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New Richmond School District

Fueled by the politicization of education, school districts around the state of Wisconsin have become cultural battlegrounds with the future of students at stake. With issues ranging from pandemic mitigation to diversity to what’s being taught in the classroom, the pressure on local school boards has never been greater. Interest in school board elections is way up and looking more contentious than ever. 

The New Richmond School District is one of numerous districts across the state that will be hosting a primary election on Tuesday, Feb. 15. 

The primary is necessary because state statute only allows for twice as many candidates as a board has open seats. In New Richmond’s case, the School Board has two seats open in 2022 and a total of five candidates running. The primary is necessary to eliminate one of those candidates leaving a total of four to compete for the two open seats in the spring general election on April 5.

A look at the New Richmond ballot shows the five candidates are:

  • Neal A. Melby, incumbent.

  • Greg Gartner, incumbent.

  • Christopher Parent.

  • Christi Westlund.

  • Jessica Brotzler.

Dr. Neal Melby is an incumbent running for re-election. Melby previously served on the board from July 1984 through April 1990. He was appointed to his current term in September 2006. 

Greg Gartner is also an incumbent running for re-election. He previously served on the board from April 2005 through April 2011. He was appointed to his current term in August 2015. 

Christopher Parent is a first-time candidate for school board.

Christi Westlund is a first-time candidate for school board.

Jessica Brotzleer is a first-time candidate for school board.

Tom Lindfors is a western Wisconsin freelance journalist and former Star-Observer reporter. Contact him at

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