I've been fighting for a better Mount Pleasant as a resident. I'm ready to lead it as your Village President. Join me to create a community that works for you.
Why I'm Running Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with some great public servants. Their dedication and integrity have shown me what real community leaders can accomplish. These lessons inspired me to work as a resident in Mount Pleasant over the last seven years to hold our local officials accountable and to ensure transparency and fairness at Village Hall.
While, I have always been most comfortable working behind the scenes as an advocate and organizer, something has changed.
It's time to step up. I'm running for Mount Pleasant Village President.
Mount Pleasant is at a crossroads. Our future can no longer be in the hands of the politicians who brought us Foxconn — the largest failed publicly funded economic development in U.S. history. The Foxconn deal will never create the 13,000 full time jobs we were promised, but village consultants continue to be paid millions with no accountability.
I will put an end to it.
On top of the Foxconn fiasco, our current leadership in Mount Pleasant has brought us year after year of record spending and borrowing. They have built a financial house of cards that is in danger of crashing down upon us all.
Instead of taking responsibility for their actions and failures, in 2022, village leaders voted unanimously to extend their terms in office from two to three years— making them the only trustees in Racine County with three year terms. I led the effort to stop them and won.
We've had enough with the excuses and gaslighting from Village Hall. Residents should be treated like neighbors, not a nuisance. You deserve an open and honest government, and I will work everyday to make that happen.
Let's create something different. Let's make Mount Pleasant work for people again. I would be honored to have your vote on April 4th.
Here are some of the things I've been able to accomplish in Mount Pleasant as a resident. I'm confident as your Village President we can accomplish even more. It's all about transparency and good government.
In late January, the Village Board voted unanimously to create a charter ordinance to extend their terms in office from two to three years, making them the only trustees in Racine County with three year terms. A recording of a previous Committee of the Whole meeting where the ordinance had been discussed — and no written minutes had been recorded — it seemed clear that this ordinance was being created to avoid a new majority sweep in upcoming elections. Village officials were acting to protect the status quo by disenfranchising voters with fewer opportunities to elect new representatives. I organized the effort to collect over 900 petition signatures within 60 days which would force the ordinance to a public referendum vote before it could be enacted — giving residents the ability to decide first. We collected 1300 signatures in fourteen days. Instead of certifying the petition and holding a referendum vote, the Village Board voted to repeal the ordinance and Village Trustee terms remain two years.
Organized and hosted a sold-out Foxconn Town Hall at Gateway College after more than two years without a public forum. Featuring distinguished guests from media, economics and state government, the conversation was lively and very interesting. Invited Village Trustees declined to attend.
After two dogs mauled a 78 year old woman and the neighbor who tried to rescue her in my neighborhood, I helped to organize nearly sixty of my neighbors to attend and speak at the September Village Board meeting after we discovered the dogs were still residing at home weeks later. The village ordinance on dangerous animals had not been updated in twenty years, and Mount Pleasant Police were not informed of current state law which would have allowed them to immediately seize these dogs which had terrorized our neighborhood for almost a year. I wrote and helped to circulate a petition signed by sixty neighbors demanding an updated animal ordinance which was passed in October. One of two dogs is under strict quarantine and the other was removed, evaluated, and has since been euthanized. Had we not acted, it is likely that nothing would have been done by the village and the dogs would have inevitably escaped again and attacked another neighbor.
Highlighted the eminent domain abuse by Mount Pleasant against a small business owner in the Foxconn zone. The village blocked the entrance to their business and ticketed the owner for trespassing when he tried to access his property. Because of publicity generated by the media, the owners are still in possession of their property, and have entered into a lawsuit against the village. The outcome has not been determined yet — but Mount Pleasant would have surely seized their land if they had not been caught out publicly.
Featured in the book, Foxconned: Imaginary Jobs, Bulldozed Homes, and the Sacking of Local Government, by author Lawrence Tabak. The book was met with favorable reviews and was the subject of many media articles including the Wisconsin Examiner.
