Area public officials will present panel on local politics Sept. 28

Local Politics: Challenges and Opportunities, a panel discussion with three area public officials, will be presented Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Ripon College. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Kresge Little Theatre, East Hall, on the campus. It is presented by the Center for Politics and the People and will be free and open to the public.

The panel discussion will address issues related to economic development, housing and budgetary difficulties, as well as how current approaches are working. The discussion also will identify similarities and differences among the cities and counties in how issues are approached, who decision-makers feel most responsive to, and to what extent elected, appointed or hired office-holders feel they have discretion in governing.

Panelists will be:

  • Lori Palmeri, mayor of Oshkosh. She served two terms as a member of the Oshkosh Common Council and is in her second term as mayor. She has a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional studies from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and a master’s degree in urban planning from UW-Milwaukee.

    She currently serves as commissioner for the East Central Regional Planning Commission, chair of the Oshkosh Redevelopment Authority, council liaison for Parks Advisory Board and the Bike and Pedestrian Committee. She has served on various boards and commissions in the community and northeast Wisconsin. She is a co-founder of the Middle Village Neighborhood Association and played a leadership role in creating other neighborhood associations since 2011. She has been a resident of Oshkosh since 2008.

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  • Adam Sonntag, city administrator of Ripon. He was city administrator for the City of Hillsboro, Wisconsin, from 2011 through 2021 when he accepted his current position in Ripon. He also has served as a regional director for the Wisconsin City/County Management Association and a member of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Lobby, the Monroe/Vernon/Crawford Growth Fund Board, Hillsboro Library Board and Hillsboro Lion’s Club.

    He majored in history at Ripon College with minors in English and educational studies. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from Minnesota State University–Mankato.

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  • Steven Abel, chair of the Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors. He is a co-owner of Abel Dairy Farms in Eden, Wisconsin, a six-generation family farm. He has been on the county board for more than 10 years. He also has served on the University of Wisconsin-Extension Education, Ag and Recreation committees.

The moderator will be Henrik Schatzinger, professor of political science and co-director of the Center for Politics and the People.

(Photo, clockwise from top left: Lori Palmeri, Adam Sonntag and Steve Abel)


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