Good Government Council: Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors District 25 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 25 include:
- Brian Bauer
- Jodi Lepsch
Who can vote: The election is open to all eligible voters who reside in District 25. 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 no response from Jodi Lepsch.
1.) What are your background and qualifications for this position, and what value will you bring to the County Board personally?
Brian Bauer: I am a teacher and have been given the privilege to serve the children of Wisconsin for 20 years. I am also a small business owner and can relate to the recent struggles businesses have been dealing with over the last couple years. That makes me uniquely qualified to serve in a position like this, because I have perspectives from both an educational stand point, as well as a business standpoint. I have worked with Junior Achievement and UW Extension to help students be successful. I have also worked with a county board in the past to propose a business plan.
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?
Brian Bauer: Internally, I believe one way we can do this is by working with the technical colleges and universities to make sure they are offering programs in the areas businesses need them in. Also, maximizing apprenticeships with the techs, universities and high schools to help bridge this gap.
We could also put together a campaign for the local businesses. Eau Claire has so much to offer, but if people don’t know we are hiring, they aren't going to come here.
Lastly, I’ve always found that listening to what others have to say always helps generate the best ideas. Let's put together a panel of well represented business owners, including very small and larger businesses in the area, who could provide input. The board can gather ideas this way and help in this process.
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?
Brian Bauer: Not just our county, but our country is full of “red tape”. An example of this is, countries around the world are 3D printing houses at a fraction of the cost and time it takes to build a “stick built” home! But, in talking with innovators around our area, there are just too many regulations for someone to do something like this. This would literally solve our problem overnight.
However, realizing that this is likely not going to change, I would be willing to look into providing some of the ARPA funding for innovators or local builders wanting to get involved with a project like this. However, I would like to be selective in doing so. In other words, making sure that the companies we choose to get involved are local, not corporate investors.
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?
Brian Bauer: Let’s put this money back into the hands of the taxpayers in this county. Inflation is at an all-time high with gas prices skyrocketing and groceries much higher than even a few months ago. By giving it back to the people, it will grow the economy and be good for small businesses and our economy. If possible, we give it directly, but if not, we can get creative. But in the end, it should go back into their hands.
5.) If elected, what will be your top three priorities in your term as a County Board Member?
Brian Bauer: Priority one needs to be fiscal responsibility. We should be staying within a budget to help keep taxes down, especially when money is tight for families.
Priority number two is making sure that the board is being transparent, good listeners and good communicators. The board should be making decisions based on the common good and be unselfishly serving. rather than self serving.
Priority three would be helping small businesses get back on their feet. COVID 19 had devastating effects on small businesses and by helping them, it will help our community, as well.
Posted by Danya Morman, Governmental Affairs Intern