LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - After COVID-19 economic relief efforts fully roll out, Sam Schneider is focused on lowering property taxes in the city.
When asked what his top priority would be if elected mayor, Schneider said 60 to 70% of people he spoke with are "fed up" with taxes compared to what people pay in Onalaska or surrounding communities.
Schneider said he think the city's most urgent economic issue is the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses.
He proposed to address this economic issue by drawing in more tourism once the pandemic ends--specifically with the new La Crosse Center.
"We're going to have a huge bounce back because of the conventions that are being booked for not only the end of this year, but next year I heard it's being booked to no end," Schneider said. "So that's really good news. We want to bring that up and make sure we're bringing in those tourists."
When asked what his assessment of community/race relations and policing in La Crosse was he said:
"The first step of anyone who wants to step into the shoes of someone who is a minority their our country.... is always sitting down and listening to them because you're going to have your eyes opened."
When asked if he thinks improvements are necessary and if so, what would they entail he said:
"I think regarding the African American community and just listening better to them. We need to see what they want and what they need so we can asses how to give that to them. Neighborhood resource officer policing has been a huge help."
LA CROSSE, Wis. - (WXOW) - Sam Schneider, a lifelong La Crosse resident, announced he would be joining the race for mayor last Thursday and declared his priorities and love for the city of La Crosse.
If elected, Schneider said his main priorities will be the roads first and foremost, as well as homelessness, addiction within our community, and neighborhood safety in general.
"When it relates to the roads I think that is the foundation of any city. It's kind of like a computer chip where you have a circuit board. If the circuits are all not well-maintained and managed, it doesn't matter how great your graphics card is or your processor, all that stuff because it limits the entire system to work well if the circuits are not connected and in the city it is the same," said Schneider.
He explained that La Crosse is a beautiful city with parks, business, landscape, and riverside. If the roads are well-maintained, it can help all of those things grow which helps business, tourism, and industry overall.
Schneider said that when it comes to the issues of homelessness, drug abuse and safer neighborhoods, he believes those are really tightly connected. When he has talked to people within the community, one of their biggest concerns has been safer neighborhoods. He explained that the city of La Crosse has some of the best police and city staff in the country which he is very thankful for but as a city, everyone can continue to progress and move forward while improving.
"I think that we can just do better than we have before and increase and continue to progress," said Schneider. "The vision is 'Let's have a brighter future than we have now' so that we can look back and say, 'Wow, this is a city I am proud of."
He believes the city of La Crosse has some fantastic aspects including landscape and ecology, but the number one thing is the people.
"Whenever I have traveled or visited other places, and talked to people from elsewhere, they always say, 'La Crosse is so community minded,' and you can see it in the number of charities we support and how people came around with food and fundraising this year to help with COVID," said Schneider.
Schneider explained that one thing that sets him apart from the other candidates is his energy.
"Where I'm coming from is a place of fresh, new perspective and robust energy," said Schneider.
He doesn't have to care for a wife or kids which means that he can go to work for the city and give all of his time and effort which is something he believes is a very valuable asset.
"I am going to work harder for you and I am going to bring people together and we are going to coordinate, whether it's with COVID or homelessness, we are going to go and we are going to listen to everyone," said Schneider. "All your opinions matter. Let's get together and let's come up with solutions to the roads, to the homelessness, to addiction."
Schneider explained that growing up in La Crosse provided him with a firsthand experience in the city unlike any other. He has seen different aspects of the city that need improved with his own eyes.
"Interacting with regular people and getting to know friends in La Crosse, and neighbors and talking to them, really gives me roots, and I can feel where and what is important to the people," said Schneider.
The primary for mayoral candidates is February 16, with the general election in April.
Schneider hopes everyone gets out to vote, no matter who it's for.
Learn more about the other candidates for La Crosse Mayor: