Wisconsin Rapids elects 24-year-old mayor Zach Vruwink
WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW)—Wisconsin Rapids now has what is likely to be its youngest mayor yet. Newsline 9 sat down with 24-year-old Zach Vruwink to talk about his role as the city's next leader.
Vruwink says his overnight victory hasn't quite hit him yet. "It's still kind of surreal today just because of how late it was last night and not sinking in. It's amazing the support," Vruwink said.
The entrepreneur owns his own technology company in Wisconsin Rapids. He says what he's learned there will transfer well into his new role as the city's mayor. At 24, he says his age is a non-issue.
"It's really about ability and as someone that happens to be young, but also has the ability and life experience," Vruwink said.
And with more than 65 percent of the votes, Vruwink says those who cast their ballot for him showed what they want to see in Wisconsin Rapids.
"They wanted energy, they wanted new ideas, they wanted enthusiasm," Vruwink said.
His high school debate teacher says she saw something special in Vruwink from the start.
"I knew from the minute I met him that he was politically oriented and I knew he was going to go far," Cathy Tritz, Vruwink's former teacher said.
Every person we spoke with says they can't wait to see what Vruwink can do for their city. The outgoing mayor, Mary Jo Carson, endorsed Vruwink's campaign. She says his determination should help him succeed.
"He will bring new vision and younger vision and that's a good thing. We need different views of things. We need different thoughts about the same old stuff," Carson said.
Vruwink says he's ready to take on all obstacles and challenges when he takes office in two weeks.
It was more than four hours after the polls closed that the Wisconsin Rapids mayor was announced. That has some wondering what took so long?
City officials blame the delay on the poll book that voters had to sign. It took them longer than expected to get all the information together. In one ward, votes had to be hand-counted, which slowed the process down.
Wisconsin Rapids City Clerk Shane Blaser said, "It's a good process. It's just a new process, and as we go along this will get quicker."
City officials say in this election, there were 20 different styles of ballots. They say that made it more difficult to count them quickly.