SHEBOYGAN - For the first time ever, Sheboygan has recalled its mayor.
Unofficial results show, with 53 percent of the vote, former State Rep. Terry Van Akkeren will unseat embattled Mayor Bob Ryan as leader of Sheboygan.
An admitted alcoholic, Ryan may no longer be Sheboygan's mayor, but he says he is a better man.
"People can get sober and do their jobs at the same time," said Ryan.
Recall organizers targeted Ryan's mayor seat last summer, after he admitted to a three-day drinking binge in Elkhart Lake. Ryan says he has been sober ever since, and thinks it's unfair his personal issues cost him his job.
"You folks in the media, and people in general, when people have personal issues, when people have issues they need to deal with, they shouldn't be ostracized," said Ryan.
Van Akkeren says Ryan has offered to help him with the transition in leadership.
"This is something brand new for me," said Van Akkeren. "I've been on the council for many years, but we are going to work with everybody and it's exciting. It's a time for Sheboygan to be proud again and I'm excited about it."
This was Van Akkeren's fourth run for Sheboygan mayor, never winning before, including a loss in 2009 to Ryan.
"We thought we were out of politics, but with the recall, people kept calling and saying we need a candidate, someone that can come forward with the experience. I was that person," said Van Akkeren.
As the winner, Van Akkeren will serve out the remainder of the current mayoral term, which ends in April of next year.
Ryan says Sheboygan has seen the last of him in politics.
"Politics is a dirty business," said Ryan.
Ryan says he plans to enter the private sector.
Ryan has about two weeks remaining as Sheboygan's mayor. Van Akkeren is scheduled to take over on March 5.
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