La Crosse County Republican chairman argues too many Democrats appointed to county redistricting committee
LA CROSSE COUNTY, Wis. (WKBT) — The La Crosse County Board voted Thursday to approve members of a redistricting committee, but county Republican Chairman Bill Feehan insists the committee is skewed toward Democrats.
The 13 committee members will help draw the county’s new voting boundaries.
“I just think it shows they are not really interested in a non-partisan approach,” said Bill Feehan, who contends that the committee is loaded with Democrats. “I think there ought to be some Republicans nominated to that committee.”
The seven county board members and six citizens volunteered and were appointed by County Board Chair Monica Kruse in advance of the board vote to approve the slate.
“Most of the people I just thought had a good, solid background in government, ” Kruse said. She went onto say “They definitely were not chosen base on their party affiliation.”
The citizen nominees include: Democratic State Rep. Steve Doyle, who also is a county supervisor; former county board chair Tara Johnson, who ran as a Democrat for the state Senate in 2008, and Loren Kannenberg, who has worked for Democratic Congressman Ron Kind.
At least one Republican is on the committee, County Supervisor Kevin Hoyer.
“That’s ridiculous,” Feehan said. “The only reason Kevin Hoyer is being added to this list now is because he called Monica Kruse on Friday and complained that all the people on the committee were Democrats.”
Kruse countered, “When Kevin complained, I said hey, you didn’t volunteer. But if you want to be on it, yeah, I will appoint you. And so, I did.”
Feehan said he also volunteered for the committee and Kruse turned him down.
When asked why, Kruse emailed this to New 8 Now: “Yes, Mr. Feehan did volunteer to be on the committee, after the fact. When he saw the Board agenda with the proposed appointments, he called to complain that there were no card-carrying Republicans. I tried to make it clear that the CB is a non-partisan body, and that appointments are never made with party labels in mind. He asked to be put on the committee, but it was clear that he was not coming as an open-minded community member, but rather as someone with an agenda and an axe to grind. Since the committee is already quite large, with great representation of different constituencies, I felt it might be counter-productive to encourage the Democrat/Republican narrative. I decided to keep the committee as is.”
Also approved to serve on the committee, in addition to Kruse, were County Supervisors Ralph Geary, Margaret Larson, Pam Viner and Randy Erickson, as well as Kim Smith, Robin Schmidt, Rusty Cunningham and Juan Jimenez.
The maps won’t be drawn anytime soon. La Crosse County officials are preparing for a possible extension in redistricting local electoral maps because census data was delayed by the pandemic.
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