District 2 Candidates
The Good Government Council sent out a questionnaire to all candidates running for the five Eau Claire City Council district seats up for election this spring. You may read their responses below.
Emily Anderson is the incumbent council member for District 2 and is running against Kyle Woodman.
Only Emily Anderson responded to the questionnaire.
Q1. What are your background and qualifications for this position, and what value will you bring to the City Council personally?
Emily Anderson: Hi, I’m Emily Anderson, and I’ve been a City Councilmember since 2018. I grew up in Eau Claire, attending Manz, South, and Memorial, so I have seen many changes in our city from the 1980s to the 2020s. Eau Claire's focus on growing a creative economy aligns with my professional background in the arts. I’m an author and educator, with a PhD in English, and I am the Vice President of the Eau Claire Public Arts Council.
Serving on City Council, I’ve learned first-hand that elected leaders can work together constructively, even when they disagree. I respect all of my Council colleagues—even though sometimes I may vote differently than they do. I know we are all doing our best to represent our constituents. As a City Councilmember, I’ve served on the Library Board, the Putnam Park Commission, and the Visit Eau Claire Grants committee. If you live in District 2 (roughly, south of Clairemont and east of State Street), I humbly ask for your vote on April 6.
Q2. In dealing with health issues like COVID-19, how should the City Council balance the health needs of the community with the economic needs of businesses?
Emily Anderson: It’s important to look at the big picture. We need healthy people in order to have a thriving economy. At the same time, economic opportunity is central to community health and I support our local businesses. There’s a false narrative going around that we can pick one or the other: healthy economy vs. healthy people. The reality is, we need both in order to thrive.
We need to think holistically and work together. You may have heard people saying, incorrectly, that the City Council can close businesses for no reason, or that Council wants some sort of local business shutdown. This is not accurate. What is true is that the Chamber’s successful collaboration with the City-County Health Department has helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in Eau Claire. The City has also been a vital part of the Chippewa Valley Economic Recovery Task Force. We need healthy workers and a thriving economy, and the way to get there is by working together.
Q3. What is the role of the City Council in addressing the housing shortage in Eau Claire?
Emily Anderson: Housing is a significant issue in our community. I was happy to support the creation of the Housing Opportunities Commission. This group of stakeholders, which includes Chamber representation, work with city staff to research and advise Council on developing housing policy that meets needs specific to Eau Claire’s residents, workers and employers. I believe difficult problems (like a housing shortage) are best solved by bringing people affected by the issue together to work toward a solution. As we move forward, we must continue to collaborate and innovate to make sure everyone has opportunities for safe housing. We need it in order to continue to grow.
Q4. Some issues that the City Council has debated in the past have been criticized as topics more appropriate to be dealt with on a state or national level. Others agree that Council members should spend time on any issue they believe is important to the community. What is your view on determining which issues are appropriate for the Council's time and attention?
Emily Anderson: In general, the City’s strategic plan is a good guideline for the types of issues the Council should consider. One of our strategic objectives is to “facilitate an engaged community”; promoting community leadership and encouraging civic engagement is part of the responsibility of local government. There will be times when community members seek Council’s support in making their voices heard at state or national levels. Facilitating this communication with other levels of government can be an appropriate function of Council.
Q5. What will be your top three priorities in your term as a City Council Member?
Emily Anderson: In my next term, I anticipate that economic recovery will be central. The city will need to be responsive to the community’s needs. Components of economic recovery may include additional legislative support for local businesses as well as ongoing work toward affordable housing and improved public transit so that people can get to work. Healthy people are key to a strong economy, so community health may continue to be a priority.
I am also interested in creating opportunities for youth leadership and civic education. Serving on Council is a tremendous learning opportunity, and I’d like area high school students to have the chance to learn about how the city works and how ordinary people can get involved and become leaders.
Good Government Council (GGC) City Council Questionnaire
GGC District 1 Responses
GGC District 3 Responses
GGC District 4 Responses
GGC District 5 Responses
Posted by Grace Hanson, Governmental Affairs Intern
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.