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Larry Nelson Elected Mayor of Waukesha

Longtime active WEAC member Larry Nelson has been elected mayor of Waukesha. Nelson defeated Republican State Representative Ann Nischke by a 53% to 47% margin.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the candidates were divided over the so-called Taxpayer Protection Act, which Nelson opposed and Nischke supported. The TPA is the latest version of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, and would severely limit government resources by placing strict revenue limits in the state Constitution.

Nelson said the election sent a message that local voters do not want state-mandated spending caps imposed on them. Nischke had the backing of the state and county Republican Party.

"Nelson's victory answered the nagging question of whether a Democrat could win in this largely working-class city that is surrounded by Republican strongholds," the Journal-Sentinel said.

Nelson, who has taught language arts at Butler Middle School for 30 years, has long been active in the Waukesha Education Association and is a former president of the TriWauk UniServ Council. He has also been active at the state level.

Nelson served on the TriWauk UniServ Council board for six years before becoming acting chairperson in 1992. He remained chairperson/president until 2005. At the local level he was active in the Political/Legislative Division for more than 10 years and the chair of the Political Action Committee more than 15 years. He was instrumental in school board elections and referendums.

Nelson was elected as a delegate to the annual WEAC Representative Assembly more than 20 times and a state delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly more than 10 times. In 1990, he won the WEAC Richard Lewandowski Award for humanitarian activities.

Nelson also has won the Waukesha County Peacemaker Award (1991), the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Achievement Award (1994), and a Department of Public Instruction Exemplary Teacher Certificate of Achievement (1994).

Nelson, who has been a Waukesha alderman since 2000, has been active in the United Way Campaign for 27 years.

In some of the other April 4 elections:

  • Voters in Sun Prairie defeated the state's largest school referendum - a $60 million plan to build a new east side high school.
  • Monona Grove voters approved $29 million for a new school in Cottage Grove and improvements to other school facilities in Cottage Grove and Monona.
  • Fond du Lac voters approved $8.7 million for capital improvement.
  • Wisconsin Rapids voters rejected $13.3 million for capital improvements including roof repairs and boiler replacement and for technology and curriculum purchasing.
  • Sheboygan Falls voters rejected a $21.5 million referendum to build a new middle school.
  • Oostburg voters rejected $19 million, mostly to build a new high school. A second question to allow the district to exceed its state-imposed revenue limit by up to $400,000 a year for school operations also failed.
  • Random Lake voters defeated a referendum to exceed its state revenue limits by $500,000 until 2011.
  • Waupun voters rejected $6.9 million to keep programs and staffing at the current level.
  • Voters in the Northern Ozaukee School District rejected four referendum questions totalling $2.8 million to fund maintenance, upgrade textbooks and technology, maintain student-teacher ratios and pay for existing programs and services.
  • Richfield School District voters defeated a $2.25 million referendum to pay down the district's retirement liabilities and fund maintenance for its buildings, among other things.
  • Ripon voters rejected a $1.5 million referendum for athletics and fine arts projects.
  • Bowler School District residents approved a referendum to divert $250,000 every year for three years from paying off the debt incurred when the school was built toward some needed preventive maintenance.
  • River Valley School District voters (in and near Spring Green) approved exceeding revenue limits by $1.2 million per year for five years for operating costs and roof and heating system repairs.

Posted April 5, 2006

Education News