Catherine Emmanuelle - Eau Claire City Council
What is your occupation? Community volunteer, trained civic engagement coach, non-traditional UWEC student (Women’s Studies, Economics), and proud parent to a free-thinking 5 year-old.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Salted Caramel Truffles from Obsession Chocolates –hands down!
If you could choose a theme song for Eau Claire, what would it be? Peaceful World by John Cougar Mellencamp. “If you’re not part of the future then get out of the way…”
It’s Saturday afternoon, what are you doing? Aside from talking with Eau Claire voters, you’re likely to find me and my daughter at Blake Lee’s Chocolate and Sweets store on Water Street – a $1 shopping spree goes a long way for a little kid!
What’s the most adventurous thing you did in your youth? I got to travel to all 50 states when I was 19 years old.
Who is your role model? Mamie Till-Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, because she took a personal tragedy as a catalyst for change in public life. It is somebody like her that gives me the courage to have honest public dialog. We cannot adequately address the needs and concerns of our communities unless we’re willing to have an honest dialog about it. We cannot close the door on honest discussion; we cannot suture up the things that may look ugly. Bring it to the surface – let’s talk about it. Only then will we have the opportunity to grow and flourish in the way our citizens want us to do.
What three things can’t you live without? Owen Park, Hot Lady Grey tea with cream, and Chapstick
What place in the valley considers you a regular? The Goat Coffee Shop
What’s your favorite Chippewa Valley building? Phoenix Park farmers market pavilion.
Do you think Eau Claire should have a mayor? This is an issue that has strong opinions in our community. This is a question for constituents and our job as leaders is to provide meaningful ways for open dialog about any changes that would affect our governing structure.
What frustrates you about the city? Not enough regular people involved, which is why I am running. We need ordinary citizens with extraordinary leadership skills to work with and be government leaders.
What is one idea you have to make this a better place? Find ways for leaders to be more accessible to our community. If elected, I plan on taking the lead on this and being accessible to our citizens through “Constituent Chats with Cath.”
What do you want to tell locals when they complain about the conditions of roads? Meet with city staff – educate yourself on the issue. Review how other communities have solved this issue. Check out resources regarding best practices from municipality journals, associations, etc. And be a proactive citizen in our community – talk to your council members, talk to city staff – and above all else, find other folks who are willing to work with you in a positive way to address the issue. We can't do it alone, and our council needs citizens who can positively work to find solutions that will work better for all of us.
What specific ideas do you have about the continued revitalization of downtown? We have a strong sense of community that emanates from a strong downtown. This is a result from ordinary citizens having ideas that have partnered with leaders to make this a city that better reflects her people. If elected, I want to explore the possibility of creating Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) to help innovative ideas from new business leaders become a reality in our community.
What will you do to create job opportunities and retain the college graduates? I believe our council must maintain our quality of life in our community to give college grads and new businesses a reason to come to Eau Claire and stay in Eau Claire. The median age of our city residents is 30.5 and we need to engage more young leaders to help promote the vitality of our community.
What solutions do you have for the continued budget issues? I will use the following criteria when examining financial matters within our city: Is it consistent with the city’s mission statement? Does it keep our citizens safe? Will it help us save money or promote economic development?
Let’s say all of these things are on the cutting board: schools, parks, roadwork, and arts organizations. In what order do you try to save them? Schools would be #1 on the list to save. When talking to voters they share that maintaining quality schools in our community is of the utmost importance. Parks, roadwork, and arts are vital to our entire community – and as an elected leader I would work to find creative solutions to preserve these community assets.