Good Government Council: Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors District 10 Questionnaire
When: Tuesday, April 5th, 2022; polls open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Find your voting location at myvote.wi. All absentee ballots must be requested by March 31st, 2022 and turned in no later than 8:00 p.m. on April 5th either by mail or dropped off in-person. In-Person absentee voting will start Tuesday, March 22nd and end Friday, April 1st. You can vote early Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you plan to vote by mail, voters are strongly encouraged to mail their ballots as soon as possible to ensure their ballot is received by the deadline.
What it's about: The County Board has 29 members, with each member representing around 3,645 people. Each member represents one of the 29 districts and serves a two year term. All 29 seats are up for election this spring. The candidates for District 10 include:
- Nancy Coffey (Incumbent)
- Dori Pulse
Who can vote: The election is open to all eligible voters who reside in District 10. Click here to find your district.
Where you vote and who is on your ballot:
- Go to myvote.wi.gov
- Enter your voting address to learn which races are on your ballot and where you vote.
Why this questionnaire: The Good Government Council (GGC) is a committee of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce dedicated to encouraging voter participation and providing members of the business community with non-biased information about candidates’ positions on important issues. Although the Chamber is active in policy issues, it is non-partisan and does not endorse political candidates.
1.) What are your background and qualifications for this position, and what value will you bring to the County Board personally?
Nancy Coffey: I have been a District 10 resident with my husband for over 35 years, raising three children here. I retired after 25 years working for Eau Claire County (ECC) Extension in community development. My career gave me valuable county operations experiences and the skills to bring diverse community members together to build successful programs with limited funds. I’ve been an ECC Board Supervisor for four years. My recent appointment to the Administration Committee allows me to provide input for a broad range of county issues. I also serve on the Planning & Development, Environmental Sustainability, and Groundwater Advisory Committees. On these committees I strive to balance agricultural, residential and commercial development with environmental protection. I authored a WI Clean Water Now referendum question that will be on the April ballot. I seek to adopt environmentally sustainable practices that will maintain the County’s natural beauty, bring higher paying jobs, and attract workers.
Dori Pulse: I have worked with companies and the public for over 50 years and am a small business owner. The value I bring is one of doing the right thing in the right way for the right reason as I represent my district. I seek truth and value moral integrity and responsibility.
2.) With a strong local economy and low unemployment, many employers report difficulty in filling positions. What is the role of Eau Claire County in attracting more people to the community, and ensuring that the County is an attractive place to live and work?
Nancy Coffey: With our great public schools, CV Technical College and UW Eau Claire, a regional medical center, businesses, parks, waterways and entertainment, Eau Claire County is a vibrant place to live and raise a family. The County’s role in attracting people is all about partnerships. Such alliances include city/county partnerships like our City-County Health Dept, environmental sustainability initiatives, county/town government cooperation to improve broadband internet access and comprehensive development plans. Also there are many government/non-profit partnerships. To encourage business, partnerships with Economic Development Corporation, Chippewa Valley Innovation Center, and Momentum West are vital. The county also works with non-profits to support families and the elderly. A few examples of these partnerships include: Chippewa Valley Museum, Family Resource Center, homeless shelters and area senior centers. Eau Claire works together to solve issues-it’s the fabric of our resilience.
Dori Pulse: I believe the first priority is safety (visible and adequate law enforcement) in a community, people need to enjoy outdoor activities, beautiful spacious parks, and recreation opportunities without fear. High quality education and job opportunities that offer a wide range of diversity are next. Well maintained roads, bridges, and public infrastructure are also important to draw more people and families to Eau Claire. As a County Board member, all of these community qualities are part of our job.
3.) The Chippewa Valley Housing Task Force found that the community is experiencing housing supply challenges at all income levels and housing types. What should the County’s role be in expanding housing supply within areas of its jurisdiction?
Nancy Coffey: Eau Claire County in partnership with City and towns governments has a responsibility to promote adequate, safe and affordable housing. Our City-County Health Department and non-profit agencies have programs available to help families of limited income maintain their homes. Increased affordable housing is also needed in our City and rural areas. I think it’s important that this housing is interspersed throughout our county, not in pockets. I have supported County affordable housing initiatives. We need to encourage all home owners to become active in their neighborhood associations to get to know and support each other. As a result of our strong economy and smart development we are successfully attracting families. This results in housing supply challenges at all income levels. As a member of the Planning and Development Committee, I strive to balance agricultural, residential and commercial development with environmental protection.
Dori Pulse: I would request to see all documentation and facts regarding a housing supply challenge in our county from the Task Force before making any comments about our role. Lots of building currently going on such as: Lake Place (senior apartments) downtown, I-94 & Lorch Avenue lndustrial Park and 360 apartments, North Crossing 536 apartment units, development across from Town of WA Fire Department, apartment complexes off Hwy 12 in Altoona, etc.
4.) The County is in the process of determining how to spend over $20 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Over $4 million has already been committed to broadband and to assistance for non-profits and small businesses. What are your thoughts on the priorities for the deployment of the remaining $15 million of funds?
Nancy Coffey: ARPA fund criteria for decisions include: meets ARPA fund guidelines; aligns with the county strategic plan; meets the equity, diversity and inclusion lens; and leverage additional grant funds when possible. First, I would use ARPA funds for safe and affordable housing initiatives, mental health assistance and proactive substance dependency efforts. I would support ARPA environmental sustainability spending to improve county facility green technology, to develop needed electric vehicle infrastructure, and to support green support services. ARPA funds would be appropriately used to help maintain our water quantity and quality by partnering with the city to clean up PFAS in our city wells. As larger developments are proposed in our rural areas, funding water flow maps and hydrologist mapping would help us make informed decisions on smart development levels. ARPA funds could also help farmers improve environmentally friendly farming practices.
Dori Pulse: That is a lot of money, unfortunate we cannot use it to reduce our debt, we seem to be going in the wrong direction. The last budget meeting was unprincipled and unethical. Here's my thought: I believe like-minded responsible board members should discuss and vote as a whole this dispensation of millions of dollars from the federal government. Synergy and brainstorming can create outstanding solutions. Over $4 million already spent...I believe the community has a right to know how the $4+ million was used. Our community members and small businesses that suffered should be first priority.
5.) If elected, what will be your top three priorities in your term as a County Board Member?
Nancy Coffey: We must effectively use our county’s limited resources to support the well-being of all community members. One of the biggest challenges we face is the broad consequences of substance abuse, mental health issues and poverty. Currently, the county Dept. of Human Services has implemented effective strategies to achieve significant results and cost reductions. We need to stay the course. We are making progress serving our most vulnerable residents. Environmental sustainability and water quality are another big challenge. I’m on the Sustainability Committee working to move the county’s Carbon Neutrality 2050 plan forward. Safe and affordable housing is a third issue. Partnerships between the city, county, nonprofits, landlords and developers can most effectively address housing issues. Initiatives need to include helping to keep people in their residences, as well as having adequate, safe, and affordable homes. We need to find ways to include affordable housing in development projects.
Dori Pulse: 1.) Budget knowledge and working toward financial balance.
2.) Open and in-person meetings for the public to attend.
3.) Supporting law enforcement.
Posted by Danya Morman, Governmental Affairs Intern