Incumbents Mason Becker and Chris Scherer have been re-elected to serve new terms on the Fort Atkinson City Council, and will join newcomer Megan Hartwick who gained a seat on the council as well.
Becker, Hartwick and Scherer were the top three vote-getters in Tuesday’s general spring election, polling 1,216, 1,203 and 1,036 votes respectively.
Newcomer Jordan Lamb, however, was unsuccessful in securing a seat on the council. He tallied 658 votes.
The four candidates were vying for three open seats on the council. Incumbent Paul Kotz did not seek another two-year term.
Becker, 40, lives at 1511 Stacy Lane, Fort Atkinson. A restaurateur, he has resided in Fort Atkinson for 37 years.
Becker serves on the Fort Atkinson Lions Club, currently as second vice president, and at Bethany Lutheran Church, having been on the church council for six years. His family business is a member of the Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce.
His political experience includes serving his third term on the Fort Atkinson City Council. He ran for State Assembly in 2020. He also served on the Residence Hall Association executive board at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Coming off his win, Becker said it’s definitely an honor to be returned to the city council for his fourth term.
“Also, I’m humbled I’m once again the top vote-earner,” Becker commented. “I really appreciate all the support of all the residents and voters and the community. It’s truly an honor to serve my hometown.”
He said the city has its work cut out this year.
“We have a lot of work to do in advancing the housing development along Banker Road, continuing to focus on economic development and improving our streets,” Becker said.
The incumbent said he wants to continue listening to as many different people as possible.
“We may not always agree on everything, but I’ll do my best to listen to the entire community,” Becker said.
He said he’s really pleased that the city will have a council with different perspectives, but that “at the end of the day, we have consensus to do what’s best for the city of Fort Atkinson.”
“If we could fix every street at once we would, but dollars are finite,” Becker added. “Fort Atkinson has always had a good tradition of transparent local government. And I’m going to do what I can for that (transparency) to continue for the next two years.”
Hartwick, 36, resides at 1225 Orchard Lane, Fort Atkinson. A 2003 graduate of Fort Atkinson High School, she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from UW-Whitewater in 2007.
Hartwick was born and raised in Fort Atkinson, and moved back to the community in 2012 after six years in the Chicago area. She has lived in Fort Atkinson for 27 years and since returning to town eight years ago has invested much of her time and energy into supporting and improving the city.
For the past 7 ½ years, she has served as executive director of United Way of Jefferson & North Walworth Counties. She also is founder of the Fort Atkinson Summer Charity Concerts, a popular, free summer event in the community which serves as a fundraiser in support of the Lend a Hand program at BASE (Badgerland After-School Enrichment) and the FA Summer Charity Concert scholarship fund.
In addition, she currently serves as a member of the Fort Atkinson Police and Fire Commission, is an active volunteer with the Fort Atkinson Generals, and serves as a nonprofit representative on the Jefferson County Planning Commission.
Reacting to her victory, Hartwick expressed “gratitude” to the voters of the community who elected her to the council.
“This is the community I have grown up in and returned to, and am now raising my family here,” Hartwick said Tuesday night, adding she’s fortunate to be involved in lot of civic activities. “I’m incredibly grateful to those persons who live here as well and voted for me — that they put their confidence and trust in me to give me their vote today.”
As an elected official, she said she hopes to keep open the lines of communication with the public.
“Really, one of the big things MorMOreI hope to do is to just be a very open and transparent person, and also to constantly be asking the community for their feedback,” Hartwick said. “I did a lot of that during my campaign, and that gave me a lot of information and helped me form some strong opinions about the needs of the community based upon what people here are saying that they need.”
The newly elected council member said she thinks people might forget that casting a vote involves putting one’s and trust faith in someone.
“I appreciate those who did that today who think I will serve them and the community well,” Hartwick said, adding she thinks people also underestimate the importance of having a contested race. “It forces everyone (candidates) to invest a little bit more in the process.
“For any of the four of us (candidates) involved, it’s not an easy thing to put yourself out there in front of the public like that,” she added. “I congratulate anyone who is willing to do that.”
Scherer, 29, who lives at 15 S. 6th St., Fort Atkinson, is self-employed as a business consultant. He has lived in the city for 26 years. He earned his education at Fort Atkinson High School and UW-Whitewater.
Scherer’s civic and organizational memberships include: Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce member, 13 years, where he was Board president-elect, Ambassadors president, served on the Rhythm on the River and Economic Development committees, Speaker’s Bureau, and conducted senior exit interviews. He also has been involved in the Fort Atkinson Summer Charity Concert Series, a high school athletics coach and a Continuing Education instructor at Madison College.
His political/community planning experience includes: two years (one term) as a Fort Atkinson City Council member; facilitating a community-driven envisioning session; Fort Atkinson Placemaking Initiative; Jefferson County strategic planning; Planning Commission member; Airport Committee member; Historical Society Board member; Cable Television Committee; License Committee appointee; and Finance Committee appointee.
Scherer could not be reached for comment by press time.
Early afternoon Tuesday, Michelle Ebbert, city clerk/treasurer/finance director, characterized voter turnout at Fort Atkinson’s polls at the municipal building as “Slow, very slow.”
“We’ve had a total of 15% absentee and in-person (registered voters), so for a local election I’d really hope to see higher,” Ebbert said, adding that, ideally, she’d like to see 30 percent turnout.
“Local elections are very important,” she added. “This is picking your city council, it’s picking school board.”
With polls closing at 8 p.m., the clerk said she did not “foresee any issues — everything’s been very smooth all day long. Our count has been right on, which is all you can ask for.
“Voters have been very respectful,” Ebbert added. “Social distancing is always important—everyone’s been respecting each other, so it’s a good day.”