Amanda Paffrath, 54, is running against Michael Schrader in the spring election. She is running for the Racine Common Council District 4 seat. The election is taking place on April 5.
Paffrath lives in Racine, Wis. She has been a resident of Racine County for 50 years, minus the time she spent in Madison for college.
To read more about other races and candidates visit the Racine County Eye Election Guide Spring 2022. The following answers were provided by Amanda Paffrath on Feb. 2, 2022.
Questionnaire: Amanda Paffrath
Have you ever held an elected office position before?
In thinking about your election bid, what top three issues need to be addressed?
I want my constituents to know that their Alder is accessible, listens, and is responsive – and that I will represent the residents of the 4th District with their interests in mind. Too often elected officials only reach out to their constituents when they are up for re-election. I want the residents of the 4th to know that I am accessible and care about their interests and challenges.
I also care greatly about protecting the lake, our parks, and the environment overall. We know that global warming is already having an impact with higher lake levels and stronger storms – like the one that ravaged Pershing park drive and the zoo pathway a few years ago. As a City we need to build up our infrastructure to handle such storms in the future and we need to take steps to make sure we are lowering our carbon footprint to be a part of the solution to climate change.
I want to also promote Racine as a positive place to live, work, and play. As a downtown business owner I know how special our downtown is. As a resident in the 4th District I see every day the joy our lakefront and Zoo bring to locals and visitors alike. And as a region between Milwaukee and Chicago we are an incredibly affordable lakefront community to live in, compared to our surrounding neighbors. As a city we need to do more to market ourselves as such, and attract more people to live within the City boundaries.
How would you plan to address those issues?
As an Alder, it would be my job to keep up to date with community-based initiatives and be an ally to those working at a grassroots level to make Racine a better city. We need to share information about city initiatives, programs and plans proactively with our residents. We must invite our residents to actively participate in city government and to advocate for ideas, policies and businesses which improve peoples lives and increase the vitality of the City.
In reference to those issues you have identified, what would success look like to you?
Success means that more of our residents would feel informed and be engaged. The City would be adopting policies to make sure we protect our green spaces, and be working to lower our carbon footprint. We would be marketing Racine broadly and more people would be moving to the City because they are finding out what a great and affordable City we have.
Why are those issues important to you?
My family and I live here, our business is here, I care about my fellow citizens and our city’s sustainability. District #4 encompasses diverse neighborhoods and some of the most important landmarks and attractions in Racine – the lake, zoo & parks. I choose to live in this city, returning after college, and I am proud to call Racine home.
At the end of your term, what would you like to have accomplished?
At the end of my term I hope to have built relationships with others in the district and formed a bridge to share ideas and information between residents and the city. Concerns around Lakeview Park have recently engaged this district and I hope to have worked with the community and city to create a plan for improvement of the park.
Why should people vote for you?
I am a thoughtful, proven leader with a long-standing commitment to the betterment of Racine and its residents’ lives.
What is your educational background?
Racine Unified School District 1971-1981
The Prairie School 1982-1985
UW Madison Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & Social Welfare 1989
What civic organizations do you belong to?
As an artist and co-owner of Hot Shop Glass I contribute my time to create and donate auction items to help raise funds for many local organizations including Empty Bowls, The Racine Friendship Clubhouse, the Racine Zoo, Eco-Justice Center, Racine Art Museum and Downtown Racine Corp as well as other community fundraisers.
Is there anything else you would like voters to know?
I began my post-college career when I returned to Racine and was hired as the volunteer coordinator at Women’s Resource Center. I continued my social justice work in domestic violence intervention in Kenosha before opening Funky Hannah’s Beads in downtown in 1997. I met my husband singer/songwriter Mark Paffrath while I worked at the shelter and he as director of the now Racine County Food Bank. I continue to be one of his biggest fans.
Election Guide 2022
Learn more about the other candidates running in this election by viewing the Racine County Eye Election Guide 2022.
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