This coming April 2 election is a pivotal one for the citizens of Sturgeon Bay. Two candidates will be competing for the mayoralty, in addition to several key city council races on the ballot. While it is tempting for some to dismiss those seeking public office as being “all alike” (shorthand for, What does it matter who wins?), the two candidates couldn’t be more different. One (Dr. David Ward) is the last remnant of the “old guard” who steered a course for the city through several dubious redevelopment deals that ended up costing city taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and settlements with nothing to really show for the waste in money and man-hours. The other (Shawn Fairchild) is a tradesman and long-time resident who has emerged as a champion for the public trust that our previous city government was charged with protecting but, sadly, looked to subvert for the enrichment of a few powerful “insiders.”
Shawn Fairchild believes in inclusivity and collaboration, opening City Hall to the ideas and concerns of all citizens. That belief is bedrock to his campaign. He is concerned about issues that relate to the city’s future: affordable housing, attracting young families with good schools and employment opportunities, and fostering a business climate in which large industry and small businesses can both thrive. Dr. Ward, by virtue of his voting record as a member of the city council and the last supporter standing of Mayor Thad Birmingham’s administration, has shown himself to be comfortable with “exclusivity” and closed door deal-making. Sturgeon Bay and its many wonderful resources are, in this view, only worth protecting if they can be sold off to private interests for profit.
We have a chance in this coming election to choose a new path for city government, one that is open and responsive to all citizens, not just the well-heeled few; one that will protect those things about the city that we all value. I urge you to vote for Sturgeon Bay’s future. I urge you to vote for Shawn.
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.