Board Candidate Questionnaire – My Responses

Board Candidate Questionnaire – My Responses

For all candidates:

  • Why are you running for the board?

Because I love the Village of Fall Creek, its people, the whole environment, and I think I can make a good difference here if given the chance. While I lost the primary for the school board, I can still be a write-in candidate, and I’m still on the ballot for the village. I think there’s a chance to really make a difference!

  • What areas for improvement do you see in any areas under the board’s purview?

Both Boards: Video recording and publishing of the meetings and their related info packets and implementing my “Take a Break Act”.

Village Board: I’d like to scour the ordinances with a fine-toothed comb and take out all the stuff that doesn’t make sense, and the stuff that’s getting in the way of the Village being more prosperous. Also, while debt is considered normal for most municipalities, I’ve never been a fan of it. It’s essentially giving money away to your borrowers. While sometimes necessary when we’re in dire need of fixes/upgrades, I’d like to see the Village put a ten-year plan in place to get out of debt, and to plan and budget for future expansion, rather than let us dip into the hole again.

School Board: I’d like academic curriculum to be an open discussion at regular board meetings, rather than shunted behind closed doors to committees. I’d like the budget reworked to handle facility maintenance and other required operating expenses first, and then move right to direct teacher needs before even considering the expansion of new purchases or equipment. Our teachers and students shouldn’t have to beg for money from the community to educate and be educated.

  • Presumably if someone is on a board, or wants to be on one, it’s because they want to make a positive impact on the community. What’s the biggest positive impact that you would like to see?

I’d like the community to be able to both have pride in itself AND be able to take constructive criticism that’s conducive towards improvement and growth, without that pride getting hurt, or turning defensive. I don’t see these two things as mutually exclusive. I don’t think that pointing out areas for improvement should hurt our pride or make people enemies. We should be able to have civil discussions and disagreements about important topics without taking personal offense. I hope to be able to show that by putting my ideas as well up on the chopping block.

For those not currently on the board, but seeking to get on it:

  • What plans do you have to affect change, and why are these changes needed?

Increase governmental transparency, communication, and accountability. They are necessary because our local boards so far have adopted largely a “pull” mentality that expects their citizens to come to them if they want to know anything. I believe in a “push” mentality that advertises out loud everything that the local government is doing. Government should attempt to be always completely transparent and communicative wherever possible.

  • To run for this position, you must believe that a change needs to be made and are working to replace at least one sitting board member. What makes you a better candidate for the position than the current sitting board members that are running to maintain their seats?

I have a unique and different way of looking at the world from most other people. Late into my adult life, I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, and it made a lot of sense to all the problems I was having with connecting with people on an individual level. I just think differently. I think this is a HUGE benefit, as it lets me look at situations and issues from a variety of different angles that might not occur to others or might seem outlandish and ridiculous to others. However, sometimes those “unusual” ideas and out of the box thinking are just what’s needed to affect positive change.

  • How many board meetings have you attended in the last year? If none, why not? If you have attended meetings, what questions have you asked and/or what input have you provided to the sitting board?

I’ve attempted to attend every school and village board meeting that I could, and I’ve recorded them and posted them on my website for everyone to see. I’ve asked multiple questions at village board meetings to offer different perspectives or to support citizens that had concerns. The school board, I have not spoken in front of, as I needed to learn a bit more about how it works, since it appeared to be much more “un-debated”. If you look at the village board meetings, you’ll see many more civil disagreements and discussions, which I see as a good sign of a thriving collection of leaders that have differing viewpoints. If you look at the school board meetings, you’ll see a lot of “business as usual”, with the board going through the motions and just voting “yes” to everything with VERY little, if any, discussion or debate. That to me seems like five followers and one leader, rather than six leaders.

  • What have you done as a private citizen thus far to attempt to improve this community?

I’ve provided the video recording service I mentioned earlier. Beyond that, I’ve tried to collect as much information and data that I could and publicize it, such as information packets for the board meetings, so that everyone can see what’s going on. I’ve also personally donated a little over $3500 to help fund 19 projects from 12 different educators for the Fall Creek School District over the past three years because I want our great teachers to have all the resources they feel they need to excel at teaching our kids! However, our teachers still need even more funding, as there’s still constant continuing requests coming in, as well as a very full Amazon Wish List that has yet to be tackled.

