What will be your top priority if elected as Mayor of La Crosse?
My top priority as mayor would be to lower property taxes. As property taxes continue to rise in order to cover needs of the city, we also create more issues. I believe La Crosse is missing out on opportunities to bring in more businesses and residents. For some, high property taxes are a deterrent. I've talked to quite a few residents who feel like we need to halt those taxes increasing so much. I think that would be a step in the right direction.
What do you think is the city's most urgent economic issue and how do you propose to address it?
I believe that the most economic issue is the budget that we have. We can go through and find ways to keep the budget as balanced as possible. We can discuss the cost of projects that we have going on throughout the city right now and find more ways to bring in revenue and funding for those, including the La Crosse Center. Another option is going through and stopping any unnecessary spending that we're doing. Determining what the city need versus what the city wants. If we sit there and reevaluate and reallocate funds strategically, we can have a well-balanced budget. By doing that, we won't be depleting all the funding that the city has. Being able to take care of the city's needs, keeping a good handle on the budget and keeping money where it needs to be is a key factor in moving forward with the city.
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?
We're all fortunate enough to live in a city and community where it hasn't been as much of an issue as it has been in other cities and states throughout the U.S. With that being said, there is always room for improvement. The officers throughout La Crosse County getting bodycams is a big step in the right direction. All parties involved, whether it's the police officer or those involved in the incident, seem to behave a little bit better when they know that the public can have access to footage from the incident. I also believe that it's important that all La Crosse residents know the people they're working and living around. We are a diverse city, but I don't think a lot of residents realize how diverse we are. We need to make sure we know who our neighbors are by doing more community events, picnics, or just doing a better job of hosting diversity training for businesses and schools. We did that quite a few times when I was in the Navy and it worked. It's important for us as a community to come together to move forward in a positive direction. I also believe that support for our law enforcement officers is important as they support us out there on a daily basis.
LA CROSSE, Wis. - (WXOW) - The La Crosse mayoral race is heading to its primary packed with a full ballot of candidates. One of its final additions is Zebulon Kemp.
After serving eleven years in the U.S. Navy, Kemp says he is ready to serve as La Crosse's next mayor.
"I came home last year after my time in the service," Kemp said. "I want to be the voice for La Crosse. I want to make this city what it used to be, what it can be."
Kemp was born and raised in La Crosse, one of 14 siblings. He graduated from Logan High School. He noted how his time in the military has been a benefit to his ambitions to be in public office. He is well versed in working as part of a vital team as well as being a leader when called to do so.
"Bringing everyone together, getting everybody involved," Kemp says is vital to moving La Crosse forward. His focus includes helping local businesses continue to run, solutions to help end homelessness and finding a way to lower property taxes.
Kemp will be on the ballot along with 9 others when the primary takes place on February 16.
Learn more about the other candidates for La Crosse Mayor: