Friday, August 12, 2011

Issue #19- August 12, 2011 Final Senate Recalls and Candidate Information

What This Is…
Issue #19- August 12, 2011, Next Week's Elections, The Candidates Speak and It's Not All Roses in Wisconsin.

Volunteer Opportunities…
We are entering the final weekend for the Senate recall races.  There are two Democrats being recalled with the elections being held next Tuesday.  In order to maintain the gains that were made in the Senate on Tuesday we need to defend the Democrats who are facing recalls. 

Of the two races, many feel that Holperin's will be the closest.  I haven't seen any recent polling data for either race, but the Democrats had the lead in each one at last check.  However, the nature of these special elections is such that it is difficult to get accurate information and it is essential that as many people are contacted to increase the turnout for Tuesday's elections.

Here's some information about how you can help.

*Phone Banking at the Labor Temple
            Saturday 8/13 10AM-8PM
            Sunday 8/14 Noon-8PM
            Monday 8/15 1PM-9PM
            Tuesday 8/16 10AM-8PM

*Canvassing in Antigo and Rhinelander (Sen. Holperin) starts Saturday 8/13 with carpools leaving the Labor Temple at 9:30 AM and 11AM.  These locations are 3+ hours from Madison so plan accordingly. 

*Canvassing in Kenosha (Sen. Wirch) is also on Saturday with carpools leaving 9:30 AM,  11AM and 1PM each day until Tuesday.

Contact information if you have questions or are interested in volunteering are:

Kevin Gundlach - Labor Temple  770-4295 
Jennifer Giegerich -Rhinelander 608-213-1406,

District 12
Kim Simac (R) vs.
Jim Holperin (D)
Senator Holperin is facing a Tea Party candidate in Kim Simac.  As a result he is also facing the large amounts of money that the Tea Party and its supporters can generate.  Tim Dake, chair of Wisconsin Grandsons of Liberty, stated, "It has been on our minds and in our plans for two years now to have someone from the tea party movement in the state Senate."  They started a PAC called Taxpayers Hoping for Change and are running TV and radio ads.  Dake added that, "We see some of the things we want to get done, getting done.  But we need more voices inside the Capitol.  A win by Kim Simac would give us that."
This PAC is joined by other Republican supporting groups like Americans for Prosperity in using their financial influence to gather support for the Republican candidates. 

Simac's campaign hasn't shied away from the support. 

Given that we are already struggling with any type of bipartisan efforts here, do we really need to add a senator who is part of a movement that has shown itself to be incapable of working with others? 

Simac has been content to avoid direct debate with Holperin for most of the race.  In fact she avoided multiple efforts to get her into public forums even during the Republican primary race.  This has been a major issue with voters in the district.  While canvassing for Holperin last week, several citizens voiced concern to me about her unwillingness to communicate directly with the voters.  Interesting given that she is basing a significant part of her campaign on the fact that Holperin left the state and didn't adequately represent his district earlier this year. 

She finally did debate with Hoperin recently.  Here are a few excerpts:
On state aid for rural school districts:

Holperin: I support and have tried to get additional funding for rural schools. I also support state superintendent Tony Evers' fair funding for our future plan because that formula would be fairer to northern Wisconsin. The beauty of Evers' formula is you don't have to put any more money in it to make it work...It would simply reallocate (current state aid amounts). The reallocation would help more school districts in northern Wisconsin. I think we ought to go to work on it, and make sure it gains some traction going into the fall legislature. I think it would be good for this state.

Simac: I will have to continue to fight to make sure we get as much money as we can for smaller schools. We definitely have to bring jobs to the area so schools can stay healthy (in terms of enrollment). I'm concerned with Evers' plan. I think it will knock the budget out of balance. I think it would be throwing more money at the problem. A formula that would work better could probably be looked at."

She has been quoted as saying she wouldn't send her own kids to public schools and that people who work there are "questionable people".  What "smaller schools" does she refer to?

On a piece of current legislature to either support or challenge if elected:

Simac: I would have to say with all the things I've been looking at, I think you just stumped me. All the things I've been looking at the last couple of months trying to get up on board as a new candidate, I've been trying to stay up on issues, but I would have to say I can't name you a single one right now. I think what I've been working really hard on trying to do is trying to understand what it is people of the Northwoods really need and what it's lacking. That's what I would take to Madison.