Beginning in 2020, I began a regular feature on the A Better Mt. Pleasant Facebook page that focused on the amount the Foxconn Project Director was being paid each month and questioned why he was receiving a sizable hourly rate increase — including overtime when nothing was happening at Foxconn. This resulted in numerous viral Facebook posts which led to new stories which raised the same questions. Here and here.
After receiving several complaints from residents who discovered they had been blocked from commenting on the official social media pages of Village Trustees — a clear violation of free speech, I successfully lobbied to have Village Trustees unblock all censored residents from their official pages — including myself.
In 2019, our main focus at A Better Mt. Pleasant was to provide background on Mount Pleasant and the Foxconn development for investigative journalists and other media outlets. We worked to provide connections to information and people who could tell the story best. This work resulted in a number of highly important reports which helped to fill in the gaps that local media was not providing and change the narrative. Here are a few from 2019:
Successfully advocated for the prompt approval of Village meeting minutes which were improperly and illegally delayed from publication — in some cases — by many months.
Led the effort for Village Board meetings to be live streamed on Facebook, by first doing it myself — prompting the village to begin streaming meetings several weeks later.
Prior to March 2018, the Village did not make available to the public Village Board Executive Packets — these include detailed information on Village Board agenda items. After requesting them through Open Records Requests and publishing them myself, the Village was prompted to finally begin publishing them online prior to VB meetings.
Organized and hosted the very first Foxconn community information forum featuring local officials who answered community member’s questions regarding the Foxconn development in response to Mt. Pleasant’s failure to hold regular information meetings as promised.
Hosted a sold-out screening of the film “Little Pink Houses” at the Marcus Renaissance Theatre. The film tells the story of the Kelo vs. the City of New London Supreme Court case on eminent domain. With special guest Attorney Anthony Sanders from the Institute for Justice, a member of the Kelo legal team. Sanders answered questions and talked about Foxconn and Mount Pleasant’s use of eminent domain.
Filed a complaint on behalf of residents in conjunction with WI State Representative Peter Barca with the WI DOJ and Attorney General Brad Schimel asking for guidance on the Village CDA’s attempt on two occasions to limit the topic on which residents could speak during the publicly noticed public comment period at these meetings. The DOJ validated this concern, stating that the CDA’s actions did not comport with the policies of open meetings law. They further stated that they were not likely to defend the CDA should residents take action for violations of their First Amendment Rights.
Highlighted the high cost and lack of annual reporting of public safety in Mount Pleasant. No Village Police Chief had provided an annual report for the community on crime, response times and expenses since 2009. Shortly thereafter, the Interim Chief submitted the first annual report in eleven years. Unfortunately, the Village Fire Chief has never provided an annual report.
Recorded, reported and filed documentation with the Wisconsin DNR regarding improper stormwater overflow from the Foxconn construction zone into Lamparek creek. The DNR cited Foxconn for the overflow violation.
Called attention to the mistreatment of a Foxconn family forced to live in temporary housing with no heat and broken septic system. The Village promised them relocation benefits, then reneged. They promised to make their temporary home wheelchair accessible, and did not. With no working furnace, a broken septic system, the Village then gave the family thirty days to vacate the temporary home or be evicted.
Won an apology and censure against Village President Dave DeGroot after he illegally disallowed me to speak during public comments and threatened to have another resident removed by police. DeGroot stated that I would not be allowed to speak in any Village Board meeting until he received a written and oral apology from me, falsely accused me of using profanity during previous public comments, and threatened to throw me “out on [my] can.”
Advocated with and on behalf of Mount Pleasant residents on HWY V to protest unfair village assessments levied against them for sewer and water service in Caledonia — a controversial measure in which Dave DeGroot wrote in the Racine Journal Times that Mount Pleasant should “flush the Highway V-gang and their crappy attitudes down the shiny new sewer heading their way.” Organized and facilitated a community press conference on March 15, 2016 featuring property owners who ultimately won a settlement in their favor.
Served as the organizer for the campaigns of Ken Otwaska, Jon Hansen and Gary Feest for Village Trustee. All three candidates won the vote in every village polling location.
Served as organizer and advisor for the campaign of Jerry Garski for Village President. Garski won his seat over incumbent Mark Gleason with 54% of the vote.
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