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Wisconsin's presidential primary and spring general election is April 2, 2024. Here's a guide on Milwaukee-area candidates and information on how to vote.

Meet the candidates for Wauwatosa mayor

Left to right: Incumbent Dennis McBride and Andrew Meindl

What does Wauwatosa's mayor do?

The mayor of Wauwatosa presides over city meetings and has input over policies and budget. The mayor also acts as the city's chief spokesperson, presents the annual budget to the common council, appoints members to citizen committees and more.

WUWM sent a questionnaire to the mayoral candidates to help inform voters' decisions. Their responses below may be edited for length and clarity.

Dennis McBride (incumbent)

Dennis McBride
Courtesy Dennis McBride
Dennis McBride

What do you feel has been your biggest or most significant impact as mayor? In 2020, my first year as Mayor, Wauwatosa faced a pandemic, ongoing protests against the police, a mass shooting, and other crises. Under my leadership, we weathered those crises and came out stronger. When I was elected, I promised to maintain the City’s financial strength, preserve our neighborhoods and parks, invest in our roads, sewers, and other infrastructure, and welcome all people to live in, work in, and enjoy our community. I’ve kept my promise. Our population is growing and getting younger and World Atlas just named Wauwatosa one of Wisconsin’s best places to live. This is a proven record of success.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issue in Wauwatosa and how do you plan to address it? Under Wisconsin law, a city’s mission is to provide water, roads, garbage collection, police and fire protection, etc. The challenge is how to pay for those services. Wauwatosa is one of only a few cities with an AAA bond rating – which means we manage our budgets well and keep our debt low – but because the Legislature only allows a city’s property tax levy to increase by 1% each year, every year we have to overcome a structural budget deficit. Unless the Legislature allows levies to rise with inflation, within several years, we might have to begin reducing services. I will continue to work with other mayors to advocate for needed change.

With new county sales taxes, how would you help make Wauwatosa an affordable place to live? The sales tax is not what is making housing unaffordable; the problem is the lack of housing. Following the Great Recession, the number of units built fell significantly, causing buyer demand to exceed housing production. Last year, County Executive David Crowley said, “When I was sworn in three years ago, I was determined to move Milwaukee off the list of most segregated communities in the country. Partners like Mayor Dennis McBride [have] championed our efforts to invest $15 million in federal funds to create affordable housing in their respective cities.” During my term, Wauwatosa has approved six different affordable housing projects.

With the RNC, so many eyes will be on Milwaukee County this year. What is the one thing you wish people would notice here — and why? As someone who lived on the East Coast for 10 years, I am well aware that most people who reside on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts have no idea how large and beautiful the Great Lakes are. When 50,000 visitors come to Milwaukee for the RNC this summer, they will be astonished by Lake Michigan’s size and beauty and how beautiful Milwaukee is. For those state delegations who will be staying in the City of Wauwatosa’s many fine hotels, they will also be delighted by Wauwatosa’s architectural diversity and our charming “Village” commercial district.

More information: Website

Andrew Meindl

Andrew Meindl
Courtesy Andrew Meindl
Andrew Meindl

What impact do you hope to have as mayor? I will leverage my urban planning and policy background as mayor to enact significant change. With a decade of federal public service experience in grants, program development, and project management, I'll work to address issues such as housing affordability, reckless driving, and Climate Change. Inclusive governance will prioritize resident input, while investments in sustainability and safety aim to enhance livability. I'll promote market rate/affordable housing and ensure fiscal responsibility by halting taxpayer-funded developer subsidies for luxury apartments. My focus remains on core services like fire, police, and public works, ensuring residents' well-being.

What do you consider to be the most pressing issue in Wauwatosa and how do you plan to address it? The status quo needs to be improved. Extensive door knocking reveals a harsh reality: many young Wauwatosa families and fixed-income residents face being priced out. The city's rising annual debt worsens this challenge. Referendums may be necessary to sustainably fund essential services and schools due to state levy limits and limited revenue sharing. Wauwatosa must prioritize core services such as fire protection, police public works and increase affordable housing. Hiring a grant writer and implementing programs such as Property Tax Assistance for fixed-income residents can help amidst limited revenue options.

With new county sales taxes, how would you help make Wauwatosa an affordable place to live? To enhance affordability in Wauwatosa, I propose a comprehensive approach. Firstly, administrative incentives for developers and stakeholder partnerships bolster affordable housing; secondly, programs for fixed-income residents are needed. Increased public transportation improvements cut commuting costs while backing local businesses fosters economic growth. Stakeholder collaboration ensures community involvement, aiming to make Wauwatosa an affordable, inclusive community with housing options for all. Last, operating city government sustainably will reduce operating costs and reliance on the tax base.

With the RNC, so many eyes will be on Milwaukee County this year. What is the one thing you wish people would notice here — and why? I hope visitors notice our vibrant and resilient community spirit in Milwaukee County. Despite challenges, we unite with unwavering support, compassion, and determination. From grassroots initiatives to cultural events, our diversity thrives, showcasing our rich heritage and unity. There's much to explore, including attractions like the Harley Museum, SummerFest Grounds, Public Museum, and, of course, attractions across Wauwatosa. Through it all, I hope visitors recognize our resilience and the strength that defines us, reflecting the heart and soul of Milwaukee County.

More information: Website

Your feedback will help inform our election coverage.

Eddie is a WUWM news reporter.
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