By M.D. Kittle
It turns out liberal politics is even nastier than first suspected in the Village of Holmen.
The northern La Crosse County community of some10,000 people was rocked in February after a racist flyer falsely claiming to be from two conservative school board candidates showed up on Facebook.
Now, School Board President Cheryl Hancock has confirmed that she used a phony Facebook profile to go after candidates and others who opposed her views in support of stringent mask mandates, left-leaning curriculum and other district policies — not to mention politics. Hancock, writing under the pseudonym “Annie Allmaras,” also popped up on the Facebook pages of key La Crosse County Republicans and supporters of conservative school board candidates Josh Neumann and Chad Updike. She told the La Crosse Tribune that her phantom Facebook account was an “alter ego.”
It was an invasive one at that.
Neumann, who lost in the election for school board earlier this month, wrote on his campaign Facebook page that he had 87 messages from Hancock’s fake account. He said he asked her to stop engaging with him on social media.
“She doubled down on the deception over and over and made deceiving statements to the very public she’s sworn to represent. She felt invincible and above the rules,” Neumann wrote.
Apparently Hancock is above the rules.
The School board re-elected her president (4-2) earlier this week, even after her conduct was made public, according to WIZM in La Crosse.
Police reportedly received copies of the damning evidence, but Holmen’s police chief has not returned Empower Wisconsin’s request for comment.
Hancock issued a statement saying she “can do better and be better.”
She insisted she just wanted to use the fake account to “correct misinformation.” Certainly correct information she didn’t like.
Hancock was not up for re-election, but her teachers union-backed allies were. Candidates Rebecca Rieber and Barbara Wuensch defeated Neumann and Updike, local businessmen who got into the school board race after feeling fed up with the district’s overreaching mask mandates.
“Although we’re all entitled to our thoughts and opinions, I know that I can do better,” Hancock said, asserting that her opinions from her phony Facebook account were her own, and don’t reflect the opinions of the school board, district, staff or students.
But they also don’t reflect Hancock. They represent “Annie Allmaras,” a fictitious character created under false pretenses. And, to date, there are no consequences for a school board leader who lives a lie on Facebook.
“That is about the weakest apology I think I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Bill Feehan, chairman of the Republican Party of La Crosse County who drove the charge to elect local conservatives. “It strikes me that the Holmen School Board knew about this and still elected her president of the school board.”
Coincidentally, Facebook reduced the reach of the local Republican Party’s page and restricted it from advertising days before the 2020 presidential election but continued to allow Avatar “Annie” to roll on.
It all raises some serious questions.
Would the Holmen school board look different today had the voters known before election day what they learned this week? What else was Hancock — and her left-leaning allies — involved in?
As Empower Wisconsin reported in late February, the Holmen Police Department was investigating a political ad filled with racist messages. The flyer, first appearing on social media, made it appear that Neumann and Updike or their supporters are white supremacists.
“Keep Holmen Schools White and Christian,” the political message declared. “Don’t push Negro curriculum on our White Children. Vote Josh Neumann and Chad Updike” for Holmen School Board in the April 5 election.
“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.”
Their opponents condemned the nasty politics, too. So did Hancock.
“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,” she told Empower Wisconsin at the time. “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.”
But Hancock might tell you that her stunt on Facebook also doesn’t reflect the values of the school community.
Or do they? Some values seem to change.