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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 22          Katherine Schneider (Incumbent), Matthew Lehner


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?

Katherine Schneider

I'm a retired clinical psychologist. I've served two terms on the County Board and am seeking a third term. My values are to listen, collaborate, solve problems and advocate for people with disabilities and other life challenges. I'm the first person with a disability to serve on County Board.

Matthew Lehner

As the proud queer son of working-class parents, grandson of an Indian immigrant and public school teacher, service worker by morning, and UW-Eau Claire student by day, I will bring many perspectives that the Eau Claire County Board has not considered. I am very heavily involved in our Eau Claire community through leadership and activism, where I currently serve as the President of the UW-Eau Claire College Democrats and a Student Senator on the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate, where I have authored nearly 6 pieces of progressive legislation. I also serve on the Eau Claire City Transit Commission and the Pablo Center for the Arts Central Governance Committee, bringing a critical younger perspective to those boards. On the board, I will bring values of compassion and empathy, a desire to listen more than I speak, and a willingness to engage with my neighbors not just when it is time to ask for their vote again.

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

Katherine Schneider

The county's primary role is to serve the people most affected by the closure; e.g. the patients and the workers. Health and Human Services departments are taking lead roles in this. The loss of in-patient psychiatric beds, detox and in-patient drug and alcohol treatment and other such services will mean individuals have to travel farther for treatment and costs to the county will greatly increase. Estimates are that $1,000,000 will have to be found this year at least to meet our mandated responsibilities.

Matthew Lehner

Our county government has a major role in finding urgent solutions to the crisis created by the exit of HSHS and Prevea from our region. First, I applaud Governor Tony Evers for signing Act 97 into law which will provide 15 million flexible dollars to help with the continuation of critical healthcare services in our region. I also applaud local leaders for their efforts in creating a task force made up of a variety of stakeholders working hard to find solutions to the crisis. However, we must do more to continue to hold HSHS and Prevea accountable, work hard to find ways that will elevate the strain that will cause the county financially by having significantly less available local mental health care, and do more to advocate for long-term solutions like Medicaid expansion and Medicare for all. The voice of county government is a powerful tool and we must be using it more.

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

Katherine Schneider

The county's mission to "provide quality, innovative and cost-effective services that safeguard and enhance the well being of residents and resources" says it well. We employ 600 people to maintain the airport, parks, roads and to provide public safety, health and family services that make this county an excellent place to live. Recently we created an economic development committee for the board to identify economic needs, work to improve industrial and commercial climate in the county, support the efforts of the economic development corporation and work toward economic goals in the comprehensive plan. I look forward to learning from them how the county can do more.

Matthew Lehner

I am very pleased that the county recently established an Economic Development Committee, and I am hopeful that this will allow for a variety of different perspectives on how we as a county can continue growing our economy and allowing new businesses to open, while also making sure that the positive growth that our community has experienced over the last several years remains sustainable. One of the top priorities of local governments should be to keep Eau Claire County a safe, welcoming, and attractive place to live, raise a family, work, or start a business. Therefore, we as local leaders must create a culture here locally that welcomes everyone, including refugees and immigrants, because that is good for business. Additionally, we must be advocates at the state and federal level for small businesses and continue to expand our private and public partnerships that that county has made to listen and work with business owners towards implementing their ideas and concerns.

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

Katherine Schneider

Currently we collaborate well in areas like community health, law enforcement, emergency services and human services. For example, we've developed ride along programs where a mental health worker from Human Services works with city law enforcement to connect individuals with needed services and possibly keep them from escalating problems. This program could definitely expand. If a Day Resource Center is built in the city, staff from Human Services could have office hours there to connect unhoused people with needed services, for example.

Matthew Lehner

One of the things that I have heard from many county supervisors as well as elected leaders in the City of Eau Claire, is that there needs to be more collaboration between municipalities and the county. For example, when the city put forward a proposal to allow Niagara Bottling to come into our region, many within the county felt like there was a lack of communication in regard to this project. Right now, there exists a shared services committee that consists of three city council members, county board members, and school board members. There is not much public information on what this committee is doing, but I would really like to see this committee be more active and a bit more public. That way, there will be more collaboration and communication between local governments, and we can figure out ways to work together in order to solve common problems.

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?

Katherine Schneider

The pairing of a human services worker with city police and the presence of human services workers at a Day Resource Center (when it is built) are good examples of the county serving people where they are. It's not our mandate to own the resource center, but it is our mandate to serve the people.

Matthew Lehner

It is imperative that we support DHS and the many dedicated staff that keep it going so that the critical work that it does for our our community continues to expand and grow. We must continue to advocate for shared revenue increases to keep the critical services provided by DHS afloat, and because it will cost DHS more money to send folks outside of the county to seek critical mental health services given the closure of HSHS and Prevea. When it comes to our unhoused neighbors, it is an issue that is personal to me given my district is where the vast majority of them reside. The county had an opportunity to match the City of Eau Claire’s 500K contribution to build a permanent day shelter through the remaining ARPA funding but decided to fund other projects, which is disappointing. We can’t rely on the hope that some of the money from various areas will be returned, and I will work day and night to match the city's 500K allocation through any means necessary.


Posted by Mallory Williams Governmental Affairs Intern

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