Q. What relevant experience do you bring to the office you seek?
Over the better part of the past decade, I have worked as an advocate for students, women, and working families. As staff for the American Federation of Teachers, I spent thousands of hours working with parents, students, educators, elected officials, and local community leaders on ways to improve public education. Democrat, Republic, or Independent—it doesn’t matter when it comes to finding common sense solutions to benefit our kids or grandkids.
I spent nearly a decade working with people from all over the political spectrum to find real solutions to urgent issues in the workplace, our communities, and in local school districts. As someone who knows how to bring people together to find real solutions to our most pressing problems, I will bring that same experience and commitment to the Capitol.
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.
I believe we need to put all options on the table to address the transportation funding crisis we are facing. Wisconsin has the 6th worst roads in the nation. That is unacceptable. Our poor road conditions have a large impact on my district. When I am out knocking on doors, I hear about how it is negatively impacting people’s daily lives–everything from running errands to a farm business struggling to bring their goods to market. We need to find a sustainable, long-term funding solution for our transportation infrastructure. Anyone who has driven on state roads recently knows how dire the situation is. One policy we should look at is the gas tax. Revenues have gone down since we stopped indexing the gas tax to inflation over 10 years ago. Increasing gas tax revenues and returning to indexing should be explored.
We must work together across the aisle to figure this out. Once elected, I will sit down with any Democrat, Republican, or Independent to fix our crumbling roads and bridges.
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?
Fully funding public education must be a top priority for our state government. Forcing local districts to continually go to referendum for needed resources is not a sustainable way to fund our schools. Our children deserve a world-class public education from kindergarten through high school graduation. Governor Walker’s actions, from Act 10 to drastic funding cuts, have limited school resources and have hurt teacher retention rates. We need to show teachers we honor and value their profession to ensure we keep the best and brightest. As state representative, I would make it crystal clear that students, teachers, administrators, and parents are my focus as a legislator.
Budgets are about priorities. Over the past 7 years, the Governor and legislature have prioritized tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest among us. I would focus on the working families of Wisconsin with a strong emphasis on public education.
Q. What makes you the best candidate to represent your district?
At a time when healthcare costs are skyrocketing, it is time to send someone to Madison who understands what it means to have your economic situation change overnight due to a medical emergency. At a time when public schools are under funded and under attack, it is time to send someone to Madison who is a proud public school graduate and knows how to work to improve public education. At a time when family farms are going bankrupt at record rates, it is time to send someone to Madison who values a strong rural community and will fight for family farmers. And at a time when wages are stagnant, and families are struggling to get ahead, it is time to send someone to Madison who will reject corporate influence and has real experience fighting for working families across Wisconsin.
I am that candidate and will use both my professional and personal experiences to fight for a world class public school system, Badgercare for All, good paying jobs, and a vibrant rural economy in the 67th and across Wisconsin!
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?
All Wisconsin families deserve to have access to great opportunities that give them a fair shot at success. That’s why I believe we need to make public education, healthcare, infrastructure upgrades and good paying jobs a top priority in the 67th assembly district and across Wisconsin.
Once elected, I will fight for a fully funded public education system, and support debt free technical education and higher education. It is a disgrace that our public education funding levels remain below 2011 levels. As a state representative, I’ll work to restore funding to our public K12 schools, technical colleges, and UWs.
Healthcare costs are rapidly spiraling out of control. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Madison have rejected federal Medicaid expansion dollars, costing tax-payers hundreds of millions of dollars. Once elected, I will support Badgercare for All and push for the Governor to accept the federal Medicaid expansion dollars. This would guarantee that everyone in Wisconsin has an affordable healthcare option.
Our bridges and roads are crumbling, and yet we continue to divert funds away from rural infrastructure projects and into the Foxconn plant and SE Wisconsin. Additionally, many of our rural communities do not have access to high speed internet, school buildings need upgrades, and local utilities need modernization and repairs. That’s why I support passing a 21st century infrastructure improvement bill to upgrade our local roads, bridges, and utilities. I believe that by fighting for infrastructure upgrade investments in the 67th, we can create good paying jobs, attract business growth, and save tax payers money.