Board Candidate Questionnaire

Board Candidate Questionnaire

I’ve constructed the below questionnaire for all candidates for all governmental boards. Questions that I would like my candidates to answer, and questions that I would expect to answer to the public if I was running (which of course I am). So that the people know that you’re not just voting for a name and a smile, but rather for someone that has shown some substantive leanings. I’ve tried to formulate the questions in a “generic” way so that they can apply to a broad range of elections and a broad range of candidates.

I will provide my own answers to the appropriate questions on my own separate page a little while later. I invite all of my fellow candidates to post any and all answers to these questions in any way they choose, in any format that they choose, on any platform that they choose. I will also gladly and willingly answer any other questionnaires that anyone else requests that I answer. This is just mine.

If a candidate chooses to provide these answers directly to me at my e-mail address (, I will gladly post their answers here to provide them a platform as well.

For all candidates:

  1. Why are you running for the board?
  2. What areas for improvement do you see in any areas under the board’s purview?
  3. Presumably if someone is on a board, or wants to be on one, it’s because they want to make a positive impact on the community. What’s the biggest positive impact that you would like to see?

For sitting board members:

  1. What specific positive changes have you individually made so far, and what others do you have planned going forward?
  2. What distinguishes you from other sitting board members? What makes you a different kind of representative to the board that’s not already covered by any sitting board member? What do you offer that other board members do not?
  3. What specific questions have you raised that have created more thoughtfulness in board decisions? What were the outcomes of those questions?
  4. Why do you think others have decided to run for your position? What have you done, or do you have planned to address their concerns and reasons for them to be running?

For those not currently on the board, but seeking to get on it:

  1. What plans do you have to affect change, and why are these changes needed?
  2. To run for this position, you must believe that a change needs to be made and are working to replace at least one sitting board member. What makes you a better candidate for the position than the current sitting board members that are running to maintain their seats?
  3. How many board meetings have you attended in the last year? If none, why not? If you have attended meetings, what questions have you asked and/or what input have you provided to the sitting board?
  4. What have you done as a private citizen thus far to attempt to improve this community?
Spring 2023 Primary Results

Spring 2023 Primary Results

Below are the results of the Spring 2023 Primary, as per Eau Claire County Clerk’s office:

I would like to congratulate Mmes. Kurtz, Geske, Anderson, and Mattson, who are continuing on to the general election. Obviously, I will not be joining them. As the lowest vote recipient, I’m out.

My percentage of the vote dropped a substantial 60.93%, from 16.97% of the vote last cycle to a mere 10.34% of the vote this cycle, while at the same time the total number of voters actually increased by 162.82%. In fact, I received one less vote than I did last cycle, when I was running alone against Mr. Wright, which saddens and surprises me, as I spent roughly eight times more time out there, pounding pavement, knocking on doors, and listening to and talking with my fellow community members, all at the expense of my own family’s time with me.

I will still be waiting and watching for the Village Board election results when that time comes after April 4th, but as I received half as many votes for that board last time as I did for the school board, I won’t be holding my breath.

This is, frankly, disheartening to me, to fare so poorly. I understand that my presentation can be abrasive, and that I’m often times saying things that people don’t want to hear. It’s only because I care so much that I say these things, because I feel that they need to be said when nobody else seems to be speaking these truths. Everything that I do comes from a place of trying to improve things, to make them better, for our children.

However, the electorate, my fellow citizens, don’t believe that I am the one to fill that role this year, and I must accept that.

I will continue to try to reach out to you all one-on-one, time permitting, and to have the conversations that are necessary to learn just what it is that my fellow Fall Creek residents are seeking, so that I can be a better representative to you, and try to understand what it is exactly that you all are looking for. I’ve been told during my campaign that the people want to hear only positive things, fluff and smiles, and that they turn on ANY serious discussion or criticism, even constructive criticism, and that I was foolish to try to bring up such things. I didn’t want to believe that, as I was more optimistic about my fellow citizen’s desire to have serious civil discussions about important topics regarding the District’s well-being. I never was one to hold a “Pollyanna” viewpoint about things, I’ve always tried to be a realist. But, perhaps these results are proof that I was wrong, and that that viewpoint is what is actually desired by the people.