Maybe she could work on getting Nixon a pardon.  In February of this year she stated she felt he deserves one.  Apparently the one he already got wasn't enough. 

Holperin: Looking at a short list of bills I've signed on for the fall floor session, one would designate additional enterprise zones in Wisconsin. This would designate an enterprise zone in a rural area, and I would hope we get one of those in northern Wisconsin. There's a bill I've co-sponsored, one for tax credit for hospitality advertising. When you talk about saving costs for small businesses I think that's something we ought to consider. We probably can't afford it. I think we ought to move ahead and get ready for a time when we can afford it. I support, and it's at the federal level, but the state needs to do more to move it forward and that's the sales tax compact, which would require sales tax collection by Internet companies. I think it would help our main street businesses who complain about inequity. That's active at the federal level and something we need to do.

District 22
Jonathon Steitz (R) vs.
Robert Wirch (D)
Senator Wirch's opponent has not been as extreme in his rhetoric, but still holds to the Republican ideals of putting economics ahead of all other issues.  Don't misunderstand my point, the economic struggles we are currently suffering are decimating our country.  However, as with any crisis, there needs to be a balance between addressing any issue and making sure we still protect other areas of importance. 

 Some excerpts from a recent on-line question and answer session.

Comment from 'Guest': 
How would you work to protect our crucial fresh water resources, such as Lake Michigan?

Jonathan Steitz: 
We all recognize that Lake Michigan is a valuable resource for the 22nd District. The Great Lakes Compact was a bipartisan measure and is an important part of protecting Lake Michigan. I think it's important to protect our natural resources, but we need to do it in a way that doesn't hinder job creation.

Comment From 'Tomi': 
How will the average citizen ever be able the fight big corporate money?

Bob Wirch: 
I have introduced legislation to make corporations accountable for their election spending in the state of Wisconsin. Also, grass roots political action is still the best way to fight big corporate money.

Jonathan Steitz: 
The big money in this election is coming from unions, not corporationsIt's the unions that are trying to buy this election with out-of-state money

He might want to double check this statement, I believe that corporate interests have given a significant amount of money too.  

Comment from 'bbking': 
Wirch, where can I find a job where I can go awol for a month and not get fired?
How respectful is this question?

Bob Wirch: 
First of all, AWOL is right wing baloney. I am a workaholic. I worked every day when I was in Illinois, running my office, talking and listening to constituents, solving constituent problems and speaking to the media. It would be the same things I would be doing from Madison or Kenosha.

Comment from 'Nic': 
Putting the amount of campaign money aside, if elected what is your highest priority once in office and how exactly do you plan to accomplish this priority?

Jonathan Steitz: 
My number one priority is fostering an environment to create jobs. I am most passionate about reforming the tax code in this state. The Wisonsin tax code is too complicated. We need to simplify the tax code (which save administrative costs for both taxpayers and the government) and lower tax rates across the board. Taxes have real consequences on job creators. In the last decade, the 15 states with the lowest taxes have created 1.5 million jobs, while the 15 states with the highest taxes (which includes Wisconsin) have lost over 1.4 million jobs.  To restate a point I've made several times.  We do need to create jobs, but the vision for how to do so is very different for the two parties.  Also, I would ask Mr. Steitz what type of job he sees as being created.  Are we talking well compensated jobs or minimum wage jobs with few benefits that make supporting an average family difficult?

Bob Wirch: 
Family supporting jobs and fighting for the middle class. I believe it’s important that everybody is paying their fair share and the policies of this Governor have unfairly targeted the middle class. I will continue to be the voice of moderation that I always have been and oppose extremist elements and policies in Madison.

Another Side to the Story or All isn't Rosy in WI…
Each of the recalled Republicans and other GOP leaders have been putting out information about how their legislation has improved our state.  For example, school districts like Kaukauna saw their budget situation improve.  Of course there are other examples such as:

Wonder why public workers were upset about the Budget Repair Bill?  Not only will we be vulnerable in the future to losses in wages and benefits.  Not only will the loss of collective bargaining mean a loss of control of the workplace.  The effects are even more immediate:

These are examples of what the future will hold for our state unless changes are made.  We are at a crossroads where two very different views of economics, politics and societal values are battling for control.  Each of us needs to look carefully at what we value and how we want our state to look in the future.  Our actions now will shape the world that we will leave for future generations.  People in the past have fought (and died) for the rights that we currently enjoy, are we willing to simply let their efforts fade into historical insignificance?   

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