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

Meet the candidates of the April 2 election

What are they running for and why should you vote?

The 2024 spring election is approaching quickly. UW Oshkosh, Oshkosh College Conservatives, College Democrats and Leader Ignition Transformation held a meet the candidates event in Reeve last week that gave students the opportunity to ask all of the local candidates questions and get to know who they’re voting for on April 2. 

Each candidate was asked to provide their basic mission statement and a reason as to why students on campus should vote in the local election. These were their answers:

Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education

Chris Wright

“To make sure that all kids in Oshkosh school district are community, career and college ready. … I’m laser focused on making sure that kids have all the resources and opportunities they need to succeed and be successful.” 

“I’m always looking for ways the school district can partner with UW Oshkosh so that there can be tons of opportunities for employment for students here in the district and things like that.

Tim Hess

“In Oshkosh, 36% of the kids are proficient in English language arts. 36% of kids are proficient in math. That means basically two thirds of the kids that are graduating aren’t proficient [in either] … There are very few people that know how to use educational data to do decision making. The majority of the time, people that are administrators are qualitative researchers. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I want to bring the use of educational data to bear and to understand when we are struggling, when programs aren’t working, so that [we] can efficiently either reallocate the resources or move to something else.”  

“All students are going to move on, they’re going to go into new communities, many of you are going to have kids yourselves, and you will hopefully graduate from here. You will succeed in whatever endeavors you are looking to do in life, and you’re going to want your kids to succeed too. It’s going to be incumbent on you to look at your school districts and determine how good they are going to do at teaching your kids. It’s time to start now … It’s important, it’s everybody’s future. So care about it.”

Kristopher Karns

“We’re focused on literacy, our facilities plan and taking care of our staff … [and] continuing that progress.”

“I grew up in Oshkosh. I went to UW Oshkosh, this is my community, so I think everybody should be involved. … You impact elections. Taking care of our community and moving our community in the right direction, I think everybody should be involved in [that].”

Beth Wyman

“Our mission is to educate every child in our district, and to do it with a passion.”

“Students on campus should vote because I don’t think you get to say anything about our government and about the voting process unless you’re part of it.”

Oshkosh Common Council 

Thomas Asuma

“My biggest platform right now is taxes. Look at my tax bill. I don’t know how the school people did it, but my school bill went down, my county bill went down, but [my] city [bill had a] 3.9% increase, and that’s something that has to start turning around … So it’s a matter of how do we go back and start to hold people accountable, and make sure that people are working within their departments to find ways to cut spending, or do things a lot smarter.”

Kristopher Ulrich

“Council, as far as I’m concerned, is a city manager. Council as a form of government, the job is to be a conduit between you and your governance. Essentially, that doesn’t happen as much as it should. So, I’m a correspondence and transparency guy, because you should have [the] very quick option to talk to people like me, who want things done in your city.” 

“Students should vote because students don’t vote anywhere near as much as they should.  [The] percentage is far lower in this district than it should be. Even if you’re here for a little bit of time, the representation you get while you’re here is important, and you want your campus to be better, you want your university better, you want this geographical area to be better. So that’s why you should vote, for me in particular.”

Jacob Floam 

“Currently, I’m the Winnebago County Board supervisor for this district for the university community. I’m also a part time grad student here as well in the public administration program. … So for me, I want to make sure that this is the best place for students who are graduating from here to start their first year.”

 “I feel like we lose too much talent as a community. Once people graduate, they go off to different cities or even different states. These are places like Appleton, Green Bay or even Minneapolis [and] Chicago. … That means that we need to invest in workforce housing and affordable housing. … We can probably do more to make sure that students want to stay here. … It’s very important to me because we have fantastic students and [we] want those people to [start their career in] Oshkosh instead of losing them.”

Kris Larson

“The big thing about me that sets me apart from everyone else is I’m the only nonpartisan candidate. … Last year, in particular, way too much money snuck in from the Democrats in particular, but the Republicans also, for local elections, and we just don’t need that city government. …We’re talking about roads, we’re talking about sewers, we’re talking about housing, obviously huge things here – we don’t need party line influence. We just need people who are well informed. I have been on the landmarks commission, the stormwater board, the plan commission actually doing the boring governance stuff that goes into what [the] common council does. My background is in nonprofit management, and a lot of that is board governance. So I just want to continue to write the really boring policies.”

“I am a townie, so that’s important to some people. My family goes back six generations. I think I’m the only one here who was an Oshkosh grad—I did my masters in the school of business. I’m a local historian too. So I like to think when we make decisions about our future, it’s important that you ground them and the precedent from the past.”

DJ Nichols 

“I’m running for government transparency, responsible spending and opportunity for everybody, which are pretty easy concepts, I think, to agree on. But, you have to be intentional about them if you’re gonna have any clarity. So it’s making sure that people know where to find information, know who to ask if they can’t find it, and making sure that it’s easy to access once [they] get there.”

“If we’re not doing things at a local level to make sure people will stay here, everybody leaves. So the focus here is on making sure that we can make not just UWO a destination for college, but also Oshkosh a destination for after college.”

Winnebago County Circuit Court Branch 

LaKeisha Haase 

“I’m running because I’m the most qualified candidate. I have previously been a judge. I have extensive expertise in different areas of practice, and I believe that diversity is crucial in every aspect of our lives, especially in the judiciary. Coming from a person of color, [I have] practiced before I can’t even count how many judges, but I’ve never practiced before a judge of color. I think that people who come into the courtroom need to see people that look like them, in order to at least get past that inherent bias. … I also think that women should be on the bench and right now, in Winnebago County with Judge Teresa Basiliere retiring, there will be absolutely no women in the judiciary. I have spent my entire career, even before going to law school, focusing on law. And I know law like the back of my hand, I’m a trial attorney. I’ve been spending my time in a courtroom. And it’s positioned me in the best way to become the next [circuit court judge].” 

“Not everyone has the right to do so, and so the privilege to vote, you should exercise it every single moment. … Local elections, in my opinion, have such a direct [and] immediate impact on your life. … Running as a judge, I’m making decisions on citations, on criminal law, on divorces, on your child custody, your landlord- tenant disputes. These are all things that you will have contact with.”

Michael Rust 

“I’m running because I believe that it’s important that judges are neutral. That it’s the role of a judge to determine what the facts are in the case and apply the law to the facts. It’s not the role of the judge to make change in the community by legislating from the bench. In my career, I’ve been a professional neutral for the last 12 years. I’ve been a court commissioner for the last two years and for the 10 years before that I ran the Conflict Resolution Center. And so my job has been to be neutral, and I will continue that on the bench.”

 “Students live here. This is their community too. And so it’s important that students vote for every election, and every one of these positions … because this is their community for four years, maybe more. … If you don’t get out and vote, then other people are deciding your fate and your future for you.”

To register to vote, find your polling location and ask election related questions, visit

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