What is your top priority?
COVID, of course, impacts everything. Other than COVID, Mr. Gaul wants to maintain the current levels of infrastructure, spending and service while working to keep employees rewarded for their work. Mr. Gaul also wants to keep increases to the levy to a minimum while maintaining services.
What is the City’s most urgent economic issue?
When asked about the most urgent economic issue, Mr. Gaul sincerely said “See answer #1.” But, he expanded on the challenge of COVID which impacts most everything. Mr. Gaul says they made adjustments in the current budget to anticipate challenges related to the virus. Whether those adjustments are adequate remains to be seen. If all goes according to plan, “we should be OK, but with that said, we will adjust as necessary.” If there are shortfalls, he says the City will adjust.
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?
Generally speaking, Mr. Gaul says we are blessed in this area. He adds we can learn from events around the country to improve our best practices.
Mr. Gaul says, “we can always improve but are doing a good job.” He says La Crosse has a racial equity team now and a Human Rights Commission and the City assesses issues on an ongoing basis. He says he can listen, learn and understand the concerns people have while working to translate what he leans into positive action the City can take.
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Current La Crosse Common Council President Martin Gaul said Tuesday afternoon he's not running for re-election for the council.
Instead, he said he's taken out the paperwork needed to run for mayor of La Crosse.
Gaul represents District 11 on the council. His current term expires in April 2021. He said he'll remain on the council until the term ends. Gaul was first elected in 2015.
Gaul is the sitting common council president and said his six years of experience on city council have prepared him for the tough gig.
One of his goals is to build better relationships with other municipality leaders in La Crosse County.
"Our local elected officials have got to develop a relationship based on trust of each other," Gaul said. "If we can do that at the top level for local elected leaders I believe that we can start to work on processes that will create efficiencies for everybody involved. We need to be willing to share resources and to share jurisdictions to make that work."
He said in a statement that his campaign, chaired by fellow council member Gary Padesky, will focus on gathering enough signatures to get on the ballot.
The statement also commended current Mayor Tim Kabat. "I would like to take this opportunity to say that it has been an honor to work alongside Mayor Tim Kabat who has served the city honorably for the past 8 years. I wish him well in his future endeavors and extend him my thanks for his leadership and friendship."
Kabat announced earlier on Tuesday he wouldn't seek a third term as mayor.
As of Tuesday afternoon, two other people have announced their candidacy for mayor. In September, District 8 Council Member Jessica Olson took papers out to run. On Monday, Greg Saliaras, who owns Soula's Cuisina, said he's making a bid for mayor.
Gaul's statement concluded, "I look forward to the road ahead and hope to be given the chance to continue serving our fine community in the coming years."
Learn more about the other candidates for La Crosse Mayor: