Good Government Council: Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors District 16 Questioinnaire
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 16 include:
- David Hirsch
- Benaiah Stanley
Who can vote: The election is open to all eligible voters who reside in District 16. 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.
Unfortunately, we received to no response from Benaiah Stanley.
1.) What are your background and qualifications for this position, and what value will you bring to the County Board personally?
David Hirsch: I have demonstrated proven leadership since returning to my home town of Eau Claire, as the Chief Of Staff at Marshfield Medical Center - Eau Claire, as the President of my church congregation, and currently as Vice President of the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild, where I also work both on stage and behind the scenes to support entertainment and education in community theatre.
In all these experiences, as well as in my clinical practice as an obstetrician/gynecologist, I have developed the ability to listen and work closely with others to solve serious, often life-threatening problems. When appropriate, I also strive to make work fun.
I am deeply committed to public service. I feel a great debt of gratitude to the Eau Claire community and I feel that participation in local government is one of the best ways to give back. After living in several other communities I was so happy to return, and bring back a wider perspective to my beloved Eau Claire.
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?
David Hirsch: The County Board oversees or contributes to several specific programs that contribute to the amazing quality of life enjoyed by Eau Claire residents, such as highways, parks, the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport, the County Housing Authority, projects around access to broadband, and land conservation. One of my goals as a Supervisor will be to work collaboratively with social, business and education leaders and other stakeholders to ensure balance between great jobs and a great quality of life.
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?
David Hirsch: The County web site states, "The mission of the Eau Claire County Housing Authority is to help provide safe, sanitary, and accessible dwelling accommodations for people of low and moderate incomes at rents and prices they can afford, and to help arrange the clearance, re-planning, and reconstruction of areas in which unsanitary or unsafe housing conditions exist."
The Housing Authority must remain dedicated to this mission, and to boldly exercise the tools and leverage afforded it to ensure the success of the mission.
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?
David Hirsch: ARPA funds are restricted in how they can be used. Specifically, they can be used to assist small businesses and non-profits, to help tourism and hospitality industries negatively affected by the pandemic, to help essential workers, and to invest in water, sewer and broadband. The County as noted is involved in funding rural broadband access, which I feel is critical, and is also helping small businesses and non-profits. I would like to see these investments continued and increased.
The water infrastructure is currently being put to the test with the discovery of PFAs in the water supply. Ongoing investigation and investment in maintaining and improving this vital infrastructure is another important priority for the ARPA funds.
5.) If elected, what will be your top three priorities in your term as a County Board Member?
David Hirsch: 1) I feel the biggest challenge facing the Board is that of providing high quality services with limited resources. The state severely limits property tax revenue, restricting the County’s ability to generate any new funding. This leaves us to juggle priorities and to innovate in budgeting and in creative solutions to meeting its needs. It is crucial that the Board balance short term needs with long term investments in the County.
2) I am dismayed at the excessive partisanship in politics at the state and national level. We have the opportunity as a non-partisan County Board to set aside fixed party positions and come together to restore citizens’ faith in democracy by careful research and dedication to addressing our problems.
3) Affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing the county; many residents simply cannot afford the current market rates given the short supply of reasonably priced units. I would like to focus the Board's efforts on this problem.
Posted by Danya Morman, Governmental Affairs Intern