Robbie Young

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:38:28 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 11 2013 07:49:56 AM CST

1. Why do you want to be mayor?

I want to inspire people. I want to inspire them to take pride in their community, to become an active participant in the success of their city, and to realize they have not just a personal stake in our success, but they can be a deciding influence as well.

2. What experience do you have that makes you qualified to be mayor?

I’ve been working with and leading teams for most of my adult life. From coordinating campus-wide college events while at UWL, to leading work crews into the forests to build shared use trails for all of La Crosse, I’ve had to work with people of all ages, experiences, and abilities. A well-equipped group produces amazing results. A poorly-led group does a lot of standing around.

3.  What will be your top three priorities for the City of La Crosse if you’re elected mayor?

·Unifying our government’s and our citizens’ views for the long term success of La Crosse.  We all seem to have varying ideas of what that looks like.

·Turn around the public image of our mayor/council team.

·Exceed $100M in property tax revenue in the next 4 years.

4. What are your long-term goals for the City of La Crosse?

Increase the number of trips made by bicycle above the national average. (The avg around 1%)

Close the gap between La Crosse median income and Wisconsin median income ($38,287 vs $52,374, 5yr estimate)

Reduce the poverty rate. We’re worse than Green Bay or Madison, and doing just barely better than Milwaukee.

5. The current mayor and the City Council have had disagreements about several city issues lately. If elected mayor, what will you do to work with the City Council?

If they’re wrong, I’ll demonstrate how using statistics and facts. If I’m wrong, I expect them to correct me as well, with the same level of convincing data. If we differ on opinions, I’m pretty sure the 18 of us can come up with a workable solution.  A lot of what La Crosse faces has been dealt with before by other cities. There are numerous examples of what works and what doesn’t. Throwing up our hands and saying "we’re out of ideas!" is simply not an excuse.

6. How will you balance the city budget?

We need to focus on capital expenditures that are going to produce a positive return on our investment.

We’re stuck to our old debt obligations, but we can avoid getting into more.

7. Are you in favor of raising property taxes?

Tax rates are high enough, and maybe with an increase in property value and an increase in residents’ incomes, we can even lower the tax rate, while still collecting more revenue. Maybe. Over time.

Maybe it’s time to completely reconsider how we value property, homes, and land.

8. How long have you lived in La Crosse?

7.5 years. Since 2004, fall of freshman year at UW-L.

9. What do you like most and least about living in La Crosse?

The reason I went to school here, and the reason I stayed after graduating is the outdoor recreation opportunities available here. The Driftless Region is truly unique, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

I don’t like the car-dependent nature of La Crosse. Our transportation is historically very auto-centric. This is both by design, and habitual.

10. Tell us about your family.

My dad is a career-long professional accountant, having worked for local and regional firms, on up to a Fortune 500 company. He made sure to instill in me the ability understand and handle myself financially. My mom has helped develop products for a Wisconsin company ranging from drain cleaners, to fish attractant, to sunscreen. Her efforts have gained her two patents. She taught me that mad scientists are really just people trying to make a living to provide for their children. My sister is an enthusiastic entrepreneur attempting to start her own tech business since her graduation from U of Minn.