• Jay Kronenwetter Image

(Editor’s Note:  The following is information that Jay sent me about his candidacy and himself. Biographical background details from him that were in bullet points are presented in prose.)

I was born and raised in Wausau and after law school came home to start my legal practice. Having attended school in some fine cities such as Madison, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, I can confidently express my opinion that the people of Wausau, my neighbors, make this a town with unique benefits and opportunities that no other city can claim. True, we have much we can learn from the experiences of other cities.

Despite our comparatively small size, Wausau is a city of impressive diversity. Diversity of opinions, cultures, civic amenities and economic opportunities have strengthened our ability to grow and attract residents from far and wide who then, in turn, add to this virtuous cycle and increase our ability to adapt to the changing world around us. Diversity also inevitably leads to conflict and disagreement.

Because of our comparatively small size, Wausau has been able to use the institutions of democratic self-governance to harness the positive and mitigate the negative effects of our differences. What I have seen for most of my life in Wausau, is the people of Wausau coming together and creating a vibrant and welcoming community. On the strength of my neighbors, this community has weathered many storms and adapted to economic changes of national and global scale to emerge stronger and more resilient.

Unfortunately, for some years now, select government officials and quasi-governmental entities have worked to freeze the people out of their own government. From the rejection of referendum results, to the concerted efforts to limit access to government records and information, to the packaging of back-room decision making as “independent expert opinion,” to the repeated expenditure of city tax dollars without adherence to open bidding and competitive economic principles, city leaders have routinely tried to alienate the people from the city’s governance. I believe that some public officials have forgotten, or never believed, that they are the servants — not the bosses — of the people.

If elected mayor, I will oppose and remediate this erosion of our local democracy. My main goal is to strengthen our democratic Democracyinstitutions in City Hall and return government to the people. The people’s concerns and desires will no longer be treated as a burdensome obstacles to policy goals. Instead, they will take their rightful place as your next mayor’s primary concern. With better access to information and a responsive leader in the mayor’s office, the people of Wausau can once again lead our way to a better future.

Here is some brief information about some of the important issues I intend to address during and after my campaign.

  • The exclusion of Wausau residents from their own government affairs, in both participation and access to complete policy information
  • The intentional stripping of open records requirements and public accounting on job creation from expenditures of your tax dollars
  • The lack of sufficient oversight and understanding in the mayor’s office of: TIF projects, allocation of federal and state monies, and the problems it’s caused for the community
  • The failure to address local income inequality, the effects of The Great Recession and our woefully low average household income
  • The failure to develop adequate, affordable and science-based mental health services for our residents, including services to address our epidemics of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and alcohol addiction
  • The need to “change course” and focus on a bottom-up consumer-driven economy
    – Trickle-down policies have failed here and elsewhere
    – Businesses depend on sales and revenue. If consumers don’t have disposable and discretionary income, businesses and consumers both suffer.
    – The solution is better paying jobs.
    – Workers are the lifeblood of business. Public and private unions benefit the community and they have a right to their collective voice.

Here is a bit about me. I was born in Wausau in 1979. I was raised on Sturgeon Eddy Road in Wausau. I graduated from Wausau East High School and went on to University of Pittsburgh, earning a BA in Economics and History. I earned a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School and served as a Judicial Intern for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

I was the owner/attorney in Kronenwetter Law Firm from 2007 – 2014. Currently I am an associate attorney with Sommer, Olk & Payant LLP.

My community activities include: Board of Directors of American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. I was also a founding co-chair of Marathon County Treatment Instead of Prison Committee.