New Holstein Mayor Ron Karrels has not faced a barrage of questions like this in some time.
The funny thing is, not once did the word "Tecumseh" come up.
The mayor faced a panel of several dozen hard-hitters last week, all of them first graders at New Holstein Elementary School. He stood against a concrete block wall in the school cafeteria while three rows of citizens-in-the-making prepared to grill him for a while.
President George W. Bush gave his State of the Union Address Tuesday evening while a group of left leaning journalists fidgeted in their chairs. Last Thursday at NHES, some in the audience leaned to the left, while some leaned to the right, and some wondered who the guy with the camera was off to the side.
While Bush talked about what he hopes to accomplish in the next year with the war on terrorism and national health care, Karrels explained how city government maintains the parks kids play in and employs police officers to try to keep everyone safe from any local terrors.
But you could tell these kids wanted to get on with their questions and, when the time came, up went the hands. One after one they probed into the mayor's job.
"Do you get to ride in a limousine?" Maybe the mayor of New York City gets to, the mayor answered. I'm fairly certain New Holstein taxpayers probably wouldn't stand for that.
"How much work do you do?" The mayor answered with a smile, "As little as I can get by with," the joke sailing over the heads of the short citizens but landing with the adults in the audience. Actually, this mayor has put in close to full-time hours for very part-time pay.
"What is your favorite thing to do on the job?" Being at City Hall and talking with the people of New Holstein, Karrels said.
"How many people voted for you?" At least one more than anyone else could have been the answer, but, in actuality, the mayor ran unopposed the last time around.
"Are there guards where you work?" Well, the police station is located downstairs at City Hall, and there have been a few sidewalk hearings over the years where a guard or two might have been a good idea.
"Do you have an oval table?," one student asked. His teacher explained that they had just learned about the Oval Office.
Enough with the softball questions-like Entertainment Tonight, these kids wanted to delve into the mayor's personal life. "How old are you?" "Do you have brothers and sisters?" "What kind of car do you drive?"
But even the mayor had to issue a "no comment" to one question. "How old is your wife?" "I don't think she wants me to answer that," he said.
It is also unclear whether or not there were political motives or aspirations behind one youngster's question: "When will you quit?"