February 3, 2009

Meet Tom Friedel

Alderman Tom Friedel is expected to be named interim mayor tonight. Here's some background on Friedel:

* 59 years old. Lives at 1904 Dwight St. He's worked at Twin Disc for 37 years. He's married to his wife, Linda. They have two children.

* Third-generation Racine resident who grew up up on the city's near north side.

* Graduated from St. Catherine's High School in 1968.

* Served with the Army in Vietnam for 23 months.

* Elected to the School Board in 1986 and served three-consecutive terms. Left the board in 1995.

* Elected to the City Council in 2000, beating Charmaine Harrison 537 to 330 in the 10th District race in 2000. He raised less than $1,000 in the election. He replaced now State Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, who left the council in 2000 after serving 12 years as alderman.

* Said in 2000 his main issue was taxes. He wanted to lower taxes by focusing on development. He also wanted to reduce crime and develop parks.

* Backed giving seniors their own center in 2000. (Local seniors, whho may lose their current home at the former Lakeview Community Center, are still looking for a permanent location.)

* Active in the city's redistricting debate in 2000. He tentatively backed creating a 16-member City Council. The council settled on a 15-member board, and it was Friedel's plan that avoided a court fight with the county.

* Defeated Keith Fair in 2002 to remain on the council. Has not had a serious challenge for re-election since.

* Backed a ban on train whistles in the city.

* Mayor Gary Becker appointed him chairman of the Finance Committee in 2003 - a move that six years later results in Friedel becoming interim mayor.

* Took on the president of the Racine Police Association in a 2005 commentary. He argued the president, William Chesen, intentionally confused the public on local budget issues.

* Served on a committee to hire Racine's first city administrator.

* Created the proposal to make Monument Square free for people to use.

* He has no record in CCAP.

* He's paid his property taxes every year.

* Current committees include: chairman, Finance and Personnel Committee; chairman, Economic Development Committee; commissioner, Water & Wastewater Commissions; president, Library Board of Trustees

* Past committees include: President of the City Council; Public Works; Safety and Licensing; Board of Health; Re-districting Committee.

* Volunteer for United Way of Racine County; Member of Root-Pike Watershed Initiative; Sustaining member of Riverbend Nature Center.


  1. He's paid his property taxes every year? So, if a person loses their jobs and falls into a difficult financial situation, would this be viewed as a character flaw?

  2. Will he look into how Ex Mayor Becker was able to travel all over on City "business" and if Becker has repaid any money to Racine he might owe? Who went with him to France and Mexico who paid for it? I would love to know who if anyone from the J-T or RCEDC may have went and who paid for that?

    Or being a good old boy will this be swept away?