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at myvote.wi. All absentee ballots must be requested by November 3rd and turned in no later than 8:00 p.m. on November 8th either by mail or dropped off in-person. In-Person absentee voting will start Tuesday, October 25th and end Friday, November 4th. 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 Wisconsin State Assembly is made up of 99 representatives, each of which are up for election every two years and are elected for two year terms. The candidates for District 91 are:

• Jodi Emerson, Incumbent (D-Eau Claire) Website
• Josh Stanley (R-Eau Claire) Website Website

Who can vote: The election is open to residents of the 91th Assembly District. Click on the image to pull up a more detailed and interactive map.

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.

Candidate Responses

1.) Why are you running for this office, and what are the top three priorities you will emphasize if elected to the next session of the legislature?

Jodi Emerson: Serving in the Assembly is a great honor and a way to continue to serve my community. If re-elected I will focus on issues that keep families up at night. Safe and affordable housing, access to daycare and quality education in our state. In order for Eau Claire to continue to grow we need to make sure we are focusing on things that make Wisconsin and Eau Claire a great place to live and work. Talking to business leaders I hear over and over how the labor shortage is one of their biggest hurdles. Making sure we have housing, daycare and quality education systems in Wisconsin and the Chippewa Valley will help bring more people to our area.

Josh Stanley: In my experience in both the public and private sectors has equipped me to serve as a state legislator. I will be committed to the citizens and finding areas of agreement despite those who try to tear us apart. We are stronger as a community when we all pitch in to help one another. My top three priorities are reducing the tax burden, expanding workforce opportunities and supporting law enforcement and emergency services.

2.) What role should state government take in supporting a vibrant business economy in Wisconsin? What specific actions or policies would you propose to accomplish it?

Jodi Emerson: I believe the government’s role is creating a good environment for people to work and live. Focusing on the social determinants of health make a community and a state strong. When we think of what impacts our health we often think of medical access but we also need to focus on clean air and water, access to affordable food and safe housing. And we can never forget about transportation, literacy, discrimination and a sense of community. We need to make sure Wisconsin is a place where everyone feels welcome.

Josh Stanley: The best thing the state legislature can do for the economy is to establish the conditions for businesses to start, grow and expand. This is best accomplished through lowering business taxes and reducing the regulatory burden. One tax in particular that needs to be reviewed is the personal property tax. Reducing or eliminating this tax would simplify taxes, and allow people to keep more of the money they earn. This will provide higher paying jobs for the workforce.

3.) Businesses today face several significant workforce challenges, with more jobs open than individuals available to fill them. Among these issues are demographics related to the size of the workforce; state support to recruit and retain employees to the area; housing supply and affordability; and a crisis in childcare availability for working parents. What is the legislature’s role in addressing these issues?

Jodi Emerson: The state needs to continue to help establish more housing,Oftentimes, cities the size of Eau Claire are skipped over for funds because of the way the housing credit formula is determined. This needs to get fixed. We also need to rethink our traditional model of housing. What Altoona did with Solis Circle (refurbishing vacant nursing homes into small housing units) is a fantastic model that needs to be replicated around the state. Wisconsin also needs to subsidize daycare. Currently in Wisconsin, we have 56 slots of licensed childcare for every 100 children that need it. Much of that is due to the low pay that daycare workers receive but we can’t simply raise the price on working families who are already struggling to make ends meet. Daycare is vital to getting people to work and school and local, state and federal governments all need to play a role in solving this crisis.

Josh Stanley: New housing is planned and in the process of being constructed. If the community has adequate housing and diverse employment opportunities in many business sectors we will attract talent from outside the Chippewa Valley. We will need to maximize the talent pool. We will need to look at expanding opportunities for older workers, disabled workers and people returning from incarceration.

4.) The 2019-21 State Budget included funding for the first phase of the new Science and Health Sciences Building at UW-Eau Claire to replace aging and obsolete Phillips Hall. The University is now awaiting the second phase funding so that it can begin construction. What level of priority will you put on ensuring that funding is included in the state’s 2023-25 budget, and what steps will you take to make that happen?

Jodi Emerson: This is one of the highest priorities I have. I have already started talks with UW President Rothman and others at the UW system. Unfortuantely, many capital building projects were ignored over the past decade and now we have a lot of projects to catch up on. Phase 1 and Phase 2 funding have never happened in consecutive budgets so I was not surprised when UW System did not recommend funding in the last budget. I fully expect that money to be in the next suggested budget and for the money to be in the budget Governor Evers proposes to the legislature next year.

Josh Stanley: This will be a high priority for me. I support finishing the building and will fight for the funds to do so.

5.) Why should a business person in the Chippewa Valley vote for you to represent them in the state legislature?

Jodi Emerson: Eau Claire deserves a strong voice to represent them in Madison, I am that person. This past session the Assembly authored almost 1,200 bills. Only 2% of those authored by Democrats were ever given a public hearing, fewer still were ever voted on. One of those bills was mine. Even in a highly divided political climate, I am still able to get things done for the people of Wisconsin and my constituents. I also focus much of my energy on constituent services making sure that people and businesses in Eau Claire know about available programs and opportunities and helping them navigate issues they encounter with state government. Whether that is unemployment insurance case work, educating businesses about covid recovery grant opportunities or helping individuals navigate getting licenses for their employment, I serve the people of Eau Claire and hope to continue to do that in the coming year.

Josh Stanley: I understand the challenges facing businesses because I am a small business owner. Starting a business and building it is hard enough already. All levels of government should try to limit involvement in the business community. Businesses need the freedom to succeed or fail without the government picking winners and losers through unnecessary regulation.

More Information
Election 2022: Guide to the Fall General Election (Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce)

Posted by Danya Morman, Governmental Affairs Intern
morman@eauclairechamber.org

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