Eau Claire City Council At-Large candidates weigh in on the issues at UWEC forum

Published: Mar. 30, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -With the spring election less than a week away, a forum hosted by UW-Eau Claire students is giving voters a chance to get to know some of the candidates.

One of the races the forum focused on was for Eau Claire City Council Alderperson At-Large.

On the city council there are five at-large seats up for grabs with eight candidates on the ballot.

Wednesday night’s forum also featured a write-in candidate.

Voters got a chance to hear directly from the candidates ahead of Tuesday’s election.

UW-Eau Claire’s Student Senate and Intergovernmental Affairs Commission hosted the forum for positions directly impacting college students.

One of those races is for Eau Claire City Council At-Large members.

The seven candidates present addressed affordable housing and homelessness.

“I’m also interested in how the city can continue to help foster the growth among the young professional families,” said Roderick Jones, an incumbent. “Also how can we continue to foster growth as it relates to increasing accessible affordable housing?”

Eau Claire City Council candidate Brian Trowbridge said: “I feel like I’ve gotten the opportunity to work very closely with some of the populations in our area that are struggling the most, and we really need to do some things for that population.”

Candidates also suggested renovating old buildings, buying abandoned homes or developing available lots.

“If it’s farther away from the economic hubs of the city and transportation opportunities, it’s essentially not affordable,” said Charlie Johnson, one of the candidates.

Candidate Joshua Miller said: “The city with part of its budget could each year perhaps acquire one or two of these homes, the years we go along and develop a portfolio of homes owned by the city available for short term housing.”

“They are looking at replacing some of the fire houses,” said Bob Carr, another candidate for an at-large seat. “Some of these are located in areas that could be wonderfully utilized for temporary shelters because they’re located very near public services.”

Others pointed to tiny houses.

“I would like to see the city look into, and I would like to look into providing a tiny house area for the homeless like they do in Chippewa Falls,” said Candidate Mark Richter. “The city could donate a piece of land.”

“They’d actually be in a sustainable home, so they would have a shower, a washer and dryer,” said Mary Partlow, a write-in candidate. “They would have a kitchen. They would have everything available to them.”

Two candidates were not at Wednesday’s forum: incumbent at-large member Kate Beaton and candidate Larry Mboga.

The forum also included candidates running for Eau Claire County Supervisory Districts 18 and 22.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

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