Following some two months of aggressive campaigning, the mayoral election has finally come to a close. With voting having been carried out in 6 precincts throughout the city, Neenah Historical Society executive director and city alderperson Jane Lang won with 3,235 votes or 57 percent of those cast. With that, she is set to become the 2nd female mayor in Neenah City History, the first being Marigen Carpenter, who served from 1982 to 1998.
In an email reply, Mayor-Elect Lang said, “I’m very thankful to have been able to meet so many people in the community – we truly are fortunate to live in such a great city and the people here are so kind and supportive. It was so good for me to have to think about and articulate my vision for the community. Meeting and talking with so many of our citizens really helped me solidify that vision.”
Speaking of the figures that she owes her election success to, Lang added, “I’m incredibly thankful to my family and to my friends who supported me all along the way. I’m also grateful for the support and encouragement I received from so many in the community including two of our former mayors.”
She highlighted the endorsement of former mayor Carpenter as a major inspiration, but also affirmed that “this community is filled with so many inspiring individuals – I’m so grateful for the examples they’ve set for us to follow.”
With regards to what her takeaways are from running this mayoral campaign, Lang verified: “It’s important to do your absolute best. Whether you win or lose, at the end of the day, you’ll be able to feel good about the effort you put in and you’ll have no regrets. From the start of the campaign, I knew that this would be a very educational process. It would either help me be a better mayor or help me be a better alderman. Life is all about learning and growing, and I’m so grateful that I had this amazing opportunity.”
But as for her plans moving forward as the mayor of the city, Lang said, “I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with the wonderful staff at the city to serve the citizens of Neenah. We are so fortunate to have such dedicated people working for Neenah, and I’m so honored to have the opportunity to work with them to move Neenah forward. ”
Brian Borchardt, a fellow alderperson and teacher at NHS, arrived in second place, with 2,474 votes or 43 percent of those cast. Speaking cheerfully at a social event with his supporters, Borchardt proclaimed, “I am absolutely excited for Jane and I couldn’t be more happy for her. And I can’t wait to look forward to working with her on the future of Neenah. I’m blessed to be able to do the things I’ve done, this experience makes me a better person. I don’t think Neenah could have gone wrong, I’m gonna support Jane on all her endeavors. I have mad respect for her; I’ll be around and I plan on supporting her. Neenah’s best days are ahead.”
Also attending that event, incumbent school board member Lauri Asbury, who came in first place with 3,619 votes out of 9,045 cast was celebratory. Ballots allowed voters to pick no more than three candidates from a list of six with the winning three candidates becoming new N.J.S.D. board members; Sarah Moore-Nokes came in 2nd place with 3,619 votes, while Tara Brzezinski came in 3rd with 3,605 votes.
“I would love to see the new project through the new high school, and work with the gift that the community has given us and just create an amazing place where we have the best opportunities for students, real-world, hands-on, project-based learning, that’s the main thing. I believe this investment is going to be an incredible future for the community, and I want to see that through in a positive future for our kids,” Asbury said at the event.
With regards to her goals moving forward in terms of school board policy, Asbury added, “I’m hoping to keep moving forward with the policy committee and also advocating for the district at state level with the legislature. Another thing I think is really important is that we really need to make sure we have student voices as part of what we’re doing. We have two board reps; they do a good job. I’d like to strengthen that, have student voices because you guys are amazing.”
The morning after, sitting in his classroom, Borchardt connected his experience as a mayoral candidate with his job as a Neenah teacher. “I think I spend most of my days pushing students to dream about what’s possible. But sometimes, you’ve gotta put words into actions, and I did that. The experience will make me both a better teacher and alderman.”
Mayor-elect Lang will be sworn in the evening of April 19.
The full results, including judicial, court and county races, can be found on the Winnebago County official website.