Incumbent Mike Foster will face challenger Catherine Bishop for the at large seat on the Lake Mills City Council. Foster has served on the council for seven years.
Foster moved to Lake Mills to be closer to family after retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps.
“It was the first time in over 21 years I was able to visit family whenever I wanted. This city accepted me and fostered the sense of pride I have in calling Lake Mills my family home,” Foster said. “It has been a pleasure serving the citizens of the city of Lake Mills. I would like the opportunity to continue to serve you as your city council representative.”
Foster graduated MAR-MAC High School in McGregor, Iowa in 1984 and joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduation. While in the Marine Corps he used the Servicemen Opportunity College program to get an associate degree from Central Texas College in computer programming and a bachelor’s degree from UMGC in Cybersecurity.
“I hold many other certifications such as the Microsoft MCP, MCSE, MCT and the Cisco CCNA, CCIE and the ISC2 certifications of CISSP and CISM. I am also a certified Penetration tester and a TNCA auditor for vulnerability management.”
Foster is currently employed by the Wisconsin Department of Revenue as the Chief Information Security Officer and is responsible for the protection of the network and the protection of all state and federal tax information. His position is the senior cybersecurity role for the agency and includes technical processes that outline work routines for the employees to ensure your information is protected.
He has been married to his wife Carol for 34 years. The couple has traveled the globe together as his role in the Marine Corps progressed from a satellite network operator to the senior network management officer for the Marine Corps.
“We met as young Marines and instantly fell for each other. We have two kids, Erin our daughter who lives in Lake Mills and works for Great Wolf Resorts and our Son Zachary who lives in Watertown and works for Walmart. Both of our kids graduated from Lake Mills High School and hold multiple associate degrees each from Madison Area Technical College.”
The Leader provided candidates with the following questions:
What do you hope to bring to city government?
“I have worked hard trying to make sure we keep spending in line and if we needed to go outside the line that we scrutinized the spending before we accepted it. I want to keep my nose to the grindstone and continue to make sure you have the services you need in order to provide a loving and safe home for your family and your business. Along those lines, I will continue to be business friendly while tempering expectations. I will not give away the city to business, but I will ensure each existing and potential business will get the same fair treatment by the city while following our ordinances.
In my time on the city council, we have been able to fully rebuild roads and infrastructure to ensure another century of use, mitigate blight and potential ground hazard abatement. The Industrial park is filling up, the Dam was replaced, and the old shoe store was saved. We were able to reopen the spillway in front of the American Legion as a showcase location for our city and were able to provide solid services in the form of electricity, water, sewer, fire and police protection and first-rate emergency services.
Why are you interested in running?
I have worked tirelessly to make sure our citizens are informed and have their questions answered to the best of our ability and I want to continue that project. I have used our media in quarterly articles to the citizens of Lake Mills and I have worked behind the scenes to provide guidance and insight as required to all of the boards, commissions and committees. I have spent many years on the Plan Commission, the Economic Development Committee, the Redevelopment Authority and the Police and Fire Commission. I have a well-rounded knowledge of our city and what makes it run. I am in the process of standing up a poll and survey product that can be used by the city council and city staff to add transparency to processes by asking questions that would normally be decided by the city council with as much personal input as we could gather.
What do you see as the biggest issue in Lake Mills for city government?
The biggest challenge is misinformation. This occurs on a daily basis. We have attempted to be as transparent as possible on all things that are occurring in the city but that has not always gone so well. Why is that? Well, in our effort to make sure we give the citizens information, we have not always been able to explain to them in plain language that is understood by everyone. This has led to misunderstandings and has caused people to act on issues that are not really occurring in the city. Such as the potential rebuild of the Sentry lot. During the creation of the Tax increment District (TID) we are required to outline potential uses for the creation of the district. As soon as that was shown, the word spread like wildfire that we were building a 5-story housing goliath that will hover over downtown. The truth of the matter, that drawing was just to show the potential uses of the building lot. Before anything would be built it would take much more planning, preparation and citizen participation at the Plan Commission and other boards.
I am available for questions or comments or as a sounding board for ideas. I have made it a point to listen to hear and not just to provide an answer. Sometimes listening is much more important than just giving an answer. Also, our city is a sought-after commodity and I appreciate being a part of that process. While we do see people leaving for new opportunities, our houses and apartments are filling up faster than people can put them up for sale. That says a lot about our city and the citizens that reside here.
How do you feel about historic preservation as it relates to downtown redevelopment?
I believe we should keep our current character of downtown by preserving the current look and feel. Our downtown look is one of the main reasons we have so many families moving into our city according to our information. Any downtown redevelopment needs to be reviewed thoroughly to ensure it fits our collective view for downtown. We have strict rules outline about what can be built and currently I am and have been the only volunteer for the city Redevelopment Authority. This is a good opportunity for people to get involved.”