The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

City, county counts down to election

With school, work and a social life to manage, local politics aren’t high on sophomore Drew Rollins’ list of priorities this semester.

City and county elections, he said, might climb the list if he felt they would impact him.

“Since I’m not from Eau Claire, it’s not a big deal,” he said. “I feel like it doesn’t really affect me.”

While local politics may not always be a student priority, this year’s city and county candidate list bears a few names that might be familiar to the campus community – and all of them say increased student involvement would be beneficial to local government.

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Elections for both the Eau Claire City Council and the Eau Claire County Board are April 4. In the city election, eight candidates are vying for five at-large seats, meaning whoever fills the position does not represent a specific district but rather the whole city, according to the city clerk’s office.

Of the 29 county districts, six are contested, according to county records. Two of those districts – 18 and 22 – encompass sections of campus.

In the city election, candidates associated with the campus community include Ray Hughes, a professor in the accounting and finance department, and Brandon Buchanan, a December 2005 graduate and former student senator.

The Eau Claire County election features two student candidates who live on campus – freshman and student senator Elise Hallock and senior Trae Dorn, who is also chair of the Housing Department Judicial Board.
Hughes is pursuing his third term as a city council member. His affiliation with the university gives him a unique perspective, he said, but does not dominate his decision-making process or drastically alter who he views as his constituency.

“There’s a good thing about being (a part of the campus community),” he said. “But I don’t make my decisions based only on the feedback I get from faculty and students. It’s part of the mix.”

Buchanan also said he will try to maintain a balanced view of his constituency, though he feels the addition of a younger, fresher voice to the council would benefit the city greatly.

“If you look at the demographics (of the council), there isn’t a whole lot of young blood,” he said. “They don’t understand (student concerns) in the same way we do.”

Hughes and Buchanan agreed that stimulating the local economy to provide jobs for Eau Claire graduates is an issue the council, as well as students, should be concerned with.

City and county board elections
Date: Tuesday, April 4
Place: Davies Center

Hallock said her main objective in running for County District 18, which covers all of Upper Campus and a limited residential area, is to provoke student involvement.

“When there are issues that either directly or indirectly affect students, student concerns are going to be priority,” she said. “That’s my constituency.” Her ability to draw the student vote, she said, will dictate the course of the election.

Dorn echoed Hallock’s sentiment on student involvement, and said he hopes to gain student voters within District 22, which includes the dorms on Lower Campus and the Third Ward neighborhood.

“City and county politics have become stagnant,” he said. “The important thing is that students become involved.”

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City, county counts down to election