Name: Rich Smith
Education: 1974 Graduate of Logan High School
Employer: City of La Crosse - Wastewater Utility Lab (35+ years)
Current President of SEIU Local 180 (8 years)
I want to be the mayor of La Crosse because I have a growing concern about how the face of our city is changing. Our neighborhoods are deteriorating to a point where something needs to be done now. Older housing, fees, drugs, crime, and high taxes are the pieces of the puzzle that need to be addressed. the city continues to use TIF's and to a point, they do help with building our tax base and creating jobs, but the median income in La Crosse remains below the state average.
I believe it's time to give incentives to home owners and help them to start updating and repairing older housing without being hit with fees and higher taxes. The TIF's we have used for business have created jobs, but a lot of the people that work those jobs drive out of town at the end of the day to their homes outside of La Crosse. I have no interest in turning La Crosse into a business and industrial park where people come to work and then leave to go home.
Crime and drugs. I am proposing a "Notification" program which would be a concerted effort joining the Police Department, DA/City Attorney offices, Judges, Probation Officers and other representatives within the community. This program would provide a set of criteria for criminals and compliance is the first goal. If they step beyond the criteria, major sanctions begin. No more revolving door. If you are here to sell drugs or commit crimes, I am not your friend and you are not welcome in our neighborhoods.
Alcohol, I recommend bringing back the Alcohol, Compliance and Education Team (A.C.E.). They promoted a lot of training and created many bridges like co-training with the La Crosse Tavern League. This was a good program with incredible results that won state and national awards.
I don't believe that the manufacturing industry is going to return to the level it once was in La Crosse. I think future jobs will be in the medical or high tech fields. That's the reason that I think we need to promote tourism to another level. La Crosse has the natural resources with the bluffs and hiking and biking trails, the Mississippi river and the natural beauty of this area. People will come here and spend their money and when they leave, they will tell others about La Crosse. For tourism to be successful, we also need a vibrant downtown and crime free streets and neighborhoods. These are all pieces of the big puzzle that needs to be worked on together.
I have a unique perspective on the lack of communication, cooperation and the discord at City Hall. I was chosen to be president of Local 180 because of my ability to lead, solve problems, build consensus and get things done. These are abilities that I bring to the table and will use to get people and departments working together to better serve the taxpayers of this city. We have good people serving the public, they need to feel like they are part of a team that works together to achieve a common goal and that goal is to serve the citizens of La Crosse in a responsible and efficient manner.
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