Last January, the Mount Pleasant Village Board unanimously voted to create a new charter ordinance which would lengthen their terms in office from two years to three years (making them the only trustees in Racine County with 3 year terms) AND stagger trustee seat elections so that no more than two trustee seats would ever be on a spring election ballot.
ABMP defeated the ordinance by gathering over a thousand signatures which would force approval of the ordinance to a public referendum vote first.
Knowing they would not win a referendum, the Village Board repealed the ordinance.
So, why did they do it in the first place?
Because, in April 2023 three Village Trustee seats are on the ballot AND the Village President. That's four out of seven seats — a voting majority of the Village Board.
Trustees and Village Hall staff openly said at the time they were acting to avoid a future majority sweep — which would disrupt their power and authority. They saw April 2023 coming and knew they were vulnerable to being removed by voters.
Of the many cynical things this Village Board has said and done, this was perhaps the worst. None of them deserve to remain as village officials.
While everyone right now is focused on the November partisan elections, we are on the eve of preparing for April nonpartisan elections.
Candidates for local office will begin circulating nomination papers in December and plan to file the required candidate paperwork at Village Hall on the first Tuesday in January. It’s not a difficult process at all, but the holiday season tends to leave people flat-footed and before you know it, the deadline to file has already passed.
This is why we started talking about it early.
So, what does it take to actually get on the ballot in April?
Candidates for Village Trustee must fill out and submit three forms:
These are basically forms which say I’m running for office, here’s my bank account info where I will be depositing any campaign donations I receive, and the signatures of a minimum of twenty, but no more than one hundred, eligible voters in Mount Pleasant.
If you decide to raise or personally contribute more than $2000 in a calendar year to your campaign, you need to file campaign finance reports which is basically a list of all your campaign donations and expenses.
To a first-time candidate, this might sound somewhat daunting. It is not.
There are clear and concise directions on the forms. The Village Clerk can answer your questions, and we are happy to check all your forms before you submit them.
Even if you make a mistake — all your forms can be amended.
The Mount Pleasant Village Clerk has a candidate packet you can access online. The wording is a little terse — don’t be intimidated — they just don’t want you to run.
The 2023 packet is not yet posted, but you can look over the 2022 packet here: http://www.mtpleasantwi.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2108/Candidate-Packet-2022---standard-spring-election?bidId=
Submitting your paperwork is probably the hardest part and you’ll have plenty of support in getting it right.
Now that you understand HOW to get on the ballot, the big question is WHY should you?
Obviously, the first answer is to serve your community. But, there are many ways of doing that. Asking people to step out of their busy lives to try and become a public official is a very big ask.
Sure, you can run because your buddy on the board needs another “yes” vote. You can run to add it to your list of extracurriculars on LinkedIn or your resume. But, haven’t we had enough of that?
In my experience, the main reason people run for office is they have become personally affected by something their local government has done. A self-activated candidate, in my opinion, is the strongest candidate.
What most people won’t tell you is that it’s pretty darn interesting. You will learn a lot.
There are meetings, not many. A few every month. Trustees serve on Village Committees and/or Commissions, but it’s a shared responsibility.
April 2023 presents us with a unique opportunity. Not just to break the cronyism that has gripped Village Hall, but to actually change the culture of Village Hall. Residents should be treated like neighbors, not a nuisance.
If you are interested in running for Village Trustee, we will be happy to sit down with you and talk about it. If you know someone who would be great, tell them to contact us.
We simply cannot let another election cycle go by in which Village Trustees face no opponents!
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