LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Tuesday night’s big race in the Coulee Region was for La Crosse’s next mayor. It was close, but Mitch Reynolds beat Vicki Markussen by 205 votes to become the 43rd mayor in the city’s history. First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff spoke with the mayor-elect about his plans for when he takes office.
The ballots have all been counted and Mitch Reynolds is the 43rd mayor of the city of La Crosse, and as Reynolds prepares to take office in just a few weeks, he has a handful of initial priorities he would like to focus on as he prepares to lead a city that he’s lived in for 25 years.
“Whether that be the housing issues that we’ve talked about, quality and affordable housing across the city of la crosse, flood plain, the Shelby Boundry Agreement,” said Reynolds.
One of the immediate issues facing the area is the PFAS contamination affecting residents of French Island, Reynolds believes more information is needed before a plan can be developed.
“We need to get a better understanding of how far and how extensive the contamination is, we need to make sure that we’re doing good data analysis on all the testing that’s being done,” said Reynolds.
The School Resource Officer Program is another ongoing topic in the city. Reynolds says he will meet with the district and police chief but will defer to the school district. He knows there are challenges awaiting him; Reynolds says he’s ready for them.
“I don’t know if I have a 1a and 1b, and I don’t think the job of mayor is something where you can have a 1a and 1b,” said Reynolds.
Of the city’s nearly 33 thousand registered voters, about 91 hundred voted in the mayoral race. Reynolds says continued engagement is needed for those who didn’t participate.
“It’s clear by that level of turnout that there is maybe a sense that there’s just not as much engagement and they just don’t trust the process perhaps,” said Reynolds.
While La Crosse didn’t elect its first female mayor, Reynolds wants women to know their voices will still be heard.
“We are really welcoming of making sure that we empower voices including women and empowering diverse voices in the city as well, I think it’s an important message,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds won the election by 205 votes and says he will serve all members of the community.
“There was always going to be a lot of people that weren’t going to vote for me, that was always going to be the case, and my message to them is the same as it was before that I’m still going to be your mayor,” said Reynolds.
Mitch Reynolds will officially be sworn in on April 20. In La Crosse, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine.