Race for mayor heats up in Green Bay

The race for office is on
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:02 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Two candidates are on the ballot, and they squared off during an intense debate on March 16. Several big issues were brought up, including a controversial decision to allow audio surveillance inside the Green Bay City Hall.

Current Mayor Eric Genrich seeks a second term in office, facing challenger Chad Weininger. Both men are polar opposites, politically. During the debate, there appeared to be no common ground.

In the first and what’s likely to be the only debate for Green Bay Mayor, Eric Genrich and Chad Weininger, took plenty of jabs at each other.

“Chad’s got a really good record supporting corporations. When he was in Madison in the state legislature, he was proud to support an enormous tax break for millionaires,” Genrich stated.

“I know Eric is talking about local democracy. He’s big on that. During the 2020 election, he disenfranchised hundreds if not thousands of voters. As a former clerk, that actually managed elections. It’s just mind boggling to me, it’s not acceptable,” Weininger countered.

The forum, held by the League of Women Voters of Greater Green Bay, and the election itself happened amid a controversy at City Hall involving audio surveillance.

While Mayor Genrich says the devices are meant to ensure public safety, others have disagreed. That has led to a police investigation, and a lawsuit.

“It’s perfectly fine to have a discussion about these sorts of security systems but this was not something that was done in good faith and it was something that was undertaken in an underhanded way by allies of Chad Weininger,” Genrich commented.

“If he just would have said let’s just take a step back, I’ll take a look at it. We will work through it, I don’t think you would have seen all of the blowback that we’ve gotten, and I don’t think we would have the lawsuits, the criminal, the civil, and I think it could have been handled better,” claimed Weininger.

With Weininger being a Republican and Genrich a Democrat, and both being former lawmakers in Madison, the extreme partisan tone of the race was also an issue.

“With regard to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, they were supportive of me last time around. They continue to be supportive of me and I gladly welcome that support,” Genrich said.

“What I’m concerned about these issues, these local issues, shouldn’t be political issues. They really should be issues about police and fire and garbage pickup,” explained Weininger.

All indicators are that this will be a close race on April 4th. In the February primary, Weininger topped Genrich by just 87 votes.