What will be your top priority if elected as Mayor of La Crosse? I would really like to focus on helping small businesses get started and help them maintain their small business. When I opened my salon two years ago, I thought I had all the answers right. I asked all of the right questions but there were still some things through city ordinances that I was not aware of. I think it's a big hurdle for small business to invest money and then find out they have to keep investing more money before they turn a profit. I'd like to make it easier for the transition from a dream of owning a business to starting a business.
What do you think is the city's most urgent economic issue and how do you propose to address it? The city's biggest economic issue is housing and affordable housing, not what people think is affordable. $1,100 a month is not affordable housing for a three-bedroom house or apartment. We have a lot of homeless people and if they have income at all, they would take their whole income to get a safe, reasonable living space. If we could find a way to make housing more affordable for everyone, people would be more likely to want to move here. It's crazy what people are getting for rentals.
What is your assessment of community/race relations and policing in La Crosse? Do you think improvements are necessary and if so, what would they entail? I think we have an amazing police force in La Crosse. I have not had a bad interaction with police officers I've had to deal with in the last 50 years. I'd like to think that that is the norm. It's hard to believe that we still have to consider race as an issue...that it hasn't just blurred and be treated the way you want to be treated, be respectful to the police officers and they'll be respectful back. I know that our police force has done training for dealing with different various citizens, so the police force can interact with them in a polite and effective way and not just coming down on them hard because of their race. I think more training is necessary, but I know that our police force has already stopped using several tactics when they're apprehending suspects that are considered very unsafe. I think that they're working harder on eliminating any type of racism that is obvious that maybe they didn't realize what they were doing, and by training them, it's just going to get the problem solved better.
La Crosse, Wis. - (WXOW) - She loves her hometown, runs her own business and now she's running for the office of La Crosse mayor.
Katherine Blanchard describes herself as a working class married mother of two. She and her family live on the city's northside. Blanchard is the owner and stylist at Chatty Kathi's Hair Salon. Her experience in the industry is something she considers a real asset if elected mayor.
"I'm a good listener. I've been doing hair for 30 years and you listen to a lot of people," Blanchard said. "It doesn't matter what walk of life you come from. You can be a billionaire or homeless and I will treat you the same, the same way I'd like to be treated."
Blanchard also noted that she doesn't think her current lack of local government experience should be an issue.
"I am willing to ask questions if I don't know something. I'm not embarrassed to say, 'I don't know'. I'll find help getting the right answers."
Blanchard emphasized her love for La Crosse, and her connection to the community.
"I could do a good job representing people who are working class," she said.
Blanchard is now one of ten candidates for the office of mayor.
Learn more about the other candidates for La Crosse Mayor: