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Meet the four candidates for Green Bay mayor

By Kris Leonhardt


GREEN BAY – On Feb. 21, city of Green Bay voters will narrow a field of four mayoral candidates down to two during its primary election.

We reached out to the four candidates to learn more about them and why they are running

Following are their responses:

Paul Boucher

Paul Boucher

Please provide a little information about yourself:

I have dedicated my life to the study of sociology.

I graduated from Green Bay East High School in 1984. 

I earned my bachelor of science in sociology in 1988. 

I have a large extended family in Wisconsin.

Why are you running:

I am running for the mayoral position because I have not seen enough progress in Green Bay.

I want to bring Green Bay into the 21st Century socially, economically and culturally.

We need more opportunities. There are so many things that we are unable to do because of the lack of growth in the city.

People have been talking about passenger train service for Green Bay. We need to make big changes to attract and retain rail service.

Tell us what you consider the top three issues for the city and how you will address them:

1. Opening a Beach on the Bay, will draw in tourism. Creating more tourist attractions will stimulate the city’s economy. I would like to create 15,000 new jobs and build 5,000 new housing units.

2. If we build an International College in the downtown area; this will promote diversity, elevate the intellect of the city and bring foot traffic i.e. business to the downtown. Also build an indoor park and an indoor parking ramp in the downtown.

3. Better infrastructure: We need to build roads that last. We need to find a solution to the problems of flooding that many people are naively unaware of. Draining the bay faster will save money on insurance premiums, water damage and cleanup costs. We need to make the city more attractive. No more boring gray fences. We need to create an Art Deco Neighborhood where architecture can be more diverse. Current zoning regulations limit creativity.

Jane Juza

Jane Juza

Please provide a little information about yourself:

I own a laundromat, Soap & Suds, in Green Bay. I am a landlord in Green Bay and in Suamico.

I work in Home Health Care as a CNA.

I work 24-hour shifts. We are only paid for 16 hours of the 24-hour shift.

We are up during the night. I am a real estate agent/salesperson.

I am currently working in all four areas. I am a workaholic.

I graduated from UW-Green Bay with a bachelor of science in four majors: human biology, chemistry, human development and math.

I was born and raised in Green Bay. I live alone. I do not have any pets or flowers in the house.

I work too much. I work as a CNA in home health care. I work a lot of overnights.

Why are you running:

I care about my community. I want to be a voice for the city of Green Bay residents.

I feel I have what it takes to work with the people.

I have been standing up for people who cannot stand up for themselves all my life.

With my well-rounded background I will bring new ideas to the table.

I have worked in many different areas.  I have worked with the people for many years.

I am the first female to run for mayor of Green Bay.

Tell us what you consider the top three issues for the city and how you will address them:


I would like to try to get a point system started. I would have to get local businesses to help with the point system. The homeless would earn points and they can lose points with the system. They would lose points if they were in my laundromat drinking alcohol, smoking, and doing drugs. There is no drinking and smoking in my laundromat. Yet the homeless keep doing it. The homeless come in to vandalize my laundromat. They have no respect.

The homeless would have to be registered on a website with a photo and their name. That way business owners can look on the website for their picture(s) if they do not know the person’s name. If the homeless earn positive points, we can put in the positive points. For example, applying for a job or going to work will earn positive points. If they earn minus points, we can put in the minus points. For example, not going to work, stealing and vandalizing will earn minus points.

Earning points would earn a reward or rewards. Losing points would lose a reward or rewards. We have to get other businesses on board. We cannot assign rewards until we know how many points they can get for each reward. We do not want to make the reward and the earned points too easy. It needs to be work.

For example, when they leave St. Johns in the morning they are supposed to be going to work or going to apply for a job. If they do this, they earn positive points. A lot of them are not doing that. A lot of them wake up and they cannot wait until the liquor store opens by my laundromat.

Affordable Housing

We have enough housing. What we do not have is enough affordable housing.

