Election 2018: One-on-One with Incumbent Cathy Dugan
By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — With the primaries closing in, we recently spoke with incumbent Cathy Dugan as she looks to keep her spot as District 8 alderperson.
A former activist, Dugan is currently on the campaign trail handing out leaflets, speaking to constituents, and attending as many events as possible to meet with Stevens Point residents. If re-elected, Dugan seeks to work towards a transparent government, hold more neighborhood meetings in District 8, and improving communication between city alders.
What Are Some of the Biggest Issues Facing Stevens Point?
“It’s multi-faceted; it’s sobering, and that’s assistance for vulnerable citizens.”
Dugan pointed out a United Way ALICE study, which pointed out the many needs of those impoverished in the community. Dugan not only wants to further address this issue for many in the community living in poverty, but hopes that such discussion will lead to a city resolution on creating a living wage for residents.
“It’s something that we don’t all see, and we’re all not aware of. The jobs here are mostly service or retail jobs, and they don’t pay a lot.”
“In terms of vulnerable citizens, we have transgender people; LGBTQ people who need some protections, particularly in the area of housing, but perhaps also in getting jobs. Public Protection Committee has discussed that and we actually have an ordinance that we’ve created to protect transgender people and housing. Another group that is vulnerable is folks that can’t or don’t drive. To help them get around I am a supporter of the bicycle and pedestrian plan, as well as additional sidewalks and bike lanes when necessary; and transit and bus services.”
Dugan touched on the opiate crisis facing the state and community, and would like to address not only the opiate and drug overdose problem, but even the issue of alcohol abuse. Dugan seeks to introduce proposals to provide housing and shelter for those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
“Our police have asked for extra staff just to deal with the drug problems. What can the city do? We can support our police and support our fire department and give them as many resources as we can afford.”
What Will You Bring to City Government?
According to Dugan, she not only brings the ambition to help those in need, as well as government experience, but she hopes to introduce the idea of work sessions or roundtables in her second term, if re-elected.
“These are open meetings with specific agenda items and for discussion only. Here, unlike in a regular Council meeting, the members may speak to each other with few constraints. Some of the issues discussed may advance to a committee agenda where action could take place.”
Your Vision for Stevens Point?
“We need to improve quality of life for folks who just don’t have it. We had a wonderful housing study done where every neighborhood was looked at…we have older houses of character that needs assistance in getting re-done. The Community Development Director has put together five different ways to improve the neighborhoods by improving the property maintenance, improving the structures and the housing themselves. There are also ways to give financial assistance; and ways to return homes to a single-family homes.”
Dugan would also like the economic growth over the past year to continue.
“We’ve had excellent growth in the city in the past year, and there’s more to come in the new year. It really looks good, and it’s wonderful to see — new businesses coming forward and a number of them owned locally, like Skyward. Service Cold Storage added on to their place, Sentry Insurance putting up an enormous new building — just renewing that entire north-side area. We have Oso’s coming in to the east park center; there are lots of good things that can happen when the economy is good and investors are willing to go out on a limb.”
Why Should Residents Cast Their Vote for You?
According to Dugan, it comes down to continuing the path set in motion for what in her mind is a bright future for Stevens Point.
“I’m really pleased that we have good money managers; we’ve got wonderful economic and community development director; we’ve got a mayor that knows the ins-and-outs of everything, and he’s excellent in communicating it all. I think he’s got a council right now that supports a great deal of what the city is doing, and I want to continue to be a part of that.”