Three mayoral candidates are seeking election for the post of Mayor in the city of Oshkosh.
They are mayoral incumbent Steve Cummings, Deputy Mayor Lori Palmeri and
political newcomer and local bar owner Nathan Stiefvater.
The top two vote-getters in the February 19 primary election will face each other at the Spring general election on April 2. The term of office is two years.
The League of Women Voters of Winnebago County and Oshkosh Media hosted a candidates’ forum on Thursday, January 31. The one-hour event was open to the public. Despite the record-breaking cold weather, about 40 people attended.
Contenders responded to pre-submitted questions about their respective backgrounds, qualifications and reasons for seeking election.
During the event, the mayoral hopefuls discussed topics that included Oshkosh’s current form of government, a permanent warming shelter and other hot-button topics such as a proposed new wheel-tax to support public works projects.
Attendees were encouraged to anonymously submit written questions addressed to all candidates during the forum. Diversity came up explicitly only once, as each mayoral hopeful was given one minute to address the question: “How should Oshkosh respond to the increasing racial and ethnic diversity in our community? Would you support a new city staff position for diversity and inclusion?”
Following are highlights of each candidate’s response in the order they were given:
Stiefvater said, “(A new City staff position) would be a fantastic way of dealing with issues if it really had some backing that it would be substantial…that it would have something that would be tangible to the community addressing the needs and identifying the needs if there are deficits there or not.”
Mayor Cummings said other ways to address diversity might be preferable. “It is more important to have community events,” he said, “not putting a person in a position in any one of the entities in the City.”
Deputy Mayor Palmeri said, “I have supported a new City staff position in the past, and I would again.”
The candidate forum is available to view on the Oshkosh Media YouTube channel.
Voter registration and election information is available at the Winnebago County Clerk’s website.