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Wisconsin State Journal (copy)

Incumbent Tom Clauder and challenger Matthew D. Jones are vying for a two-year term on the Fitchburg City Council for District 4, Seat 7, in the April 2 election. (I) indicates incumbent.

Tom Clauder (I)

Age: 67

Address: 2583 Norwich St.

Family: Married to Mary Kay Clauder, two adult daughters, four grandchildren

Job: Retired Fitchburg police officer

Prior elected office: Dane County Board, 10 years; mayor of Fitchburg, six years; Fitchburg City Council, two years

Other public service: Past member of AFSCME, Local 333; past member, Wisconsin Professional Police Association; life member of Wisconsin Law Enforcement Officer’s Association; past President of Wildwood South Neighborhood Association; board member, Madison Elks Lodge No. 410; past member Operation Lifesaver; involved with Wisconsin Council on Highway Safety; past member of Lions Club and volunteer for Special Olympics; recipient of City of Fitchburg Life Saving Award; recipient EMS Commission Service Award; recipient of Dedication and Service award and Athletic Hall of Fame award from Madison Area Technical College

Education: Associate degree from Madison Area Technical College

Matthew D. Jones

Address: 5152 E. Cheryl Parkway, Unit 101

Family: Married to Jennifer Ullman

Job: Computer-aided design technician and planning consultant

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: President and co-founder, Bike Fitchburg (since 2015); member, Fitchburg Transportation & Transit Commission (since 2016); board member, Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (since 2019); member, Madison Area Transportation Planning Board, Citizen Advisory Committee (since 2016); member, North Fish Hatchery Road Community Liaison Team (2018-2019); certified licensed instructor, League of American Bicyclists (since 2013); fundraiser and participant, Bike for Boys & Girls Club, Cycle for Life (cystic fibrosis) and Tour de Cure (diabetes, since 2013); guest speaker, “Planning for Kids” STEM program at Whitman Middle School, Wauwatosa (2016); Team Leader for Student Design Competition, Milwaukee Public Schools (2008-2009)

Education: Master of Urban Planning, UW-Milwaukee; master of public administration, UW-Milwaukee; B.S. in Urban Studies, UW-Oshkosh

Q&A

What makes you better qualified than your opponent for this position?

Clauder: I have the experience needed to serve another term as the District 4 council member. Having served as Fitchburg mayor for six years and a Fitchburg police officer for 26 years has given me good insight into the issues facing the city now and in the future. Being a Fitchburg resident for 31 years, I have seen the growth we have experienced and at the same time have helped achieve some of that growth.

Jones: My education in urban planning and public administration, my experience in zoning, economic development and comprehensive plan development make me a well-qualified candidate. However, my commitment to engaging residents and responding to their concerns, my contributions to the city to date, and my ability to bring new ideas to council to face city issues and opportunities make me an ideal candidate.

What could the city do better and how would you help achieve that?

Clauder: Fitchburg is a vibrant and growing community. Our long-range comprehensive plan needs to be redone. This plan will serve as a guide for responsible growth and development. I will encourage citizen participation in this process. We must welcome more businesses to the city which will provide good employment opportunities and help increase our tax base.

Jones: Elected officials need to establish a better dialogue with residents, be responsive, open and accountable. Residents feel shut out of the decision-making process. Creating open lines of communication between city residents and me will be integral to my service on City Council — it is crucial to establishing confidence and leads into deeper, positive conversations about residents’ concerns.

How will you address growth in the city?

Clauder: The city has to have a balance of housing options, including single family homes, condos and multifamily units. Our transportation routes and roads must keep up with this growth. Encouraging large businesses to locate in Fitchburg, such as Promega and Sub-Zero can bring new residents to our city with the job opportunities they provide.

Jones: I understand the key variables that determine how the city diversifies its economy. Our Comprehensive Plan is a great guide for the growth of Fitchburg. Fostering workforce mobility, access to education, and affordable rental or owner-occupied housing leads to a strong local economy. We need to maintain conditions in our city that encourage job creation and expansion.

[Editor's Note: This report has been updated to include the correct photo of Matthew D. Jones.]

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.