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 [email protected] or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear Editor,

Election Day is nearly upon us.  I would like to thank this publication
for the great work it has done allowing a platform for so many of my
neighbors to comment on the election.  It is rare for a community this
size to have an outlet that gives voice to such a wide variety of
political perspectives.  This type of exchange of ideas is crucial if
city hall is to prioritize the concerns of the residents over those of
special interests and city insiders.

Thank you as well to my neighbors for participation in this election. I
have learned a lot and hope to keep this dialogue going as your alder
after Tuesday’s vote.

I would also like to say “no, thank you” to the increasing partisan tone
and tactics in our mayoral election. Both the Democratic and Republican
parties have always had an interest in Wausau city politics and
participate in our election campaigns. This election marked something
different, however. From the multiple (young) non-residents working to
elect their preferred mayoral candidate (for both sides), to fliers and
postcards and internet advertisements funded by third party
“independent” expenditure, this has been the most partisan mayoral
election that Wausau has ever witnessed.

The tone of the campaign in District 1 has been positive and was not
caught up in the partisan hissing of the mayoral race.  I applaud Alder
Lukens for keeping a positive tone and never expected anything less from
the southeast side.  From the outset, I promised my neighbors I would
remain independent from partisan influence. I reaffirm that pledge to
your readers today.  If elected, I will work with whoever the city
chooses as the next mayor and whoever sits on city council.

It was not long ago that Wausau’s mayoral elections were far less
partisan.  In 2016, Mayor Mielke defeated my little brother after nearly
12,000 of our neighbors cast their votes, a large turnout for Wausau. 
Still, less than 140 votes separated the candidates. Yet Jay and Bob
remained respectful throughout.  They were not shy about disagreeing or
criticizing each other, but it was a campaign based on policy, not
partisan politics or personal attacks.  At the end of election night,
the two were shaking hands and congratulating each other on the
campaign.  I sure hope we can return to that kind of Wausau politics
very soon.  Let’s make this election an anomaly.

As I sat at the computer this morning starting this letter, I was
saddened, but not surprised, to be bombarded with third party adds.  As
I read Alder Rasmussen’s letter criticizing Mr. Diny for suggesting he
would lower water rates, it reminded me of a pro-Rosenberg ad making the
same promise on her behalf.  The past couple weeks, I am sure I’m not
alone in seeing how just about every criticism of tactic or message
could be equally made of either candidate.  We all seem to know this is
not how Wausau politics should be conducted, but then forgive fighting
fire with fire if the actor is on our own team.

Rasmussen contends that it is common council who bears responsibility
for the borrowing, spending and policies generally in the City of
Wausau.  I certainly agree to a large measure, council is the policy
maker and the mayor is the manager.  Given her long standing leadership
position on many iterations of city council and chairing important
committees, I imagine this is the closest we will get to an apology from
Rasmussen for her part in the negative turn our local politics has
taken.  Alder, I gladly accept your apology on behalf of my neighbors
and hope we get the chance to work together to improve things moving

[For an honest discussion of our city’s experience with PFAS in our
Water System – take a look at my video which contains a timeline clearly
illustrating the sequence of events that city leaders and staff seem
unwilling to discuss. https://youtu.be/9cgua0QhaJk?si=0VwhHTEduQcJ6WuN]

As Rasmussen wrapped up saying “tons of cash” doesn’t solve problems,
neither does “partisan divisions,” I was being served a Democratic Party
of Wisconsin advertisement calling Mr. Diny a typical politician sitting
back and collecting a taxpayer paycheck.  (He is paid just north of
$5,000 a year I believe, typical fat-cat grifter).  With the state
Democratic Party buying $190,000 worth of ad time and Mr. Diny
reportedly spending at least $91,000 on ads, supporters of each
candidate were critical of “dark money” and strongly suggesting illicit
behavior by the opposition.

I strongly suspect that the intent of this spending from the parties and
PACS is to reduce overall turnout and therefore strengthen the voice of
the most partisan voters.  The parties and many of their consultants
have long claimed that the best way to win an election is to restrict
turnout to your most committed supporters.  Some try erecting barriers
to the franchise, others by ramping up the apathy of a tired electorate.
  Do not take the bait.  Your vote is how your voice gets heard – get out
and make it heard on Tuesday.  If we can get 11,000 plus votes counted,
we can be sure to get the leaders we – as a community – truly want.

Catherine Kronenwetter
Candidate for Alderman, Wausau’s District 1

Catherine Kronenwetter is challenging Carol Lukens to represent Dist. 1. The election is April 2.