Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Despite election, candidates will stay friends
No mud slung along the village president campaign trail

by Steve Targo

April 14, 2011

Genoa City — There are the kind of political races where, if the opposing candidates met at the polls on Election Day, it could feel like watching two gunslingers meet at high noon just seconds before a showdown.

But John Wrzeszcz, 68, and Barry Goad, 47, the two who ran for village president April 5 in Genoa City, said they have been friends a long time.

And it appears their friendship will endure Wrzeszcz’s victory over Goad, the incumbent, 257-167.

“We saw each other at the polls,” said Wrzeszcz during an April 6 telephone interview. “We just shook hands and wished each other luck.”

Wrzeszcz confirmed what Goad said during an earlier April 6 telephone interview.

“We’ve been friends since I was a kid,” Goad said. “I wish him the best.”

Wrzeszcz and Goad kept things clean on the road to Election Day.

“Neither of us threw dirt on each other,” Wrzeszcz said.

He spoke enthusiastically about some projects he wants to move on and said he is preparing for the Village Board reorganizational meeting April 19.

“I’m ready to go,” Wrzeszcz said.

As for Goad, a figure in village politics for the last decade, he said the outcome of the election still hadn’t sunk in April 6.

“Maybe I need one more day to mull it over,” Goad said.

But he wasn’t a sore loser.

“After 10 years, I have no problem with someone stepping in,” Goad said.

However, it appears he was reaching the end of his political career regardless of the election results.

“To tell you the truth, this was going to be my last term if I had won,” Goad said. “It will be good to get some new blood in. Even John’s old blood will be good.”

New (old) blood

Although Wrzeszcz will be new to the head of the Village Board table, he has served the public in Genoa City for several years — 35 as public works superintendent, 10 as fire chief and 13 as a part-time police officer. He also continues to work part-time as a police officer in Williams Bay.

“I enjoy people,” he said. “I enjoy talking to people, helping them out.”

Wrzeszcz said he got his first taste of public service working at and later owning a gas station in Illinois. Then, he worked for Montgomery Ward’s in Lake Geneva for two years before he became Genoa City’s public works superintendent.

“Back then, we used to sweep the streets with a broom,” Wrzeszcz said.

He said for his campaign for village president, he talked to several people, printed 500 leaflets and went door-to-door.

“I met a lot of really nice people (who) I never met before,” Wrzeszcz said. “I went to the town homes and the newer subdivisions. I think the actual face-to-face with people really helped out.”

Still, he said he was surprised when he won.

“I really didn’t know what would happen,” Wrzeszcz said. “I’ve never run for public office before.”

Although he wasn’t even sworn into office yet April 6, Wrzeszcz said he wants to begin working on a plan to bring Walgreen’s to Genoa City.

“It’s in the proposed stages right now,” Wrzeszcz said. “But they are interested. They’ve been interested for a while but we can’t get the (state Department of Transportation) to let us put in a stoplight on Highway 12.”

He said the idea is to request approval for a stoplight at Highway 12 and South Road. Walgreen’s may not open a store in Genoa City unless this stoplight is installed.

“We’re going to (State Gov. Scott) Walker to see if he can’t do something to let us put in a stoplight over there,” Wrzeszcz said.