Good Government Council: Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors District 24 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 24 include:
- Heather DeLuka (Incumbent)
- Lewis Titus
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?
Lived in Chippewa Valley for 47 years. Graduated UWEC with advanced degrees in education. Public teacher for 33 years and retired in 2014. Eau Claire homeowner and taxpayer for 24 years.
I am a strong advocate for citizen involvement in community issues. Airport Neighborhood Assoc president assisting with local issues and a project advocate for Empower EC. Being retired, I live on a fixed income. I am an independent thinker and will not just go along with the crowd. I am willing to make a stand for something I believe in or those who need an advocate.
For six years, I have been District 24 County Board Supervisor serving on UW-Extension, EMS Council, Groundwater Advisory, Land Conservation, Land Stewardship and Friends of Beaver Creek Reserve. Elected officials should represent their constituents’ needs and promote that they have a voice in the decision-making process. I have been that voice for County Board District 24 by never missing a committee or county board meeting.
Lewis Titus: Business Administration Degree 1976 from Minot
State University. With management experience most of the 51 years of employment. Wisconsin resident past 36 years. Currently retired volunteering 4 days per week doing Hospice for HSHS St Joseph and The Community Table doing surveys and bank deposits. Work with a large cross section of community volunteers and the people we serve.
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?
Communities that promote various options for employment, housing, health care and recreation draw people to relocate or remain in the area. People move for jobs that offer a living wage and for quality of life issues. The housing market needs to be strong at the entry level attracting young workers on a tight budget and to sustain retirees on fixed incomes. Broadband is vital to allow for remote work. Public transportation allows everyone to move about the community and our airport provides a connection for the business traveler and general tourist.
Eau Claire County offers a variety of quality of life factors. Our rural areas allow access to lakes, rivers, parkland and trail system. In our urban areas, we are a vital medical hub for our region and a destination for shopping, culture and entertainment. Our education platform is layered with public and private K-12 schools, a technical college and state university. These educational services help promote and train our future work force
Lewis Titus: Eau Claire has so many great opportunities with our great health care system with Mayo, Marshfield and Sacred Heart Hospitals. Being a great recreational area attracts young families to Eau Claire and many churches of all faiths.
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?
The housing shortage occurs at all levels, but it is important to focus on the low-income and entry level price range. Affordable housing should include rentals, condos, duplexes and single-family homes. People should not be priced out of being able to afford a place to live. As a single person, my initial income allowed me to rent a small apartment, upgrading to a better apartment and finally saved enough money to purchase a home in the entry level price range.
Most builders are willing to develop at the middle to upper-level cost ranges because of the greater return on investment. There are fewer builders willing to build that entry level development. If taxpayer funded incentives are offered to build a development, a set percentage of that development should be mandated for low-income buyers. It is important to tackle that initial renter and entice them with affordable options to upgrade to the next level of housing. People become more invested in a community as a property owner.
Lewis Titus: To aid these challenges we need the community as a whole to communicate wage levels to affordable housing availability for high and lower income families.
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?
ARPA is federal money for local governments to recover from the pandemic. There are specific guidelines to follow and failure to comply would require us to repay those funds. We can wisely use these funds to help qualify for other grants essentially doubling our impact.
First, infrastructure investment should address the PFAS levels in our water system to avoid bottled water only mandates. Funds for broadband were set aside early to connect the underserved rural areas. If infrastructure funding remains, use to assist with led pipe removal, affordable housing, energy savers like LED lighting and electric vehicles.
Second, provide recovery funds for services that proactively address mental health and substance dependency/abuse. Assist impacted industries such as non-profits, small businesses, tourism, hospitality and entertainment.
Last, assist our county essential workers to recoup lost staff and revenue from the Bridge Plan and provide funds for recruitment, training and retention
Lewis Titus: ARPA, Is also called the Covid -19 Stimulus, with that said, $4 million already committed to broadband minus from $20 million = $16 million remaining. With $1 million not accounted for my thoughts making all expenditures transparent. Better drinking water, better roads are well needed currently.
5.) If elected, what will be your top three priorities in your term as a County Board Member?
Heather DeLuka: Water quality
Lewis Titus: 1. Be accountable 2. Be transparent. 3. Be fiscally responsible
Posted by Brianna Franke, Governmental Affairs Intern