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Van Akkeren hopes 'to move (Sheboygan) forward' after beating Ryan

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Photo: Video by tmj4.com

Van Akkeren hopes 'to move (Sheboygan) forward' after beating Ryan

By the WTMJ News Team & The Associated Press. CREATED Feb 21, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb 22, 2012

Click on the video under Associated Videos to see Bob Ryan's entire concession speech.

SHEBOYGAN - The city of Sheboygan will have a new mayor Wednesday after its current mayor was recalled in an election.

"(Recalled mayor Bob) Ryan conceded the election and offered to work with me in the next few days to make a smooth transition," said soon-to-be-Mayor Terry Van Akkeren on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" on Wednesday.

"I'll be working with Bob in the next couple days.  He'll bring me up to date on the next few things we've been working on, and hopefully we can move the city forward."

Van Akkeren came on TODAY'S TMJ4 on Live at 10 Tuesday night to claim he won the recall race against Mayor Bob Ryan.

"Feels great," said Van Akkeren.  "I want to thank all the people in Sheboygan."

Once the results are certified, Van Akkeren will officially take over the position.

Van Akkeren believes his grass roots campaign was what won the election.  He was asked what ultimately matter to the voters of Sheboygan, "People believed we needed a change."

Around 10:03 p.m. Tuesday, Bob Ryan conceded the race to Van Akkeren.  "Our city is in good hands," said Bob Ryan.  "I have nothing to be ashamed of."

Ryan made a concession speech after the final votes were counted. 

"My life goes on," said Ryan. 

"One thing I can say...when people have personal issues, when people have issues they have to deal with. They shouldn't be ostracized. They shouldn't be shamed...People can get sober and do their jobs at the same time."

Unofficial results in Tuesday's recall election showed former state Rep. Terry Van Akkeren defeated Ryan by 53 percent to 46 percent with all precincts reporting.

The recall resulted largely from Ryan's problems with alcohol, including fallout from a three-day drinking binge in Elkhart Lake last July.  Ryan had acknowledged that he's an alcoholic and says he's received treatment.

"In all honesty, that's what the recall was about," admitted Van Akkeren.  "That's what started the recall.  We talked about a lot of issues after that."

The group seeking the recall collected more than 4,100 signatures to force the election. The city's population is about 49,000.  The vote means Van Akkeren will complete the remainder of Ryan's term, which ends in April 2013.

Ryan was in a tough recall election because of his very public battles. 

A sexual harassment lawsuit against him cost the city $310,000 . His two public drinking binges have brought him unwanted local and national attention but he says his drinking problems never prevented him from doing his job.

His mother Muriel said she has been with her son for struggles and successes.

"Bob did have a frailty with drinking.  He admitted to it, he apologized for it and he is doing fabulous keeping away from alcohol," said Muriel Ryan.

Ryan told TODAY'S TMJ4's Charles Benson that he had no regrets, and whlie he will be looking for a new job on Wednesday, he says he is done with politics.

Newsradio 620 WTMJ scheduled an interview with Ryan during "Wisconsin's Morning News," but he did not answer his call to appear on the show.