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Mayor Blaser on Primary Election and What He Hopes To Accomplish While Still in Office

Mayor Blaser talks with James Malouf on Mid-day Magazine about low turnout at Spring Primary and the Bridge Lights Project

Mayor Blaser on Primary Election and What He Hopes To Accomplish While Still in Office

February 23, 2024 1:41 PM CDT
By: Melissa Kaye

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Wisconsin Rapids, Wis (WFHR, WIRI)

Mayor Shane Blaser said the Spring Primary went smoothly, but he was a little disappointed with the low turnout. Mayor Blaser said only about twelve hundred people voted and it was a long day for election workers. Shane wondered how you have good representative democracy when you only have a few people participating. According to the US Census Bureau estimates of our voting age population, we have a little over 14,500 people living in the city over the age of 18. That means only about 8-percent of Wisconsin Rapids voters weighed in on the candidates running for mayor. Shane said Matt Zacher had a strong showing of support with 64-percent of the vote. Tom Mews received around 18-percent and the other two candidates received about 9-percent each. Those two candidates, Preston Seitz and Nicholas Palmquist, are now out of the race.

Low turnout

Holding a primary election is not cheap

James and Mayor Blaser discussed the fact that because there were four people running for the position of mayor, the city was required to hold a primary election on February 20th. This cost the city $10-15-thousand dollars. Shane said this is disappointing to taxpayers and voters. The two candidates with the least votes participated very little in campaigning leading up to the primary. All candidates were offered the same opportunities for time on Mid-day Magazine on WFHR as well as the Mayoral Forum held by the League of Women Voters.

Bridge Lights Project is still a possibility

Mayor Blaser said he met with the City Engineer to put the bid together and ready to send out. Shane said they’ll see what the numbers come back as and where the council feels comfortable. It would use TIFF money and it’s already part of the plan. They do need money to fix the river wall issues and for cleaning up the foundry site, but the TIFF is pretty healthy. He said it would be a great project if it financially makes sense. The plan is modeled after the lighted bridges in Green Bay. The potential new bridge lights would have the ability to be programmed based on seasons or holidays to further enhance our downtown area.

Bridge Lights Project

You can find the full interview with Mayor Blaser and James Malouf on February 21st, 2024 on our Mid-day Magazine podcast page located here:

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