One candidate for mayor of Onalaska has had a high public profile lately, heading the drive to build a bandshell at La Crosse’s Riverside Park and organizing the “Moon Tunes” concerts.
Now, Terry Bauer feels ready to try public office.
Bauer, from the WIZM studio Wednesday afternoon, said the idea of running had come up in the past, but the sudden retirement of Mayor Joe Chilsen led to the decision to run now.
“A lot of people have told me, you know, you should be running for mayor,” Bauer said on La Crosse Talk PM, “and I just kind of always blew it off.”
The retired Reinhart Foods employee has lived in Onalaska for 22 years.
Bauer said Chilsen recently gave him some advice about possibly becoming mayor, quoting Chilsen as saying “Terry, you’re a doer, you get things done.”
Bauer said Onalaska’s police and fire chiefs are doing a good job and, if he becomes mayor, he hopes to be able to work with surrounding communities on mutual needs. He also saw promoting tourism in Onalaska as a major priority.
“We’ve got the Black River right below the Great River Landing,” Bauer told host Rick Solem. “Bike trails, hiking trails, all kinds of things could happen in that 40 acres below the city there. How do we get Onalaska on the pecking order of that tourism office (La Crosse Area Convention and Visitors Bureau), to include (the city) in the marketing to another degree?
“I was on that board when we merged Onalaska and La Crosse tourism departments together. Again, that was some synergy that made sense.”
Bauer is the only one of the four running for Onalaska mayor without past experience in city government.
He’ll be on the February primary ballot with interim mayor Kim Smith, and other council veterans Bob Muth and Jim Binash.