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Police investigating dirty politics in Holmen school board race

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Dirty politics has rocked a Wisconsin race for school board.

The Holmen Police Department is investigating a political ad filled with racist messages. The flyer, first appearing on social media, makes it appear that candidates Josh Neumann and Chad Updike or their supporters are white supremacists.

“Keep Holmen Schools White and Christian,” the political message declares. “Don’t push Negro curriculum on our White Children. Vote Josh Neumann and Chad Updike” for Holmen School Board in the April 5 election.

Sources say the flyer was found on some windshields of cars at a local supermarket.

If the flyer was intended to be a joke, the candidates aren’t laughing. Neither is the School Board.

“Today we are victims of a disgusting and vile fake political ad which was posted on social media platforms, our campaign pages, and circulated throughout the community, Neumann and Updike wrote in a joint statement condemning the “racial hit piece.” “This is a blatant attack trying to discredit both of us in an attempt to gain political advantage.”

They asked their opponents, Rebecca Rieber and Barbara Wuensch to condemn the flyer. They did.

“I am appalled and saddened by a picture related to our school board election that was shared with me today,” Rieber said in a statement. “It is vile and hateful and this type of campaigning has no place in our community. I join Chad and Josh in seeking an investigation into this event.”

“I can only speak for myself on this but I felt the posting of this bigoted and racist picture and or production of the flyer was awful,”  Cheryl Hancock, president of the Holmen School Board, told Empower Wisconsin. “I do not believe that any of the candidates for school board are involved but that it is the work of an outside group.  It does not reflect the values of our school community.”

Neumann and Updike have been vocal opponents of the school districts strict mask mandate and COVID mitigation policies.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin and liberal politicians have attempted to paint as racists school board candidates who are opposed to so-called critical race theory curriculum, which teaches that people of color are perpetual victims of white Americans who are the benefactors of a white supremacist nation.

Last week, state Rep. Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton), who also serves as vice chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, on Twitter ridiculed parents who “want to ‘have a say’ in their child’s education.”

“Our primary goal in running for school board has been to give the entire community a voice on the board by bringing people together,” Neumann and Updike said. “This attack by people who do not want to see us open the board for political reasons only furthers that divide.

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