Meleesa Johnson Announces Reelection Bid for District 5
For the City Times
STEVENS POINT — Council President Meleesa Johnson will seek another term as alderperson for the city’s 5th District.
Johnson has held the seat since February 2016, when she was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Brian Van Stippen. She was elected to her first full term in 2017 and has been twice elected as council president.
“I feel incredibly honored to have had this opportunity to serve the city that I love. I grew up here and went to school here. I want to be able to give back to the community that has given me so much” said Johnson.
From volunteering as PTO president at Plover-Whiting in the 1980s and teaching religious education at St. Bronislava to currently sitting on UWSP’s Wisconsin Institute of Sustainable Technology, Johnson has dedicated decades to serving her community.
Johnson attended Stevens Point schools, including Kennedy, McKinley, Ben Franklin and SPASH. However, before graduating she dropped out of high school to marry and have the first of three children. Following her divorce in 1989 she moved to Manitowoc County and lived there until 2003. She then returned to Stevens Point, after receiving a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. She accepted a position to become Portage County’s second director of its Solid Waste Department in 2003.
While on Council Johnson feels her most important accomplishments have been: leading the effort to support law enforcement by providing a new, more efficient home for the Police Department; supporting fair housing for transgender members of the community; supporting policies that witnessed $100+ million in new growth; mentored students who laid the groundwork for the voluntary food waste collection program; and, most importantly, spearheading the work to have the old Emerson School property become a true city park.
“One of two of my proudest days on Council was when I saw the smiles of police officers and staff as they moved into their new home on Michigan Avenue,” says Johnson. “The basement at the Courthouse was so inefficient and simply not adequate to support strong law enforcement…it was a good day to see the American flag raised above the new Police Department”
Another day Johnson talks about with great pride is the ribbon cutting and dedication of Emerson Park.
“I stood there with a big, monstrous scissors in my hands, ready to cut the ribbon, thinking about the three year fight to that dedication day.”
She adds that this was a community effort, with amazing citizens from both District 5 and District 3 zeroed in on the task at hand. The citizen group has now formed the Friends of Emerson Park and will be raising funds for a new playground.
In her upcoming term Johnson intends to build on the success of the past several years and look to a progressive future.
According to Johnson, she is dedicated to ensuring that no property owners on the south Church Street corridor loses an inch of property to the reconstruction of the street. Johnson intends to continue working on a city-wide strategic plan, exploring modern transportation options, having zoning code rewrite include allowance for housing options such as tiny homes, expanding Redevelopment Authority grant programs and creating a policy for regular property assessment schedule. As well, she will not give up her work to save the historic Madison Street building now housed by Altenburg Dairy.
Johnson is currently employed as the director of the Marathon County Solid Waste Department, is Portage County Board Supervisor for District 3, is a Portage County Ambassador to the legislature, is chair of the Portage County Health Care Center Committee, is president of Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin and is co-chair of the Department of Natural Resources Waste and Material Management Study Group. She has three children, Sara (Manitowoc), Beth (Stevens Point), and Jeremy (Xian, China) Lebrick and two grandchildren, Ellie (Stevens Point) and Coltin (Xian, China).
In her free time she enjoys bicycling, reading, gardening, cooking and spending time with family and friends.
Visit Friends of Meleesa Johnson to learn more about her campaign and how you can help. You may also e-mail Johnson at: [email protected].