Regardless, with this utter failure, I can no longer justify spending so much time away from my family to attend and record meetings that the electorate does not appear to want me at. It is my hopes that the boards will voluntarily pick up this practice, and push to increase transparency in our local governments. I still believe that there is a deep-rooted desire in our hearts for us to know what’s going on around us, and not just what decisions are made, but HOW they are made.

I am not going away, I never will. I care too much to do that. However, I will be substantially quieter for the near future, and perhaps that’s for the best for everyone. My only regret is that I won’t be in any position to serve the community for the next year in a way that I’m confident that I could have done well in, if given the chance.

Village President Nominee Letters

Village President Nominee Letters

It was brought to my attention that both nominees for Village President had sent letters to Fall Creek citizens. While I find it strange that I wasn’t included on these mailing lists, as I’ve been a resident for over a decade, I’ll have to assume it was a simple mistake.

Luckily, a kind citizen has given me access to these documents, so I have scanned them and provided them here, for anyone else that was left off of their mailing lists:

Tri-County Area Times – My Questionnaire Responses

Tri-County Area Times – My Questionnaire Responses

**CORRECTION** I made the incorrect assumption below that the Tri-County Area Times had successfully contacted all nominees for the School Board. After it being pointed out to me that this was incorrect, I double checked my physical copy of the paper (which you can buy at Fall-Mart if supplies are still there!), and discovered that the editor only successfully contacted myself, AnneMarie Anderson, and Amy Kurtz. Jess Mattson and Jill Geske were NOT contacted.

The Tri-County Area Times e-mailed all of the candidates for School Board and asked them the same questions. Below are the questions, as well as my responses to them. Please don’t forget, that the primary is tomorrow! 7AM-7PM. You should be able to register the same day if you need to, as long as you bring a form of picture ID and proof of Fall Creek residency!

1). What criteria and qualities will you be looking for in hiring a new Superintendent for the Fall Creek School District?

Fall Creek has had an excellent program of celebrating and advertising the District’s successes. I would like to see our new Superintendent continue that tradition. They should also be a person that is focused on academic success, first and foremost above all other things, as that is the primary purpose of the school district – to educate our children, the best that we can. They should be intimately knowledgeable in the way that the Department of Public Instruction judges schools, and seek to use that knowledge to support continual, measurable improvement. They should have integrity, believe in full transparency, and be honest and unafraid to talk about areas for improvement.

2). What aspects in terms of how the District functions are you satisfied with and like to keep the same and are there things that you would like to see changed or improved?

Our office staff and educators are excellently professional and very good at what they do. They also care deeply about the success of our children, as I do. That does not need to change. 

What I would like to see changed however, is the Board of Education itself. It should act as a check and balance for the Superintendent, rather than a rubber stamp for their policies. While not necessarily adversarial, a good Board of Education should be filled with passionate people that represent a cross section of the electorate. There should be strong, deep discussions about the challenges facing the District, and vigorous but civil debate should not only be tolerated, but in fact be fostered and encouraged.

Transparency should be strongly encouraged, and if I get on the Board, I’ll push to have it codified in the Board’s written policies that all meetings will be video recorded and published on the District’s website, along with the informational packets that the board members receive at the start of the meetings. I would like to see these packets provided to the public BEFORE the meetings, so that the citizenry can make educated comments at the start of Board meetings before the issues are discussed and voted on by Board members.

Additionally, I would like to put forward what I call the “Take a Break Act”, which would set term limits on Board Members. These term limits would, however, NOT be absolute. Board members would be able to serve two consecutive terms, and then must wait for one full term before running for office again, at which point they can run for another two full terms before taking another break. In this way, the Board of Education and community can reap both benefits of having new blood, new ideas coming into the Board periodically, as well as the benefit of retaining the wisdom of Board members that wish to keep serving our community.

