Responses for questions asked by the League of Women Voters
What are the three most important issues facing your constituents and what are your plans to address them?
As I circulate meeting neighbors, door to door, during my campaign, I encounter specific issues that are on people’s minds. These are all important, and I keep a list of these concerns with the hope that I will be able to address them if elected to serve. At the same time, I occasionally encounter a deeper issue that might be related to what appears to be weak confidence that their local governance cares about them. Sometimes when I introduce the upcoming spring election, I am simply told, “No, I don’t do that.” This expression of non-participation is THE most important issue that concerns me. If elected to serve as council member, I will look for ways to build confidence that every neighbor’s voice is important and contributes to our work together for local governance.
How do you view the role of the Common Council in relation to the mayor and city department heads?
I believe that city department heads are the professionals that keep our local government functioning, day by day. I believe the mayor has a most important role to set the tone for local governance. The mayor can inspire a spirit of service, appreciation and confidence that will permeate the entire organization of our public workers. The common council has the job of carrying the concerns and the voice of all citizens into the decision making and policy planning for the future of our life together in our town. Council members also have a role to help communicate an understanding of how decisions are made that affect the lives of their constituents and all of us.
What city initiatives would you prioritize to best enhance healthy neighborhoods?
I believe that healthy neighborhoods depend upon people feeling free and secure to interact directly with one another. The COVID pandemic has been a heavy burden for us all, and it will be a struggle to overcome the feelings of isolation and hopelessness that we have had to deal with. If elected, I would look forward to engaging with the La Crosse Neighborhoods, Inc., (LCNI) and specifically with the Springbrook Clayton Johnson Neighborhood Association. We need to rebuild people’s confidence to come out of our homes and to engage with one another once it becomes safe when our current public health emergency subsides. There are areas of district 13 that are not included in the LCNI. I would like to explore the possibility of including those residential areas into LCNI with the establishment of new neighborhood associations as needed.
How will you maintain open lines of communication with neighborhood associations and individuals you represent?
Establishing and maintaining open lines of communication is the central issue for me if elected. Making contact with and maintaining relationships with natural community leaders (church leaders, business leaders, school leaders and neighborhood leaders) will be one way for doing this. As I am currently making visits to people’s homes, visiting door to door, for my electoral campaign. I dream about continuing that practice in some way as an elected official if I can. I think that person-to-person contact is the richest form of staying in touch and the best way for serving as a representative on the common council.