plenty of power and voice in city business especially in District 3, but the real “regular folks,” the working poor and the taxpayers, Jo Ann’s “regular folks” need a voice as well. It is time for change. It is time for Jo Ann Egelkrout.

Orlando Alfonso of Wausau