The city is not helping the situation.

Let me tell you about my situation. I have a laundromat on Webster Avenue.

I qualify for the city grant program. They will pay for updates on Webster Avenue and updates on Stuart Street.

The city will not pay for updates facing the parking lot or the inside wall.

The updates have to be updates that I cannot afford. I am a small business owner.

My full-time job is paying to keep the laundromat open. In other words the city grant program will cover 25% and I have to pay 75%.

I have to get a building permit to make the updates for the city grant program.

I have to type up a plan to purchase updates I cannot afford. Yes, I have to put in updates that I cannot afford.

The city of Green Bay will only pay 25%.

I did not even bother filling out the grant application and the forms.

Too much work and too much cost for only 25% compensation from the city of Green Bay.

I have to have licensed contractors do the work. More expense.

My handyman can do the work for a lot less.

After all that I am supposed to give away free laundry services to make housing more affordable.

We have these young people flipping houses.

They are improving all these neighborhoods. They are doing it with no financial help from the city of Green Bay.

Not even a thank you.

What does the city of Green Bay do for them?  Nothing.

The city of Green Bay makes them get a building permit and they make them spend, spend and spend more fixing up these houses.

Building permits. I feel building permits are fines.

The city of Green Bay fines these young people for improving the value of the neighborhoods in Green Bay.

I feel that is just wrong.

The city of Green Bay needs to start working with these young people, the house flippers and the builders by removing the cost of the building permit.

Building permits should be required but they should be free.

New Adoption Program

I am coming to the table with multiple new ideas.

First is my new adoption program.

I am hoping to take care of problems with foster care, real estate transactions, homeless, neighbors and the medical field.

There are also problems with advanced education that need to be taken care of. My list continues.

We will take care of one problem at a time.

I believe before we can begin to fix anything we need to start where it all begins, with the birth of a newborn.

For years adoption has been going about it all wrong. I can take you to the party.

Eric Genrich

Eric Genrich

Please provide a little information about yourself:

I was born and raised in Green Bay.

After graduating from high school I received a bachelor of arts from UW-Madison and attained a graduate degree from UW-Milwaukee.

Since being elected mayor I’ve pursued a number of professional development opportunities, including attending the Mayor’s Institute for City Design in the summer of 2019 and the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative in the fall of 2021.

Prior to becoming mayor, I served three terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 90th Assembly District which comprises the majority of the city of Green Bay.

Before my election to the state Assembly, I worked in the state and federal governments, and later for the Brown County Library.

I have been actively involved in a number of community organizations, including Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Neighborworks Green Bay, on whose board I served for six years.

My wife, Emily, is a public school teacher.

She and I live on the east side of Green Bay with our two children, Henry and Amelia.

Why are you running:

I’m running for a second term because I believe we have more to accomplish to keep moving our community forward. Green Bay is an incredible community where we take care of one another and invest in a future that works for everyone.

I’ve done my best to model those instincts during my tenure, putting community progress above petty politics.

Over the last four years, I’ve worked with our common council to make significant policy progress on the priorities of public safety, infrastructure, and community development.

We have added seven police officers and additional firefighters as we’ve expanded fire and EMS service to the village of Bellevue, recognizing efficiencies and bringing down response times for both communities.

We have invested over $20 million to repair or reconstruct over 22 miles of roads.

We’ve fixed 11 bridges and installed new stormwater infrastructure to fight flooding.

With the support of our Common Council, we have invested in small businesses, creating award winning programs that focus on previously overlooked entrepreneurs and small businesses to help lead an economic bounceback from the pandemic.

This is in addition to our constant efforts to develop and redevelop our city with job-creating and tax-generating expansions like Carnivore Meat Company on the far east side and the construction of the Legacy Hotel in the Legends District near Lambeau Field.

Downtown revitalization continues to be a priority, exemplified by efforts at the Shipyard, Paper Transport’s expansion into the Railyard,

On Broadway’s public market plans, and housing developments through the downtown and beyond.

