The first of two recall elections scheduled in the Town of Bridgeport will be held on Tuesday, July 1.
On the ballot are the positions of incumbent Town Chairperson John Karnopp and Supervisor Mike Steiner. Challenging them are Arnold Steele and Greg Webster.
Neither Karnopp nor Steiner could be reached for comment.
Arnold Steele is running for township chairperson. He is a chiropractor, operating his practice in Prairie du Chien since 1969. He and his wife Irene have two sons, Marcus, 43, and Matthew, 41, both chiropractors as well.
While Steele has not previously served in a public office, he did serve on the Wisconsin Chiropractic Board for nine “very successful” years. Steele believes the work with that multi-million dollar entity helped prepare him to tackle the fiscal responsibilities of the township board.
“I want to see the proper application of our zoning laws to protect the nature of our township, using the zoning laws to protect our natural resources and farming heritage, while encouraging economic development,” Steele said.
Steele feels there are many opportunities for improving the town’s economy in a way that benefits all residents, but he does not believe that is what is being done right now.
“We need to clear away the quagmire or cronyism that exists in the township,” said Steele, asserting that decisions were being made that benefited the few over the whole.
Greg Webster is running for the township supervisor position currently held by Mike Steiner. He is a 43-year-old professional musician, performing lead vocals and playing the acoustic guitar with the Back Home Boys. He and his fiancée Andrea DuCharme have two daughters Claire, 20, and Olivia 17, and one son, Zach, 16.
This is Webster’s first time running for a public office.
“I am hoping to work for greater transparency in local government and increasing public involvement,” Webster said. “If I am elected, my doors will always be open, my phone will always be on. The public should always expect that their public officials are available and will listen to them.”
The second recall election is scheduled for Tuesday, July 15. Incumbent Rodney Fishler, elected in April of 2013, will face challenger Alan Flansburgh.
Flansburgh, 52, is a dairy farmer. He and his wife Kathy have five sons: Derek, 23; Dustin 21; Dylan, 19; Devin, 18; and Dalton, 13. The family raises soybeans, corn, and alfalfa in addition to milking cows.
Flansburgh was appointed to the township’s plan commission in April of 2013, his first time serving in a public position.
“I want to help keep the township in the black," Flansburgh said of his goals if elected.
“I am running because Rodney has a conflict of interest, his father and brother are suing the town board,” Flansburgh said of Fishler.
Addressing the claim that he might also have a conflict of interest in serving on the town board due to his involvement in a lawsuit with Pattison Sand Company and the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board over denied permits for mining frac sand within the LWSRB boundary, Flansburgh said he did not see a conflict existing.
“I haven’t signed a contract with Pattison Sand and I don’t know if I ever will,” Flansburgh said. “Not much is happening and I won’t sign one if nothing much comes of it (the sand mine).”
Rodney Fishler, 46, is a dairy and beef farmer. He and his wife Angie have three children: Blake, 18; Emily, 16; and Jacob, 11.
Fishler characterizes the election as a struggle with “the good ol’ boys” in a fight to preserve the rural nature of the township.
“We love the land and believe in the land so much that we want all children to be inspired by the same experiences in the rural life, to grow up living the dreams they have of their own,” Fishler said.
Fishler’s goals in serving include greater transparency in government, compliance with zoning ordinances, a conservative fiscal policy, protection from further annexation, and a moratorium on new frac sand mines until adequate research has been done to ensure township residents are fully informed and that their wishes are considered in any decisions made.