Eau Claire County Board District 16 seat contested

Eau Claire County Board District 16 seat contested

David Mortimer and Neighbor John Farwell
David Mortimer (right) greets neighbor John Farwell as he campaigns for the Eau Claire County Board District 16 seat. Voters go to the polls on Tuesday, April 5. © 2016 Cruzin Perkins

Editor’s Note: Reporter Cruzin Perkins attempted to interview David Mortimer’s opponent in the District 16 race, Kasey Grams, but the two could not find time to meet in person before the election.

By Cruzin Perkins

In sunshine or in rain, David Mortimer is out to greet all the community as he campaigns to win the right to represent District 16 on the Eau Claire County Board.

“I have resigned my boards and committees, so if I’m elected, I can step into the position,” David Mortimer said.

According to the Eau Claire County Board, District 16 encompasses the area bounded by the following streets: Water, Chippewa, Menomonie, North Clairemont, Cameron and part of Nicholas Drive This district used to be a family area, but has turned into a college-renting platform, Mortimer said.

Mortimer is a fifth generation member of the Eau Claire area and a District 16 homeowner for 11 years. Mortimer’s occupation is overseeing federal grants for health systems for over 3 million people in both Wisconsin and Illinois. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and is a father of three children.

A neighbor, Carolin Irgens, called Mortimer a great guy and said he is  well-known around the community for helping in his neighborhood.

“I really hope he gets on board,” Irgens said.

According to County Board Supervisor and past District 16 representative Joel Mikelson, Mortimer is an active community member and well-regarded. He praised Mortimer for helping area Amish. Mortimer helped local Amish help fight for their first amendment, as the county was going to enforce smoke detectors in their house, something that would go against their religion.

“I have lots of respect for David and his help with the Amish,” said Mikelson. “He had nothing to gain from helping, he’s just a good person.”

Mortimer is running for County Board for the first time and has Mikelson’s endorsement. Mortimer explained that Mikelson had represented District 16 on the County Board for years and was waiting for someone he trusted enough to take his place. He remembers Mickelson approaching him one day at a county board meeting and asking why he wasn’t a county board supervisor. Mortimer said he had to think about the opportunity and about taking on an “extra part-time job.” After talking it over with his family he decided it would be a great experience.

“Yes, I’ll do it, if you endorse me, Joel,” Mortimer says he told Mikelson.

If elected, Mortimer said one issue that will have his attention involves roads. Roads are a big challenge right now in Eau Claire compared to other cities in Wisconsin, he said. He added the county is already in debt, partly because of the road struggles. According to the Eau Claire County Finance Department, Eau Claire is one of the five counties in Wisconsin to have the largest debt.

“Good roads are like the backbone of our community,” Mortimer said.

But before Mortimer can join the county board, he will have to face Kasey Grams in the upcoming election.

“I have a competitor,” Mortimer said. “I told her come April 5, I will be your county board supervisor OR you will be mine.”

If elected, Mortimer said, he knows he will have to prove himself. Recently the former county treasurer and his assistant were convicted of embezzlement. It was a betrayal of the public trust and the county had already spent thousands of dollars out of a contingency fund, he said.

“It would be good to look at other cities that had embezzlement situations and find out how they worked to prevent any kind of future embezzlement,” he said.

People like Micah Cooley, who has known Mortimer for all his life, are excited by the possibility of seeing Mortimer show his passion to fight for the community.

“He truly has the desire to improve upon his community,” said Cooley. “As well as a sharp mind to accomplish just that.”

Voting for districts will be held on April 5. District 16 voting will be held in the Pentecostal Assembly Church, 9 9th Ave. More information about District 16 and other board seats up for election can be obtained at www.ci.eau-claire.wi.us. Anyone voting will need a photo identification.