As the City of Tomah grows, the community shares a common concern regarding the drive, ambition, and dedication of our elected city officials to effectively and successfully fulfill their duties to continue to move Tomah forward. It is for this primary reason as to why I, Brett Larkin, am running for mayor of Tomah.
Being among the fourth generation of Larkins to grow up and live in Tomah, it is clear that my roots and heritage run deep in the community. However, with my deep family roots, also comes a history of selfless service. My dad and grandpa whom are the owners of Larkin’s GMC and proud members of the Tomah Fire Department, have spent many restless nights putting their community first. Whether it be getting up in the middle of the night to tow a car out of the ditch or extinguishing the flames of a house fire, my family has always been there for their community in times of need. I would like to continue this Larkin family value by serving my community as mayor. My love for the City of Tomah as well as my inclination to selfless service will serve as crucial characteristics as I campaign for the mayor’s office.
Tomah’s incumbent mayor, Mike Murray, whom I share a great personal relationship with and have grown to admire, has contemplated whether or not to run for a second term. He even stated that he may be a “one and done” mayor. With the constant negativity that comes with the position, not to mention starting a new business, it is completely understandable as to why Mayor Murray would desire to be a “one and done” mayor. However, when I was contemplating a run for mayor myself, I asked Mayor Murray if he had made a final decision on whether he was going to run for reelection or not. After he had told me that he ultimately decided to run for a second term, I was genuinely surprised.
While nurturing a great personal relationship and having a high degree of admiration for Mayor Murray, I told him that I would not run against him. However, after he encouraged me to put my name on the ballot, while kindly acknowledging my knowledge and drive for the position, I ultimately decided to announce a run for the mayor’s office myself.
Although it is unarguable that Mayor Murray bears a sincere dedication to the City of Tomah as proven with his initiatives, his dedication to the office of mayor is in question however. Respectively, his heart does not appear to be in the position the second time around.
As I can attest that there is almost nothing Mayor Murray wouldn’t do for the city, I, as well as many others in the community, also believe that he can help to prosper and grow the city much more effectively by shifting most of his focus on his new restaurant. Dedicating his time to improvements and innovations to Murray’s on Main is imperative to strengthen and grow our local economy. However, that growth is not practical when attempting to balance a new business with mayoral duties.
Concerns will inevitably come to light of myself due to the fact that I am an 18 year old and currently attending high school. However, unlike most individuals my age, I possess a rare inclination and dedication to public policy and public service. Demonstrated through my testimony to the Tomah School Board at the beginning of the year, I opposed a push to restrict constitutionally protected rights of Tomah High School students to freely express themselves on school campus. Although I was unsuccessful in persuading the Tomah School Board to uphold and defend the First Amendment on school campus, I will respectively and in good will work with our local schools to ensure that the constitutional rights of every student is protected on school grounds if I am elected mayor.
Ultimately, the initiative I took to preserve the rights of students at Tomah High School lead to me interning for the Wisconsin State Legislature over the summer months of 2019, where I was the youngest individual to work for a state legislative office. Since then, I have continued my political endeavors by attending events with Assemblywoman Nancy Vandermeer, as well as researching and writing articles on proposed public policy that would affect our local and national community.
As my endeavors in public service have prepared me for the office of mayor, it has also allowed me to build strong relationships with local leaders such as Mayor Murray, Chief Adler, Sheriff Revels, and many others. I have also established strong connections to several state representatives such as Representative Jim Steineke (5th Assembly District/Assembly Majority Leader), Representative Nancy VanderMeer (70th Assembly District), and State Senator Patrick Testin (24th Senate District).
The relationships I have established and the work I have accomplished through my political endeavors will put me in a unique position. If I am fortunate enough to be elected by the people of Tomah, I will not only act as an executive and an ambassador to the city, but also as an advocate to the Wisconsin State Legislature on behalf of the City of Tomah. If elected mayor, I will travel to Madison on a biweekly or monthly basis to work with the state legislature in efforts to allocate necessary funding and resources to our community.
Although the experiences that I have outlined provide me with the intellectual qualifications for the mayor’s office, they have also provided me with what I believe to be my most important qualification; the ability to listen. As my peers, educators, local leaders, and state representatives can all attest, I am indeed firm in my beliefs, but abundantly bipartisan. I do not believe a society can prosper, or at least, adequately function when its leaders are not willing to listen to their opposition and compromise on the issues. If elected mayor, I will build upon my policies by being active in the community and listening to all of the people I serve.
As far as my policies go, I have outlined a brief three pillared initiative. My first initiative is to prosper and grow the local economy by working hand in hand with our local businesses and chamber of commerce, as well as maintaining a low tax rate. Second, I will work with our local schools, the City Attorney’s Office, the Tomah Police Department, and continue to work with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office in efforts to effectively combat youth vaping as it will not only restore the health and wellbeing of our local youth, but will also lower court costs short term and medical costs long term. Finally, my last initiative is to reconcile the relationship between the mayor's office and our local first responders. There is a common sentiment shared throughout the Tomah Fire Department and Tomah Area Ambulance of feeling forgotten by the current administration. I believe no first responder should ever feel forgotten by the city they serve. My administration will always stand with our local law enforcement, firefighters, and E.M.S. However, with these three initiatives, after knocking on doors and talking to community members, I am proposing yet another initiative; authorizing an ATV and UTV route in the city that connects the north and south end of town as requested in previous years.
All in all, The City of Tomah is in dire need of a mayor with passion, knowledge, resources, and drive. Tomah also needs a mayor who will successfully deliver on their policies and fulfil their duties and obligations to the people they serve. It is crucial that the mayor of Tomah puts the interest of the community before themselves and promote policies on behalf of the will of the people rather than on their own sentiment. I, Brett Larkin, firmly believe I possess these imperative characteristics for the position of mayor, and I hope I can count on your support as I campaign for the mayor’s office. With your help and support, we can continue to move Tomah forward!