First On FOX: Former Superior Councilor’s Ex-Fiance Vying For His Seat

'It's In No Way Revenge Or Anything Like That'

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The ex-fiancé of former Superior city councilor Graham Garfield broke her silence first to FOX 21’s Dan Hanger Wednesday. Kara Schmidt talked about the incident that lead to four domestic abuse charges against Garfield, as well as her jump into the race to replace Garfield’s former council seat.

“It’s heart shattering. I didn’t expect my whole life to fall apart like that,” Schmidt explained.

Schmidt said she is standing firm on all allegations against Garfield – from the court reports of the bite on the head, to the loaded gun pointed at her.

“I have no reason to lie. I had to cancel my wedding, turn my whole life upside down. I had to buy a new car. I had no reason to make anything up,” Schmidt said.

“After the fact, when I realized my life could have been taken that night, it was really heartbreaking and almost terrifying at that point,” Schmidt explained.

But one month later, Schmidt is moving on and in a very public way.

“I would really like to pursue the seat on city council,” Schmidt said.

That’s right; Schmidt is applying to replace the very seat Garfield was forced to resign from.

“It’s in no way revenge or anything like that,” Schmidt said.

It’s rather, she says, a platform to turn the pain into a cause for good.

“They always taught us if someone’s not representing you, you should run and represent yourself and your district to the best of your ability. So I’ve always taken that to heart,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt, a UWS graduate who is turning 29 next month, is no stranger to politics. She’s the chair of the Douglas County Democrats and has played key executive roles in student government while in college.

Schmidt also said she’s running on this platform:  “Affordable housing, support for workers rights, and smart yet restrained spending are at the core of my platform. Additionally, I’d like to support Better City Superior and encourage economic development to bring good jobs and growth to Superior. There are a number of ways to tackle these issues and I’m willing to work with department heads, councilors, citizens, Mayor Paine, and experts to discover which is the best way to ensure those good things for Superior.

“Good citizenship is incredibly important to me — and civic engagement also,” Schmidt said.

But if Schmidt were to be chosen by the council for the interim seat, would Garfield’s legal battle ahead become a problem as a counselor?

“Do you feel you will be a distraction,” Hanger asked Schmidt.

“I don’t think so. My fate doesn’t hang on the results of this case,” Schmidt replied. “I don’t want to mention his name once I am on council.”

Meanwhile, as Schmidt begins to ramp up support and signatures to sway the council her way in the appointment process, she’s reflecting and hoping her story will give a stronger voice to victims of domestic violence.

I’m grateful I’m someone who is tough and can take that, but … it wasn’t easy,” Schmidt said.

“Is there a lesson, maybe,” Hanger asked of the incident.

“That it can happen to anyone,” Schmidt said.

Graham Garfield maintains his innocence and says he’s entitled to a fair legal process before judgement.

Meanwhile, anyone in Superior’s 6th District — who is at least 18 years old — can apply for the open council seat by the end of the month.

A decision will be made by councilors at the June 6 meeting.

The term lasts one year.

The seat will then open up again for a traditional election come April 2018.

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