We have also prioritized the improvement of public spaces like Bay Beach and Triangle Hill at Baird Creek while also creating the state’s first municipality-sponsored Conservation Corps, which is focused on protecting and improving our incredible system of parks and natural areas.

I am running for re-election to build on these accomplishments as part of a shared project to build a Green Bay that works for us all.

Tell us what you consider the top three issues for the city and how you will address them:


Despite all the work that’s been done to replace and repair our aging infrastructure, we know we have more to do.

Like every municipality in the state, we are overly reliant on property tax revenue and under-supported by our state government.

Our county generates approximately $30 million per year in a half-cent sales tax but does not share that revenue with municipalities.

As a result, we are bearing a heavy burden in order to take care of our needs.

Looking forward, however, I’m optimistic that we will see reform in the way our state government supports local municipalities.

I’ve been insistent regarding the need for funding reform since taking on this role, and I’ll continue to advocate for bipartisan solutions at the state level that invest in local communities to meet the challenges we face.

In addition I will seek to:

Continue strategic investments in the city’s roads, bridges, sidewalks, and bikeways

Act conclusively on the needs of our police and fire stations, integrating substantial investments into the city’s long-term capital improvement plan and fiscal capacity

Provide additional support for road engineering techniques and technologies to enhance safety for all people

Once completed, implement comprehensive energy and green stormwater infrastructure plans to create a more climate resilient community with reduced flooding risks and enhanced water quality

Public Safety

As I stated above, I’m proud of our substantial investments in Green Bay’s police and fire departments.

In addition to new personnel, we have rolled out high-tech cameras to prevent crime and identify offending vehicles.

We have also implemented cutting-edge drone technology for the fire department that has helped in stand-offs, warehouse fires, and ice rescues.

Our police department has worked with nationally-recognized experts to study the causes of gun violence and are in the process of rolling out a strategy to supplement the work of our officers with community-scale interventions to break the cycles of criminality.

To continue the efforts to enhance the safety of our community into the future, we will:

Maintain the city’s commitment to the men and women of police and fire with fair compensation, adequate staffing, and a comprehensive commitment to employee wellness

Expand upon the city’s efforts to deploy trained and specialized Behavioral Health Officers and County clinical social workers in crisis situations

Ease the burden felt by our police officers by implementing violence prevention programming in partnership with our Community and Economic Development Department and community-based mentorship organizations

Crack down on reckless drivers and speeders

Community Development

I strongly believe that our community values should lead our development work, which is why we have prioritized community and economic development throughout the city and made substantial investments in our fantastic system of parks.

I am proud of where the city is headed, but there is more work to do.

The economic challenges related to the pandemic like high inflation and supply chain breakdowns have complicated the development picture, but we have redoubled our efforts to overcome them.

In my next term, we will:

Continue to invest in all areas of the city, including the east and west sides of Green Bay, as well as downtown

Enhance our efforts to attract and retain young people, working families, and retirees by embracing the strengths of a diverse and vibrant community

Work with contractors, developers, realtors, and community advocates to accelerate the production of new homes accessible to people of all income levels

Chad Weininger

Chad Weininger

Please provide a little information about yourself:

I’m a father of four young children, husband, small business owner and former legislator who serves our community.

My wife and I chose to raise our family in the same community where we both grew up.

I graduated from St. Norbert where I put myself through school by working at a local paper mill.

I earned my MBA from Cardinal Stritch and recently earned a fellowship to Harvard for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.

My past roles include serving as the Green Bay city clerk, chief of staff to Mayor Jim Schmitt (second-term), and being appointed to the Board of Appeals and the Planning Commission by Mayor Paul Jadin.

I currently serve as director of administration for Brown County – a nonpartisan position that I was unanimously approved for by the Board of Supervisors.

Why are you running:

As a father of four young children, I’m concerned about the direction of our city, and I want to ensure our children and their children have the same opportunities we had growing up.

