La Crosse candidates scramble before deadline

Mayor's race & city council recall

Published On: Jan 30 2013 12:19:20 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 02 2013 09:05:57 PM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

It was a hectic few hours inside the city clerk's office in La Crosse as candidates for several different offices scrambled to get their paperwork in at the last minute.

5 p.m. Wednesday was the filing deadline for the mayoral race, the recall race involving Council President Audrey Kader and nine city council races.

11 candidates for mayor, of 15 who originally declared their candidacy, turned in at least 200 signatures before the deadline. The signatures still need to be certified by City Clerk Teri Lehrke.

Lehrke says the official list of candidates should be finalized by Thursday.

Those who turned in signatures for mayor include: Randy Magno, Chris Olson, Jon Olson, Craig Nestor, Dae Miles, Robert Young, Richard Smith,Tim Kabat, Michael Brown, Doug Farmer and Bill Feehan.

The two people who turned in signatures in the council recall race were Jerome Gundersen and Gage Maurer.

"If anything, I think it will send a message to the city council that the public is not happy with the direction they're going in," said Maurer, a 20-year-old student at Viterbo University.

Maurer is being backed by the group that orchestrated the recall effort against Kader. They're upset that the council tried to reduce public input by doing away with the Committee of the Whole meetings on Tuesday nights.

"I think the public should have a voice in their local government and they were taking that away, so I was against that. That's a big reason," said Maurer.

"It seems people in the community feel (Kader's) not paying attention to their needs but more to bureaucracy's needs," said Gundersen, a remodeling contractor.

Gundersen says the effort to eliminate Committee of the Whole is his main reason for running as well.

"Her move to eliminate public comment to the Committee of the Whole was the last straw and people thought how could it be that an elected official didn't want to hear from her constituents," said Gundersen.

Kader says it's misleading to say she's responsible for trying to get rid of the Tuesday night meetings.

"It's totally untrue, totally untrue," said Kader.

"I did not make the original motions on it. That came out of the J & A Committee and was a spur of the moment (thing)," she added.

Kader says she did vote in favor of eliminating the meetings on a trial basis but currently supports keeping them.

"I feel that my constituents appreciate what I do and I trust that I will continue to serve."