Hudson City Council Dismisses Ethics Complaint About Approval of Election Worker Who Said to ‘Prepare for War’

Hudson City Council members debate on Dec. 6 whether to name former St. Croix County Republican Party chair John Kraft as an election worker. Kraft was subsequently approved to work at polling places despite his having resigned as county party chair last year after making references to war Wisconsin Republican Party leaders deemed inappropriate. (Screenshot via River Channel/YouTube)

By Julian Emerson

February 2, 2022

Council member faced punishment for objecting to the approval of a controversial former GOP official as an election worker.

The Hudson City Council has dismissed an ethics complaint alleging the mayor and three city officials failed to follow state law and violated the city’s ethics code when the council approved a controversial election worker in December.

Sherie Kristie, who filed the complaint Jan. 21, said Hudson Mayor Rich O’Connor, City Attorney Nicholos Vivan, City Administrator Aaron Reeves, and council member Randy Morrisette “obstructed and prevented the Council from faithfully and diligently discharging its duties as it pertains to approving poll workers.” Kristie said she filed a similar complaint on Jan. 3 that was rejected without explanation. 

The council on Dec. 6 approved a list of polling place workers that included John Kraft, a former chair of the St. Croix County Republican Party who resigned amid pressure from his own party after telling followers to “prepare for war” in social media posts at the time of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol. 

READ MORE: Ex-GOP Official Who Said to ‘Prepare for War’ Will Be Election Worker

Last week, the council voted to dismiss the most recent complaint as recommended by a Stillwater, Minnesota law firm that determined the complaint did not meet the requirements of an ethics violation by the city. However, the decision seemingly failed to address the complaint’s concern about whether the city’s action was in line with state law as it pertains to naming who works at election sites.   

Hudson City Council Dismisses Ethics Complaint About Approval of Election Worker Who Said to 'Prepare for War'
John Kraft, former St. Croix County Republican Party chair, has been approved as a poll worker in Hudson despite his violent rhetoric. A City Council member who objected to his appointment was forced to apologize. (Screenshot via River Channel/YouTube)

“I just think it’s a real stretch,” council member Paul Deziel said of the complaint. “I don’t see evidence. I don’t see facts [supporting the complaint].”

On Wednesday, Kristie told UpNorthNews she was “disappointed” at the city’s dismissal of the complaint and is frustrated that city officials failed to address whether the city complied with state law regarding its actions involving Hall. 

“They completely glossed over and neglected to address their obligations to comply with state statute on this matter,” Kristie said. “Joyce was the only one who had the best interest of the public at heart, and she was crucified for it.”

At the Dec. 6 meeting, council member Joyce Hall objected to Kraft’s appointment, action that prompted an angry rebuttal from Morrisette. Kraft then filed a complaint with the city claiming that Hall had defamed him. During a Jan. 13 meeting to discuss Hall’s objection, the council ordered Hall to make a public apology to Kraft or face censure.    

Hall subsequently apologized but later told UpNorthNews she “did the right thing” by raising questions about Kraft despite the resulting controversy. In an interview with UpNorthNews last month, Kraft said Hall objected to his working as a polling place worker based “on personal bias and false perceptions.” 




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