RACINE – Mayor John Dickert unexpectedly announced his imminent resignation and the local state legislator announced he would run to take his spot, in a busy day at Racine City Hall. Dickert has been Racine’s Mayor since 2009, and currently serves on the board of directors of three water advocacy groups. One or those groups has hired Dickert as executive director.
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a coalition of Mayors and local elected officials committed to protecting the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence river.
“This is an issue that is bigger than all of us,” Dickert said of the national and international water crisis in the Racine Journal-Times. “If I’m really going to do a great job of protecting Racine and water and my kids and their future, I need to step up.”
Dickert indicated his last day would still be a few months off, and that a special election would be called after that. In the interim between Dickert’s summer departure and the special election, the City Council President will serve as acting mayor. The City Council President will be elected by fellow council members in April, following an election this spring in which multiple seats are being contested.
As the news broke of Dickert’s resignation, State Rep. Cory Mason (D) stepped to a hastily arranged lectern in City Hall and announced he’d be running to replace the Mayor.
“I see myself picking up the torch where this administration has taken the city,” said Mason, according to Fox 6 News in Milwaukee. “We have accomplished a great deal, but there are challenges that remain.”
Current City Council President Dennis Wiser also said he was running. He may have the advantage of incumbency if he is re-elected President by his colleagues after the April 4 election. Pastor Melvin Hargrove told the Journal-Times later that he was running as well, and it said other candidates may join the fray, including other aldermen and the Racine Police Chief.