3). How can the Fall Creek School District benefit from the growth in the Chippewa Valley region (Eau Claire-Chippewa Falls-Lake Halle-Altoona) especially in terms of gaining new students?

I don’t think that a School District should be attempting to reap the “benefits” of any growth that may occur in the Valley, nor attempt to chase any specific growth in its student population. What I call “The Fallacy of Perpetual Growth”, I actually see as large a problem in our society that causes organizations to continue to push for greater continual growth, while at the same time gutting their internal resources to fuel that growth, making their staff do more with less. I call this “The Jenga Effect”, and it inevitably results in the collapse of the organization. Enron, KMart, and WorldCom come immediately to mind as examples of this. This is short term thinking.

I would rather have our District practice long term thinking and prepare itself to handle the natural ebb and flow of the community’s population. Rather than focus on growth, focus on bolstering its own internal resources, improving on what they already do, which is to provide an excellent education to all students of the Fall Creek area.

2023 Spring Primary Nominees

2023 Spring Primary Nominees

Here’s a list of the current nominees for school board for the primary tomorrow, in ballot order, with links to their webpages and/or an “official” posting of their candidate statements. (*) Indicates incumbents:

Amy Kurtz – Personal Facebook, Candidate Statement
*Jill Geske – Personal Facebook, Candidate Statement
*AnnMarie Anderson – Personal Facebook, Candidate Statement
Jessica Mattson – Personal Facebook, Candidate Statement
West Bennett – Candidate Facebook, Candidate Statement

Fall Creek Water Rate Change

Fall Creek Water Rate Change

For all those concerned (as I was initially) with the rate increase on our Village water rates, I strongly recommend that you visit the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin’s Electronic Records Filing System, and read the documents for our own Docket (ID 1920-WR-105).

Here is a direct link to the docket and its documents:

I think the most important documents to note are:

It is a great wealth of information, and I believe that there would have been substantially less public outcry if such information was pushed out to the public throughout the process. We should consider doing so in the future. As it stands right now, it appears that the Village relies largely on a “pull” process, where citizens must request information (which they may not even be knowledgeable enough to know to ask for!), rather than a “push” process, where the information is pushed out to all residents.

A more informed community, is a happier, healthier, and better community, in my opinion. I hope that we may all learn from this process, and be better for it going forward. I’ve certainly learned much that I didn’t know before.

Endorsements and Promises

Endorsements and Promises

I’ve been giving thought to standard campaign practices lately. Two of them are campaign endorsements and promises. I’d like to talk for a moment about each, if I may.


Frankly, I don’t believe in them. They amount to a form of peer pressure, and I find them insulting to myself and my fellow citizens. The concept of endorsements suggests that citizens are too ignorant to make their own choices, and must rely on the opinions of others to form their own thoughts. I believe that anyone that pushes endorsements or seeks them thinks less of myself and my fellow citizens. I think more highly of us than that. I think we are wise enough to look at each candidate on an individual level, and decide for ourselves the measure of their worth and their words, and decide for ourselves whether we align with that candidate on the issues.

To that point, I will neither seek nor give any endorsements. Now, you may see some of my signage around town and consider this a hypocrisy to my previous statement. I, however, do not see these as endorsements, but rather as citizens that believe in free speech and have decided that the message on my sign is inoffensive enough to be worth being posted publicly. I do not expect their vote, nor do I expect them to pressure others to vote for me. A person with my signage on their lawn may or may NOT be voting for me. They may or may NOT believe in anything that I say or write. They just believe that information should be spread, so that the electorate has the ability to make the wisest choice possible.

I would be happy to share lawn space with any of my “competitors” for office, and I invite any local candidate running for Fall Creek office to place their signage on my lawn. More information is always better than less. When it comes to the state or national levels however? That’s where I have to be a bit more “choosy” because of how strongly tribalism has invaded those realms.


Promises can be hard to keep when you are in a governmental body that contains more than just yourself. Making outlandish promises like that you’ll make X or Y happen can just lead to disappointment if others in that body don’t share your views. As such, it would not be wise to make such promises. However, what I can promise is my own behavior.

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