Four seats are up for election on the New Ulm City Council this year. In three of them, incumbent councilors are facing challengers - Councilor at-large Charles Schmitz, First Ward Councilor Ruth Ann Webster and Third Ward Councilor Les Schultz. Second Ward Councilor Lisa Fischer is unopposed.
These incumbents have demonstrated the ability to work together and deal effectively with the difficult challenges facing the city. The Journal think the city would be best served by returning the incumbents to office and letting them continue their work.
As Councilor-At-Large, Charles Schmitz is elected by the city as a whole, and serves as president of the council. His leadership has been quiet but solid. His interests are in keeping the city running smoothly and providing needed services in the face of budgetary uncertainty and retrenchment. His opponent, Ronald Larsen (a former reporter for The Journal who covered city government) has expressed some ideas for improvements in the city that are grand and far-reaching, such as rebuilding the downtown. But they are also expensive ideas and, in our opinion, don't meet the test of economic feasibility.
Webster, with 12 years on the council, possesses a wealth of information and experience. She has demonstrated the ability to examine issues fully, not afraid to ask questions (which we suspect she already knows the answers to)?in order to spark public discussions of the issues at hand.
Schultz has proven himself a hard-working and capable councilor, not afraid to take on such tasks as getting the new entry signs in New Ulm designed and constructed. He also showed courage in taking a stand earlier this year on the issue of the sale of artificial marijuana in New Ulm.
Their opponents, Joel Boehlke in the First Ward and Charles Hanson in the Third, possess admirable qualifications, but in the current situation of reduced state funding and the need to carefully pare the city services to avoid excessive city tax increases - a situation that doesn't show signs of improving much over the next few years - New Ulm would be best served by the experienced and proven council members who are seeking re-election.