Betty Ackley cover

Betty Ackley, Sheboygan Common Council, District 4 

SHEBOYGAN – The seat for Sheboygan Common Council District 4 will be contested in the upcoming election on Tuesday, April 5, with incumbent Betty Ackley defending her seat against challenger Debra Yochis.

Ackley has been on the Common Council since 2019, while Yochis will be looking for her first term on the council.

The candidates were given six questions about their experience, various issues facing Sheboygan, and the city’s future. Yochis did not respond, but here is some brief biographical information about Ackley, followed by her responses to the questions.

Candidate biographical information


  • Age: 48
  • Occupation: Market Research Analyst 
  • Years living in Sheboygan: 13
  • Political experience: Sheboygan Common Council, 2019-present
  • Notable affiliations within the community: Board Member Sheboygan County Sheltercare, Inc., 2020-present

Candidate Q&A

1) Why have you decided to run, or re-run, for a seat on the city’s Common Council?

Ackley: I have been honored to serve as the District 4 alderperson since 2019. I hope to continue to speak as a collective voice for my neighbors who live in my district. I believe that I bring the experience, knowledge and commitment to nonpartisan decision-making to better the lives of all citizens in Sheboygan. I hope to continue to provide my neighbors with a collective voice as the District 4 alderperson. I continue to be inspired by my neighbors within my district. I believe that the concerns and priorities of residents must shape the city's decisions to better everyone's lives.

2) Based on your specific experience, skill set or point of view, what do you think you bring to the Council for your constituents?

Ackley: As a former human resources manager, I have experience strategizing and developing plans to best utilize one of our most important resources, people. As a former controller/finance director, I understand the vital operations and day-to-day activities necessary to ensure proper oversight. I am a full-time student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, majoring in Psychology and Organizational Leadership. I am expected to graduate in May 2022 with a summa cum laude designation. I am applying to graduate schools and aim to earn a master's in clinical mental health counseling. Upon graduation and licensure, I would like to bring affordable mental healthcare to Sheboygan.

The breadth of my education and careers offer a unique lens through which I aim to continue to help provide oversight of the city administration's decisions. I support the residents in my district and want to continue to help them with any problems they may have; no matter how big or small, everyone's issues are my issues. I will do whatever is needed to help my neighbors resolve any issues that they may have.

Additionally, my experience in various committees helps me better understand the inner workings of the city's various departments. I am currently the Chairperson of the Mayor's Pet-Friendly Task Group, Vice-Chairperson of the Licensing, Hearings, and Public Safety Committee. I am a member of the Finance and Personnel Committee, Mayor's International Committee, and the Mayor's Neighborhood Leadership Cabinet. I am a former member of the Public Works Committee.

3) How would you assess the city's current plans to address a shortage of affordable housing? Describe what is being done well and/or what could be improved upon.

Ackley: I believe that the city has done an excellent job of acknowledging that the city lacks affordable housing. It is taking action to ensure that this shortage is reversed. I believe that we must hold landlords accountable for their properties. I have been an outspoken advocate of affordable housing since joining the Council in 2019. I would like to see the city continue to follow the suggestions received from the housing study. I believe that it will take some time to alleviate the shortage. Still, we can continue to seek ways to improve the housing shortage as a collective.

4) What do you think the city and its leaders need to do to continue their efforts making Sheboygan a more diverse and equitable community?

Ackley: I believe that the current administration has done a great job of ensuring that educational programs are offered at all levels of government. This is an excellent step in the right direction. I believe that communication is key to ensuring that Sheboygan remains a welcoming city for everyone. As the old adage states, actions speak louder than words. We have opportunities for growth and to attract businesses here, which will allow the community to increase diversity. It is a collective effort that ALL of us must be involved in.

5) How would you assess the city's current plans for its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding? Describe what is being done well and/or what could be improved upon.

Ackley: I believe that we should be working with our local business leaders and residents to wisely spend the funds we have received from the federal government. We need to be fiscally responsible with these funds and ensure that current and future residents benefit from the decisions made by the city's administration and council members. Something essential is that we include citizens in the decision-making process. The ARPA funds must be managed well so that everyone in the city benefits, not just a select few.

6) What are some of the other biggest challenges or opportunities currently facing the City of Sheboygan?

Ackley: When I talk to people in my district, several common themes appear. People are concerned about loose pets (especially dogs), affordable housing, employment and roads. We need to be mindful that we make continued efforts to think about all residents in the city. We need to bridge the gaps between pet owners and non-pet owners. I would like to continue my role as the Chair of the Mayor's Pet-Friendly Task Group as we work to develop plans to help with these issues.

As I have stated before, we need to hold current landlords accountable for their properties to ensure that there are safe homes for Sheboygan's families to reside in. As a market research analyst, I see many opportunities to attract businesses here that will help bring higher-paying jobs and opportunities for residents of Sheboygan.

We need to continue to allocate funds to ensure that our roads are continuously repaired promptly. It seems that roads were not a priority for many years, so it is difficult for us to continue to play catch up each year, but we must continue to do so. I believe that the current administration is doing a great job addressing these issues. We should continue to work toward achieving the goal of continuing to ensure that Sheboygan is a great place to live, work and play!

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