About Mayor Nickels

Trusted, Proven Leadership 

While elected the City of Manitowoc’s youngest mayor at the age of twenty-two, Mayor Justin Nickels is not unlike the community he was elected to lead. Both Mayor Nickels and the City of Manitowoc are vibrant, energetic, forward thinking, and have a tremendous amount of community pride that is rooted in the understanding of Manitowoc’s deep history and tradition.

Mayor Nickels was born and raised in Manitowoc, as was most of his family on both his mother’s and father’s side. Like most of Manitowoc’s citizens, Mayor Nickels grew up in a working-class family with an affinity for helping those around them. Mayor Nickels saw the venue of government and public discourse - with its capacity for neighbors and strangers to come together for the collective benefit of everyone - as the perfect place to continue acting on this affinity.

This led Mayor Nickels to enter politics and government at a young age - working on campaigns and debating public policy since the age of nine. In 2005, at the age of eighteen and still in high school, Mayor Nickels beat the odds and defied the critics when he was elected to serve on the Common Council, defeating a 16-year incumbent to represent Manitowoc’s Second Aldermanic District.

During Mayor Nickels’ time on the Council, he remained steadfast in his commitment to listen first and act second, to ensure he was acting according to the will of those he represented - a commitment that he upholds in the Mayor’s Office. Mayor Nickels served as the council’s leading advocate for fiscal responsibility, with the mantra that, “We must prioritize our needs over our wants,” a mantra that he also brought with him to the Mayor’s Office.

On the Council, Mayor Nickels served on numerous committees, including Finance and Personnel, the latter of which he chaired for four years. Mayor Nickels was elected to serve as the Common Council President from April 2007 through April 2008. He was re-elected to the council in 2007, and served a total of four years in that capacity.

On May 23, 2008, Mayor Nickels announced his candidacy for mayor of the City of Manitowoc. There would be a five-way primary between three Common Council members (Mayor Nickels being one of them), the County Clerk, and a local business owner. On February 10, 2009, Mayor Nickels won 9 of 10 districts to finish first in the primary to go onto the General Election in April.

On April 7, 2009, Justin M. Nickels was elected Manitowoc’s 27th mayor - the city's youngest mayor ever, succeeding Manitowoc’s longest consecutive serving mayor, Kevin Crawford. Nickels won by a very narrow margin, overtaking his opponent by only 17 votes out of almost 10,000 ballots cast.

On April 2, 2013, Mayor Nickels was re-elected to a second term with 84% of the vote.

On April 4, 2017, Mayor Nickels was re-elected to a third term with 65% of the vote.

On November 26, 2020, Mayor Nickels announced he was seeking a fourth term with an election that will be held on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. 


Family (all live in Manitowoc)

Mom: Pat

Dad: Dave

Sister: Jennifer

Brother-in-Law: Brock

Nieces: Ava, Mia, Eden

Home Congregation 

Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church 

High School

Manitowoc Lutheran High School (2005) 


University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc (2008 - Associates Degree)

Silver Lake College (2019 - Bachelor of Arts, History) 

Member of:

Manitowoc County Sports Officials Association

Manitowoc Elks Lodge #687

Manitowoc Yacht Club

Manitowoc Fraternal Order of Eagles #706 

Clipper City Co-Op Member # 31

Masquers: Community Theater on the Lakeshore

Boards and Commissions:

Common Council: Chair

Plan Commission: Chair

Board of Public Works: Chair

Manitowoc Public Utilities Commission: Member

League of Wisconsin Municipalities: First-Vice President

Mayor Nickels is also proud to live in Downtown Manitowoc!


Favorite Quote

"The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity, choosing right over wrong, ethics over convenience and truth over popularity...these are the choices that measure your life...travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing"

~Author Unknown