Q. What relevant experience do you bring to the office you seek?
Having served in the Army for 32 years, as a health care administrator and commander of a large instillation, I gained experiences that you just can’t replicate. I want to bring this expertise to Washington so I can tackle the major issues facing our nation. Whether it’s health care, veteran care, protecting farmers or making our military strong, I have the experience to take these challenges head on. A lifetime in Washington can’t compete with the real world experience a career in the military creates.
I grew up here in Western Wisconsin on a farm and learned at an early age the importance of the agriculture industry. And I am a farmer now, owning farm land right here in the 3rd District. I experience first hand many of the challenges that the families are facing every day.
Q. The American Society of Civil Engineers says Wisconsin motorists spend $2.0-billion per year in costs from driving on roads in need of repairs. Name a specific measure you would support that would bring in more money for road projects.
Instead of looking for new revenue sources we need to examine how we are spending the money we already have. We also need to review regulations that are outdated and burdensome. Many of these unnecessary regulations can drive the cost of construction up with little to no benefit. As with many functions of government, both at the state and federal level, we need to look at ways to reduce costs instead of asking the taxpayers to contribute more.
Q. State aid to local school districts has been reduced, or remained flat for the last few years. Leaders of local school districts say that has resulted in stagnant teacher pay and reductions in educational programs that students need and want. Some worry that we are losing our best and brightest teachers to neighboring states. So many local school districts are now going to voters, asking them to pass referendums that would allow these schools to raise local property taxes to make up the difference. In your opinion, is this the best and most fair way to fund these projects? If so, what is the role of the state to provide further assistance.? If not, what, specifically, would you do to provide more state aid to local schools and where would that money come from?
How we fund our schools is a major challenge facing our country. Again, we need to look at how we are spending those dollars instead of looking to the taxpayers for more. Administration costs have gone through the roof and we need to ensure that dollars are being spent in the classrooms directly educating our children. We also need to ensure that parents have options for getting their child an education. Wisconsin has done a great job being a pioneer for the choice program and expanding it statewide. We need to continue this effort here in Wisconsin and across the country. Every child deserves a great education but just throwing more money at it won’t create the great schools we deserve.
Where the federal government can get involved is to provide more funding for diversifying the educational opportunities locally. We need more technical training in our schools so students are prepared for the wide array of jobs that are available. Education can’t be a cookie cutter approach, we need a diversified approach. While doing this, we need to reduce many of the crippling regulations and oversight of the Federal Department of Education. The states should be able to provide the education that the people need.
Q. What makes you the best candidate to represent your district?
I’ve fought and served around the globe to protect our freedoms here at home. When it was time to retire, I could only think of one place to return to, Wisconsin. I was born and raised here and learned the values that served me well in my military career. It is not my goal to be a career politician like Ron Kind. I want to serve my country again by representing the 3rd District in Washington. We need more people who answer the call to serve, then return home after a short time. I want to be a citizen legislator who truly represents their constituents.
Q. What do you think should be the top priorities for the state and your area over the next decade? If elected to office, how would you advance those priorities?
Here in the 3rd District, we need to ensure that the agriculture industry remains strong and farmers have the resources they need to sell their products at market. Instead of providing handouts, we need to remove overburdensome regulations and government intervention. Farmers here are like any other industry, if the government gets out of their way, they can accomplish great things. Western Wisconsin feeds families across the country and world. We need to ensure that this tradition continues for generations.
My goal is be appointed to the Agriculture Committee to be able to directly benefit the farmers here in Wisconsin. Being on this committee would allow me to directly shape future farm bills and shape trade deals that allow our farmers to access new markets.