Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Local candidates to join student discussion

Graphic by Josh Lehner

The UW Oshkosh Center for Civic and Community Engagement (CCCE) will offer students the opportunity to meet and learn about candidates in upcoming local elections March 20 in the Reeve Union Memorial Ballroom from 5-7 p.m.

“Students should recognize Oshkosh is a college town, and the student voice in a community like this (especially during elections) really matters,” CCCE Director Mike Lueder said. 

Students, faculty, staff and other community members are invited to the open meet and greet  for candidates running for Winnebago County Judge, the Oshkosh Common Council, the Oshkosh Area School Board and County Board Districts 16, 19, 20, 21 and 25.

The Q&A session comes less than two weeks before the April 2 spring election.

Lueder said CCCE will help guide the discussion, but he encourages students to ask candidates about subjects relevant to students. 

“We will give students a sheet with some suggestions on topics that may be of interest to them, but ultimately this is time for voters to talk directly with candidates about issues that are important to them,” he said.

He said engagement in local elections is just as important as in state-wide or national elections. 

“Local races have a bigger impact on people living in that community than people realize, often a bigger impact than the national races,” he said. “Our education students should care who is on the local school board as that group will affect their student teaching placements and future employers. The City Council and the County Board affect the work of agencies like the Public Health Department — something our nursing students should pay attention to. If a business student wants to start a new business in Oshkosh, the people on the City Council and the County Board will matter to them. And if students plan on staying in Oshkosh after they graduate, the investments these groups do (or don’t) make in the city will affect them.”

Lueder said he’s met with many students who are not very knowledgeable about city-level topics.

“I do not know this for sure, but from students I talk with, many of them are not very informed on local issues or local candidates,” he said. “This event gives them the chance to get up to speed on both.”

Bridging the Divide UWO campus representative Devin Heinz said student engagement is comparable to most other community members — low.

“I think UWO students are just as engaged in the upcoming elections as everyone else in the city of Oshkosh,” Heinz said. “Statistics show that local elections historically see the lowest levels of voter participation which falls in line with the limited resources that local candidates have to get their message out to voters.”

Heinz said working to organize events like this helps to build relationships between government officials and community members.

“It’s events like these that help local community leaders to better connect with their constituents,” he said.

Both candidates running for Winnebago county judge, former judge Lakeisha Haase and Michael Rust, will make an appearance to make their case for the April 2 election. 

Students will also meet the five candidates running for the three open spots on the Oshkosh Common Council. These candidates are Kristopher Ulrich, Kris Larson, Jacob Floam, Thomas Asuma and DJ Nichols. 

Three incumbents of the Oshkosh Area School Board, Kristopher Karns, Chris Wright and Beth Wyman, and one new candidate, Timothy Hess, will vie for the three open positions on the school board. 

Candidates running for County Board Districts 16, 19, 20, 21 and 25 will also make an appearance.

Lueder said that if students want to see any sort of change in Oshkosh, they should show up to the polls April 2.

“It is their responsibility to represent the student voice in this community during elections during their time at UWO,” he said. “The city of Oshkosh will invest in items its voters want. If students want certain types of improvements, now is the time to make their collective voices heard.”

Students living on campus can vote at Reeve Memorial Union 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on April 2. Those living off campus can find their polling location at

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