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When: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024; 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 28th, 2024 and turned in no later than 8:00 p.m. on April 4th either by mail or dropped off in-person. In-Person absentee voting will start Tuesday, March 19th and end Friday, March 29th. This will take place at City Hall. You can vote Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you plan to vote by mail, voters are strongly encourage to mail their ballots as soon as possible to ensure their ballot is received by the deadline.

What it’s about: There are 45 candidates running for the 29 seats this April. The Eau Claire City Council includes 29 members who each serve a two-year term. The candidates include:


District 17          Thomas Vue (Incumbent), John Staber


Who can vote: The election is open to all eligible voters in the Eau Claire Area School District.

Where you vote and who is on your ballot:

Go to
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. What are your background and qualifications for this position, and what value will you bring to the County Board personally?

John Staber

I’ve worked as a law enforcement officer for just under 40 years. I spent most of my career with the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office but I also worked for the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minneapolis. I still work part-time for the Augusta Police Department.

I was an advisor to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee when it first began and served as the chair of the Eau Claire County Traffic Safety Committee for 9 years. I was the fleet manager for the Sheriff’s Office and led our participation in a study conducted by Xcel Energy looking at alternative fuel vehicles to reduce our fleet’s carbon emissions. I spearheaded the purchase of our first hybrid patrol vehicles.

Over the years I’ve seen government policies and programs that work well and some that did not. I have the knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience to work with a wide range of people to create innovative solutions to problems.

2. What should the County’s role be in responding to the healthcare crisis created by the HSHS and Prevea closings?

John Staber

Agencies that deal with emergency medical concerns will obviously have to find solutions to the short falls the departure of HSHS and Prevea will create and I would favor government funding to support those solutions. Beyond that, any government involvement in health care should be very limited. Government agencies do many things well. Administering health care systems is not one of them. That’s something best left to the private sector.

I’m all for the idea of a community hospital as presented by Oakleaf, and if there are any steps the government can take to cut through bureaucratic red tape to allow that to come to fruition, I’d be in favor of taking those steps. I would not favor any government involvement in the administration of a community hospital.

3. What is the County Board’s role in promoting economic development, business maintenance and commercial growth in the county?

John Staber

My wife and I have adult children living in Minnesota and the Milwaukee area. When we drive to visit them and stop at rest areas along the way I see full color brochures and magazines promoting attractions and recreational opportunities in different counties throughout Wisconsin, but never any from Eau Claire County. While working for the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office I started a recreational patrol program to enforce laws dealing with ATVs, snowmobiles and boating. I can tell you from experience that our area has fantastic outdoor recreational opportunities, especially in the eastern half of the county.

Eau Claire County is missing out on hundreds of thousands of tourist dollars that could be spent in the county if these opportunities were actively promoted. As a county board member, I would work with board members from the districts in the eastern half of the county to actively promote recreational tourism.

4. How and on which issues and services should Eau Claire County work more collaboratively with the municipalities in its jurisdiction?

John Staber

That’s a big question to answer in less than 150 words but I can provide some specific examples.

I mentioned the promotion of tourism in answer to a previous question. Fall Creek, Augusta, Fairchild and their surrounding townships could all benefit greatly from more active promotion of outdoor tourism opportunities.

With the departure of HSHS and Prevea, there’s going to be a shortage of health care resources in the eastern half of the county. As a county board supervisor I would look for ways to encourage the remaining health care providers in Eau Claire to expand services to our outlying communities.

Having worked for the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office and the Augusta Police Department I know that the Sheriff’s Office already collaborates with the outlying municipalities to provide shared communications and records management services. I would like to see the county’s I.T. capacity increased to provide better support to the smaller municipal agencies.

5. What should the County’s role be through its DHS department in working with the City of Eau Claire and other municipalities on issues related to mental health and the unhoused population?

John Staber

I disagree with the term “unhoused population.” It makes it sound as if there is a large homogenous group of people creating a problem that the government needs to solve. Each of these individuals has a unique set of circumstances that brought them to where they are.

I also wonder why “unhoused individuals” and mental illness are lumped together in the same question. I’ve dealt with many homeless individuals during my career. Some are homeless due to mental health issues. Many more are homeless due to substance abuse or past poor choices. It’s not a popular thing to say but some are homeless as a lifestyle choice.

I think problems arise when society feels the need to treat homeless individuals as if they are a protected class. If I were to set up a tent in Owen Park as my campaign headquarters and I started putting out signs soliciting donations I’d quickly get a visit from someone in authority to tell me I couldn’t do that. But “unhoused” individuals are treated differently. Why?


Posted by Mallory Williams Governmental Affairs Intern

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