New Onalaska Mayor takes office

Former Onalaska Mayor Joe Chilsen suddenly stepped down from his position Monday because of health reasons.

But the city already has a new mayor.

The Onalaska Common Council appointed alderperson Kim Smith as the new mayor at its meeting Dec. 18.

“Our community government isn’t about one person,” Smith said. “It’s about a whole bunch of people working together.”

Smith is an Onalaska native and has been on the common council since 2004.

“For me this has been the way that I feel I can make a positive difference to the community,” Smith said.

She has a handful of projects on her plate, including roads, the sewer service agreement, and the Great River Residence project.

“I may now continue to push for the things that I believe in,” Smith said. “And that’s keeping a strong, solid foundation, taking care of what we have, maintaining our infrastructure and city services.”

She will be staying busy on a personal level.

“I do have full-time employment that I plan to continue with indefinitely into the future,” Smith said.

But she will remain committed to the city.

“My involvement with the community will not end, whether I’m serving as an elected official or just an active community member,” Smith said.

Smith will serve as mayor in a part-time role.

The people will vote for a new mayor in next year’s spring election.

Smith will serve the rest of Chilsen’s original term, which expires April 21.

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