Good Government Council: Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors District 19 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 19 include:
- Jerry Wilkie (Incumbent)
- Kathleen Kivlin
Who can vote: The election is open to all eligible voters who reside in District 1. 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?
Jerry Wilkie: 1986–Present EC Board Supervisor Distriict19 Current-Committee appointments; Administration 2nd Vice-Chair Finance and Budget30 years Judiciary & Law Enforcement26 yrs-Chair, Highway Building. Past-Committees Housing Authority-Chair, Planning and Development Committee, Court Security Facilities, Land Conservation Commission, West Central Regional Planning.IDA Founding committee member, Joint Commission on Shared Services Initiatives, EC City-County Board of Health, Eau Claire County Healthy Communities Council, Collaborating Council. I’m a lifelong resident of EC County, growing up and raising my children in district 19.I graduated from Memorial High in 1968 and UWEC in 1973. I 2012 I retired as Executive Director of Bolton Refuge House. My wife Ruby is a retired nurse from Mayo.
Kathleen Kivlin: I have been a resident and taxpayer of EC County for 16 years. I am a Registered Nurse of 45 years, having retired from the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic as Clinic Director. I am a Christian and I bring Biblical perspectives in to every decision I make, knowing that apart from Christ, we can do nothing.
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?
Jerry Wilkie: Maintaining property tax and regulations at a reasonable level goes a long way in attracting people to work, play and live in Eau Claire County. We are blessed with many woodlands and waterways that serve as a driving force for the local economy. We must be good stewards of all our resources. Having a safe community to live in and raise a family does not happen by accident. Continued support of law enforcement who are on the line protecting our community makes a difference. If we maintain a safe and healthy community they will come.
Kathleen Kivlin: Thanks to the current administration, it has become easier and more attractive for people to stay home rather than work. Because of crushing mandates, many small businesses were forced to close their doors for an extended period or sadly close for good. This CAN NOT happen again! Small businesses are the backbone of America, employing 48% of US employees. I will advocate for the small business owner and property owners, doing everything in my power to keep taxes from constantly rising. I will also be fully transparent and accountable regarding where and how tax money is being spent. I believe that this is what makes our city/county attractive.
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?
Jerry Wilkie: Grant rezoning request consistent with the town and county comprehensive plans, county farmland preservation, and county zoning ordinance. They are the rules of the road for developers the board should not stray into areas that are not their purview. This only discourages developers from investing and increasing the housing supply for all income levels. New owner housing is always a desire for some, but not all. some need to or prefer to rent, others wish to downsize when the children leave the nest. The demand will drive investment where it is needed, The county’s role should be to aid the development to move forward not impede.
Kathleen Kivlin: I have become increasingly aware of massive housing construction within the city of Eau Claire as well as on the periphery. I am not convinced that there is a housing supply challenge. Once I become a County Board Superviser for the 19th District, I will study this more thoroughly
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?
Jerry Wilkie: With the unprecedented allocation of twenty million dollars, we must continue the outreach to the community with public discussion and input on its distribution. If spent wisely, we can assist businesses in recovering from COVID. Address unmet needs such as affordable housing and the opioid addiction crisis. Reduce ongoing expenses through energy conservation updates, and improve our services and infrastructure such as broadband for the long term.
Kathleen Kivlin: First, I would need to see how exactly broadband and small business assistance is being carried out. This would be accomplished by talking with small business owners and rural residents. With an influx of people into the city and county of Eau Claire, law enforcement will need to be expanded, with an emphasis on illegal drug enforcement and human trafficking.
5.) If elected, what will be your top three priorities in your term as a County Board Member?
Jerry Wilkie: DHS fiscal mismanagement & inadequate oversight. What we currently know, corrective actions have taken place with some improvement. Pending the outcome of the investigation & forensic audit, further Board action may be necessary. The Board & public must receive a full report of any criminal activities or misconduct, The best result would be there is nothing else. If not the case, immediate action is required by the Board with prompt correction and accountability. Substance abuse remains a challenge in the community: Allocate the pharmaceutical lawsuit settlement funds to increase mental health & substance abuse services. Enhanced treatment options would reduce the need for law enforcement intervention and incarceration. Addictions come with high emotional and fiscal costs to our families and community. Modify the bid and RFP process to give a local preference. Serving on the board is my way of giving back to the community. I find it to be a labor of love
Kathleen Kivlin: ~Accountability to taxpayers regarding where/how their tax dollars are being spent
~Support law enforcement
~Provide active oversight to the Eau Claire City/County Health Department
Posted by Brianna Franke, Governmental Affairs Intern