By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – Three candidates will face off in the Feb. 20 primary election to determine the two candidates who will compete this spring to replace longtime Marshfield Mayor Chris Meyer.
Current council members, Rebecca Spiros and Tom Witzel, and political newcomer, Bob McManus, seek a spot on the April 3 General Election ballot.
Through Marshfield Community Television (MCTV), in collaboration with WDLB AM 1450 and Focus on Marshfield, this publication is providing the community with joint coverage on the upcoming election.
Following is an introduction from each mayoral candidate, with additional question and answer video coverage:
I was born in Los Angeles, CA, and lived in Redondo Beach, CA, until six years ago, when we moved here to Marshfield.
I am currently employed at Forward Financial Bank as a mortgage lender. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Forward Financial team. It is an incredible place to work. I really enjoy my role as a Mortgage Lender; helping people find ways to finance their home is a very fulfilling occupation.
I have always been a “community” person. Being involved in my community and with my family has been a passion of mine, including involvement with my kid’s school in my former role as a PTA president, football coach, soccer coach, and other less formal roles.
When my family and I moved here six years ago, I really entrenched myself in the community. In my time here I thought that the current mayor, Chris Meyer, has done a very good job, and when I heard he was stepping down, I immediately knew it was time to get involved in a leadership role in the city. I believe that we need to progress as a city, and there are some serious issues that are ahead. I also believe with my background and experience, we can tackle those issues head on.
I believe that the primary role of the mayor is to listen to “The Boss,” and The Boss is the citizens of Marshfield. As I have been out dealing with people, I’ve noticed they are speaking very loudly on what they want.
Of course, there is the primary role of the city which is public safety and basic services – these can be broken down into four categories: 1. Police and fire & rescue services – having been a former paramedic for six years, these are near and dear to my heart. 2. Infrastructure management. 3. Electric and water services. 4. Roads – we need to find solutions to our roads.
Along with these basics, we also need to work on economic development that will be good for our city, and I will say after speaking with so many of the business owners in the downtown area, we will start there.
I like to spend my free time with family and friends. My wife, Kara McManus, is a native of Marshfield. She attended both Our Lady of Peace and Marshfield Senior High. She moved out to California where we met, and we have lived there for years. There was always a pull at her heart string to “come home.” Six years ago, we did finally make that decision to move back home. It is 100 percent centered around coming home to be close to her parents, Don and Jane Anderson.
Growing up in a big city is very interesting. One of the best things about moving here to Marshfield is the family values that are here in Marshfield. It is a great city. The challenge is to keep the great values that we have and yet grow our city.
Our city’s challenge is our tax base. Many people that I have talked to here in the city complain about property taxes being too high, and this is a common theme in cities around the country. What we know for sure is that the cost to run a city is not going down. Expenses for basic services continue to rise. That leaves us with only two options.
If we keep our tax base the same and do not expand, then taxes will go up. However, if we can expand our tax base with concentrated responsible economic development and increase our tax base that will ease the property tax burden. So, the answer is very clear on what we need to do, and I believe that I can help bridge that gap.
Visit for a community media Q & A interview with McManus, click here.
I am originally from Fremont, OH, a town just about the same size as Marshfield. I have lived in Marshfield for about 15 years and truly consider this my home.
I have been a nurse for 29 years, working in many areas of nursing, including critical care. Previously, I worked as a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital and have been with the Marshfield Clinic for seven and one half years.
I work part-time as a patient educator and disease management nurse for the Heart Failure Improvement Center. I enjoy my position very much and the clinic is a highly respected health care system, so I’m very happy I am a part of that. Since 2013, I have also served on the Marshfield Common Council; the Finance, Budget, and Personnel Committee; and the Judiciary & Licensing Committee. I am also a UW-Marshfield/Wood County Commissioner and serve on the Board of the Hannah Center.
I decided to run for this office because I really enjoy public service. I have become immersed in this city and the challenges involved in trying to make decisions that are best for the population as a whole. I want to be a part of a city that really values all of its residents, from the most vulnerable to the very strongest.
I believe I am the best choice for this position because I have, from my time on the common council, a deep understanding of the inner workings of Marshfield. I know our strengths, but I also know the challenges we face, with things such as infrastructure and economic growth, and I believe there are opportunities to make things better.
I have a good working relationship with the current council and city leaders. I value what I have learned under our current leadership and look forward to applying what I have learned from them.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, John. We have five adult children and three lovely grandchildren who I just adore. We enjoy sporting events, especially attending the Green Bay Packers football games.
I’d really like the (community) to know that I am truly dedicated to them. I want to see Marshfield continue to be a safe place to raise their families. I believe in making fiscally sound decisions, and I’d like to see Marshfield be a place of opportunity and a place where people can start or expand their businesses.
I look forward to the challenges ahead and the opportunity to not only listen, but to really hear the ideas and suggestions of the people of (this) great community.
For a community media interview with Spiros, click here.
I was born in Milwaukee, but I have had a Marshfield address since before turning a year old. I am truly a product of this community and the Marshfield school system.
After teaching school for 15 years, I am now a technology trainer at Marshfield Clinic Health System. In that position I train users from providers to support staff, from newly hired to highly experienced.
After serving on the Common Council for more than a year, I was encouraged to run for mayor. I considered the idea, before deciding it was a great opportunity for me to serve the community in a new and larger capacity.
I have been part of this community for more than 45 years. I am fully vested in the community, having chosen to raise my family here and fully intending to retire here.
I have a track record of service to the community, having served on the Marshfield Police Auxiliary for 20 years and now serving on the Common Council. I bring a unique perspective, having history here. Being on the Council, I am knowledgeable about the issues the city is facing, but I am new enough to provide a fresh perspective to those issues. Additionally, my track record on the Common Council shows my willingness to listen to the constituents and fight for their concerns, regardless of my own opinions.
I enjoy spending time with my wife of 20 plus years, as well as our two school-aged children. We like to travel around the state, visiting historic sites.
Additionally, I play drums and am given the opportunity to play once or twice a month at church.
I would be very honored to be given the opportunity to serve this great city in the role of mayor.
For a community media interview with Witzel, click here.