Walt Hamburger: Punk Rock Alderperson?

Arthur Koenig, Opinions Editor

If Walt Hamburger’s name sounds familiar, you may know him as one of the area’s premier musicians—performing everywhere from Mile of Music to venues around the country, and even internationally. And now, he’s running to be Appleton’s newest alderperson from the 15th district.

Walt Hamburger Lontkowski was raised in Neenah, and got his start as a musician about twenty years ago, signing to One Week Records in 2014. He was inspired by much

Photo Courtesy of Walt Hamburger for District 15

of the rock and punk music that was beginning to take hold in the 90s, with bands like Green Day or Propagandhi. The innate political nature of that music has inspired him to “care about other people and think for yourself.” There’s a community in that kind of music that Hamburger believes can inspire an American political scene that all too often lacks empathy or the ability to listen. 

Hamburger’s politics are left leaning, and he is uncompromising in that view. “I believe the role of government is for us to have a real society and to help each other.” In that vein, his main priority, if elected, would be to get the pandemic under control, in order to help our residents stay healthy and our small businesses to stay afloat. “I’m a small business myself,” he added. Beyond the pandemic, however, he is concerned with the threat of climate change and environmental destruction, and the improvement of the infrastructure of our town. “Above all, though, my goal is to listen to my neighborhood and be a real representative of my constituents…whether they agree with me or not.” 

Photo Courtesy of Walt Hamburger for District 15

This gets to the core of Walt Hamburger’s campaign for alderperson. He isn’t running to launch himself into another career, or to increase his name recognition. He is running to improve the lives of Appleton residents, and to listen to his constituents and their needs. As a musician, whose calling isn’t necessarily politics, his only goal is to serve his community, rather than to climb the ladder of political success. “I’ve always been a very political person, but I never thought I’d be a politician,” he said. And though our political process often ignores the concerns of young people, Walt Hamburger is committed to listening to the kids, adolescents, and young adults of Appleton, and taking their perspectives seriously. “Even if you’re not of voting age, you can make a real difference…and I want to be an ambassador for that.” 

Small races like the one Walt Hamburger is running in won’t result in a massive shift in the political landscape, but are an crucial part of our democratic process. Walt Hamburger brings a unique and empathetic perspective to our town’s leadership, and, if elected, will be a welcomed addition to the Appleton Common Council. 

Note: The election will take place on April 6th. For information on when and where to vote, visit the City of Appleton website.