I believe the path we are on is unsustainable.

Our roads and infrastructure are crumbling, taxes are too high, our neighborhoods are less safe, and the current City Hall has become too partisan and lacks a comprehensive vison for our economic future.

I want to ensure that Green Bay remains a place where families can get a good job, afford to live, work, and raise children.

I believe by working together, we can create a more prosperous and secure future for our city.

I have a proven track record of bringing people together to tackle tough challenges.

I will work tirelessly to create safer neighborhoods, improve our roads, and stop massive tax increases in the future.

I’ll be a visible and active mayor who will work to bring good jobs and economic development to our city.

I’m committed to making Green Bay a better place for all who call it home.

Tell us what you consider the top three issues for the city and how you will address them:

Hold down taxes, grow our tax base

Increased taxes and fee shifts over the past four years are making housing affordability unsustainable for seniors, renters, small businesses and homeowners.

Under Mayor Genrich, people are paying more than ever to the city in taxes and fees and our roads aren’t getting fixed and our neighborhoods are less safe.

Families have to live within their means, and so should government.

I’ll personally dig into budgets, find savings by talking directly with frontline employees to improve processes and explore shared services.

We can be smarter on how we spend by eliminating waste and making investments in important priorities like roads and public safety.

I’ve done this type of work for decades and we’ve seen success.

However, there comes a point where you cannot cut your way out of a fiscal mess without eliminating core services – unless you grow the tax-base through economic development.

Unfortunately, there is no real vision or leadership in championing redevelopment since Mayor Schmitt retired.

I’ll be a visible champion for new development and create an environment that will attract investors to our community.

Fix our roads

Taxes skyrocketed under the current mayor, but our roads are still in bad shape and our debt is unsustainable.

Current funding levels will never keep pace with the investment required to get our roads back on track especially with Wisconsin’s winters.

Much like our roads need repair, City Hall needs some work on changing its outdated philosophy on road construction and maintenance. 

There needs to be a longer-term vision for road construction including funding sources. And it starts with an honest discussion about the wheel tax and dollars being diverted from its promised purpose of road construction.

We also have to reexamine engineering design standards and materials to ensure we are getting the best value for the dollars we spend rather than simply relying on the ‘that’s just the way we’ve always done it’ approach.

The fact is roads, flooding and city buildings are going to be huge expenses in the near future and the current mayor has not brought folks together to develop a better long-term strategy for all of us who live and work here.   

Safer neighborhoods and stronger community

In the past, Green Bay residents have always prided ourselves on being a big city (the third largest in Wisconsin), with a small town feel. Sadly, now we’re becoming a smaller city with big city problems.

The fact is violent crime has reached an all-time-high these past four years.

Carjacking, drive by shootings, armed robberies, murders, and regular police stand-offs should not be the new norm.

Minimum police staffing was lowered and seven officers were unfunded.

Then, the current mayor eliminated the positions from the budget, which means despite claims to the contrary, the mayor did not fully fund our police. 

My plan would be to work with neighborhoods to address specific neighborhood issues and determine the best strategies to fully fund and deploy our brave police officers.

We have diverse neighborhoods with different issues from violent crimes to speeding to quality-of-life issues. We need targeted approaches.

I worked with the prior mayor to create ‘neighborhood walk-and-talks’ to solve neighborhood issues. We created the ‘clean sweep program’ to address high crime neighborhoods.

A multi-department taskforce went into troubled neighborhoods and engaged residents. It worked.

When we improve public safety, I think that will have a residual positive impact on the families who live in our most at risk neighborhoods – especially our young people.

I believe safer neighborhoods build strong communities, and strong communities build strong schools – which are so critical to the future success of our city.

City Hall needs to engage schools with neighborhood development plans and find ways to work together to enhance community safety and resource coordination. As mayor, I will create a Green Bay where neighborhoods are safe, vibrant, and prosperous for all residents

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