Polls open Tuesday for primary recall election

By Janelle Mathews &
Joycelyn Fish

A nonpartisan primary recall election for the District 11 alderman seat will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 29, with three candidates running for the spot including Audrey Kader, Gage Maurer and Jerome Gundersen Jr.  District 11 is located between Cass Street (northern boundary), Jackson Street (southern boundary), Front Street (western boundary) and West Avenue (eastern boundary) and includes Viterbo within these boundaries.

Audrey Kader

Audrey Kader currently serves as the Common Council president for La Crosse where she has been a council member for 18 years and has lived in District 11 for about 17 years.  Kader said that she moved to District 11 “because she knew that this was the most impoverished part of the city, in fact even in Wisconsin besides Milwaukee, and it was such a shame to see it crumbling.”

She served on the La Crosse County Board and the La Crosse School Board for 12 years.  Kader said she “is committed to the safety of this district, getting better lighting and the general maintenance of the district.”

Furthermore, “any obvious issues that affect this particular district and specifically Viterbo students” she wants to address, she told Lumen.  Kader recently “signed for the demolition of two properties that Viterbo owns to create additional parking because parking is such a big issue.”

Another project that Kader worked on that is “beginning to come to fruition that will be ready within the next year is putting in additional pedestrian-friendly street lighting that’s been budgeted for several years with Seventh Street due to be repaved, and the additional lighting will be installed at that time” she told Lumen.

“District 11 is such a wonderful area to live in; it is so convenient to everything.  Students can go to the river just by walking down Market Street, but it should be a nicer area in terms of safety which we’re working to address” Kader said.

Gage Maurer

Gage Maurer is a sophomore business management major at Viterbo who is originally from Madison, Wis. and hopes to become a lawyer one day.  Maurer stated that he is “a founding member of College Republicans.”

He decided to run for this position because he “felt there was a lot of concern within the community with losing the Committee as the Whole and wanted to put the people’s voice back within the government.”

Maurer went on to say that “the overwhelming public disapproval is what really put me in this position, and I felt like someone needed to stand up for the people of La Crosse.”

Maurer’s stance is that “you can’t really have experience when you’re 20 years old, but everybody in the City Council right now has lots of experience and look where that has gotten us; it doesn’t make sense to continue down the same path.”

If elected to the position on the City Council, Maurer said that he “would like to put the people’s voice back in the government and would listen to what the community has to say.  For students, it’s a great opportunity to tell me their concerns and come directly to me.”

Moreover, Maurer wants to “address the fact that over 25 percent of the population is under the poverty line by creating jobs through allowing for small business growth; there needs to be more done, especially in our neighborhood.”

Jerome Gundersen Jr.

After unsuccessfully running against Kader to represent District 11 in 2003, Jerome Gundersen Jr. is vying to replace Kader on La Crosse’s City Council.

Gundersen is no stranger to elections, having run for the La Crosse County Board District 9 position in 2012 and the 95th District State Assembly candidate in 2002. In 2003, he lost to Kader by a vote of 127 to 76.

However, the 52-year-old contractor is ready to take on both Kader and Gage Maurer in the recall election. In a debate on Thursday, Jan. 24, he stated that he felt that a recall is justified when a person is stubborn, rude and puts policies in front of the board that fail by large percentages. He also strongly expressed concerns about the city suppressing citizens’ ideas, calling it a “ridiculous thought.”

Parking became a key topic of discussion on Thursday, including alternate side parking and paying to park in parking garages.      Although Gundersen believes that the policies of alternate side parking are misguided, he also stated that parking isn’t as critical as people make it out to be. He expressed more concern about the tax increment financing (TIFs) in the city of La Crosse. While they benefit some of the biggest employers in the city, the current regulations are “out of wack.”

In addition, the way the City Council functions as a whole worries Gundersen. He feels that the city has created more hurdles, especially for those trying to create and maintain small businesses and uses the taxpayers as their “credit card.” He believes that he can help change the constant dysfunction into a collaborative group by finding a balance between people’s wishes and department needs through taking action.

In order for students to vote, they must register to vote at the polling place, and 702 Franciscan Way is not a legitimate voting address for students living on-campus.  On-campus students must register to vote using their Viterbo identification card plus a fee receipt which can be obtained in the Business Office.  The receipt needs to have exactly where the student is living, not 702 Franciscan Way because that address is just a mailing address and isn’t acceptable.

If one of the candidates from this election receives a majority of the votes, 50 percent or more, there will not be a recall election; however if one person doesn’t get 50 percent or more, there will be a recall election on Feb. 26.

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