Catherine Bishop, a wife, mother, lawyer and Army veteran, is running against incumbent Mike Foster for the Lake Mills City Council’s at large position. The election will be April 6.
Bishop served for five years on active duty as an Army Officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG Corps). She was first assigned to Germany where she served as the sole military prosecutor for an American-military community of over 25,000 people, prosecuting felony cases in Army courts-martial for offenses committed in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
She was most recently assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where she advised Special Forces commanders and staff at a two-star division headquarters on administrative and fiscal law and national security law issues. Catherine reviewed millions of dollars of procurement and expenditure requests by staff and subordinate commands for equipment and services contracts to ensure compliance with federal acquisition regulations and Congressional appropriations.
Bishop was appointed as a military magistrate with the authority to grant search and seizure authorizations as well as to conduct pre-trial detention hearings; she also served as a neutral and detached hearing officer for preliminary proceedings in felony criminal cases, making written findings and case disposition recommendations to commanders.
Before going on active duty, she worked for a criminal defense firm. Bishop obtained her law degree from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida.
She left active-duty service at the end of 2019 to join her husband who was already living in Lake Mills. Catherine now works for a small investment management firm focusing on commercial real estate investments.
The Leader provided candidates with the following questions:
What do you hope to bring to city government?
“I hope to bring a fresh perspective to city government. My experience serving as an Army Judge Advocate (a licensed military attorney, also known as a JAG), provided me with a diverse skillset which I can apply to issues facing the City Council. With each job in the JAG Corps, whether prosecuting felony cases, sitting as a magistrate and a neutral and detached hearing officer, or advising commanders regarding millions of dollars’ worth of expenditures, I became comfortable diving into new topics and learning them quickly. I can evaluate an issue, taking all sides into consideration, and ultimately make a fair decision. While on the City Council, those decisions will be based on what is best for the City of Lake Mills, for the benefit of our residents, businesses, and visitors for years to come.
Why are you interested in running?
As we have seen this year, perhaps more so than any other time, local government decisions have a direct and immediate impact on citizens’ welfare. I am running for City Council, At Large because this is the best use of my skills to serve our community. While serving in the military, knowing I was going to move every couple of years, I missed out on opportunities to help the community where I lived in a more meaningful way. I am excited for this opportunity now and to serve my community where I can also raise my son.
What do you see as the biggest issue in Lake Mills for city government?
As I was talking to residents in preparing to run for office, the biggest concern I hear, the one that seems to encompass all others, is how can Lake Mills handle the exponential growth we are facing. I view the role of the City Council as one of managing that growth in a responsible manner. Since Lake Mills is perfectly situated between Madison and Milwaukee, growth is inevitable. Lake Mills needs to be prepared by ensuring infrastructure is in place and municipal services can handle the larger population and natural increase in calls for service. Growing responsibly also means maintaining the historic look and feel of the city. Lake Mills’ atmosphere is what drew me and my husband to the city nearly two years ago and it is what draws visitors and residents alike. Protecting this close-knit vibrant community also entails maintaining our amenities and natural resources, to ensure they are available for everyone’s use and enjoyment. As a young family, I am eager to share the parks, Bartel’s Beach, and trails with my son, creating new and treasured memories. And these are the types of opportunities I want for my neighbors as well.
How do you feel about historic preservation as it relates to downtown redevelopment?
The National Park Service says historic preservation is a conversation about our past with our future. In a sea of look-alike suburban cities that surround Madison, Lake Mills’ unique historic look is worth preserving for us now and for generations to come. There are various routes to achieve this and input from the city residents and property owners will be required in order to strike a balance between preservation and redevelopment to do what is best for Lake Mills.”