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EXCLUSIVE: AARON BECKER SAYS GOODBYE TO RIPON

Ripon Common Sense would like to thank Mr. Aaron Becker for his service and dedication to the Ripon community and are supporting him and his family on their journey south. Following is the letter we received today from Mr. Becker:

“My family and I wish to thank Ripon for being a wonderful home.

We’re relocating south for me to work in Illinois, but rest assured, we’ll remain proud Wisconsinites by living just north of the border.

Who wants to be a Bears fan anyway?

Long story short, it means my time on the Ripon City Council is up. I have submitted my resignation as District 3 Alderman, with regrets.

I know, this happened once before, so savor the irony. In 2012, I had to resign a Council seat when I bought a house and moved across town.

This is a repeat scenario, just a farther trip.

Despite the early departure, I’m proud of my efforts on the Ripon City Council. Ripon needs leaders who think for themselves, who speak up, who know baloney and complacency when they see it, so District 3 residents should choose their next representative carefully.

More than once since 2016, I have urged the Council to gather direct citizen input, suggesting we hold democratic referendums on deferred maintenance, proposed fees, Council structure and Council term limits.

I proposed to stop paying Council members a $300 monthly salary and instead compensate them based on public meetings attended, with a cap to ensure savings.

I publicly rebuked the Fond du Lac County Board when members sought to break their own promise and rope Ripon into a never-ending extension of the “Mercury Marine tax.”

I initiated Ripon’s new Public Works Committee, and served on it, to facilitate a better relationship between the department, city leaders and citizens.

I urged the Council to undertake routine discussions and decisions about our challenging budget rather than procrastinating until “fall budget time.”

I was instrumental in reinstating the Downtown Local Historic District, giving Ripon a simple tool to preserve the exterior of historic buildings.

I introduced the new ordinance requiring a primary election when three or more citizens run for a seat, thereby ensuring the winner receives a majority.

I wrote and submitted multiple news releases and letters to the editor to keep citizens better informed on city issues.

I helped defeat (or at least pause) the effort to spend the half-million-dollar Mitchell bequest on an unpopular children’s sports pavilion. Then I asked the Council to recognize the wishes of the surviving Mitchell family members, who endorsed the Cultural / Senior Center. In a warm show of unity and class, the Council agreed.

Most of all, I expected that we keep issues in front of the Council, on the public agenda. It’s easy to avoid difficult topics or allow them to drift off. I insisted that we keep matters “live” until they were voted up, voted down or otherwise settled.

This keeps topics in the public eye, where they belong.

That’s what I’ve done since 2016. If residents support those ideals, then choose your next Council representative carefully.

I’m sorry my service cannot continue, but my family and I are looking forward to the next adventure in Pleasant Prairie, Wis. It’s a bittersweet change – a positive career move, but we’ll certainly miss Ripon and its good-natured people. Lots of great memories.

Thanks … And see you again!

Ald. Aaron Becker”

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