Charlene Warner

Q. What relevant experience do you bring to the office you seek?

I bring a wealth of experience in business, finance, franchising, real estate law, ethics, sales, training and negotiation to the job of being the next representative of the 93rd Assembly district. Added to that, is the vast experiences of being a mother, grandmother, family manager, 4-H, and community leader. Should you meet me, you will discover a well-rounded, well informed, strong woman. I have an excellent Wisconsin education and am well-traveled. I am a calm, level-headed consensus-builder who will work for and vote for the interests of this community over special interests or party. I have not previously held elected office, but I have been campaigning for ‘people first’ candidates both locally and nationally for the last 50 years. I staunchly follow the last 6 words of the Pledge of Allegiance; “And Liberty and Justice for All”. I am eager to meet you and listen to your concerns.

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.

There are no easy, one-measure fixes for a problem that has existed for decades. First would be to examine and redirect existing transportation revenue. Gas taxes, traffic fines, and registration fees all need to go to road and bridge funding, and that funding needs to be returned to its source. No funds for transportation to be used outside of long term infrastructure needs. It’s time to bite the bullet and do actual replace, repair and relocation if necessary. It is also time to look at how the money is spent, and find better, less costly methods and materials. Look to quality repairs that will last 20 years rather than a 1-2 year patch job. I fear the starvation of state monies to our counties and towns has been a systematic effort to replace local transportation efforts with private industry groups. I am absolutely against private investors in our state roadways, in any form.
Federal funding needs to repair and rebuild our Interstate Highway system here in Wisconsin. Everyone looks to increase gas tax and that likely must be an option, but some states have started to tax the wholesale price of fuel while others are funding transportation with an added retail sales tax or even taxing the miles traveled. Wisconsinites who travel to Illinois always talk about adding toll booths. That is a favorite option for the southeastern part of the state where it seems that all roads lead to Foxconn.
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?

School districts are being forced to bring referendums to their communities because the present funding system in our schools is unfair and biased. We need to revise the funding system immediately to be fair and open. Unfortunately, today the referendum process is the only alternative for a struggling school district to find needed funds because of the state imposed levy restrictions. Additionally, many of our schools are dealing with more structural and building issues than ever before. Yes our teachers are leaving the state, morale is down, and education degrees are dwindling because the state appears to be against public education. Our schools were shorted by $792 million dollars in direct state aid from 2011 to 2018. The funding in 2019 will actually be lower, adjusted for inflation than the funds paid out to our schools in 2011. Where did all that money go? Frankly, it did not lower my property taxes as promised, and it was not used to increase pay or buy school materials. The state allots over $7,000 per student, per year to schools in theory, but the system is not transparent. The state pays each school differently based on many factors. For example, charter and voucher schools receive over $7,200 per student, per year. If a student transfers to a charter school, but decides to return to their public school two months later, those funds do not return with the student. Unfortunately, the charter schools do not have to comply with the same rules and regulations as a public school but the Public school cannot turn down that returning student due to lack of funding. Additionally, it is very difficult to know the amount invested in your school per student as the funding system is not easy to determine. Why does the Pepin School District receive half as much per student as the Durand School District—yet tax bills show the same percentages? The funding system in use is totally unfair and slanted toward charter and voucher schools which have not demonstrated higher test scores or more college-bound students. We should evaluate, regulate, and/or close the charter and voucher schools that do not comply with state standards.

Q. What makes you the best candidate to represent your district?
I am a consummate problem solver, and a person of constant curiosity with a willingness to learn. I bring a new and fresh perspective to state government. Those elected to the Assembly must be prepared to aid their constituents in any number of problems. Problem solvers are born to do just that. Each issue can be approached from many different perspectives to find just the right solution. My basic instincts and values lead me to always do the right thing and find an amenable solution to whatever issues/problems arise. I will gather information from our district and follow the interests of the people. I do not come to this election with any hidden interests or secret agendas. I am eager to serve my community to enhance the welfare of all. I will be a strong voice representing our rural communities in Madison.

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?

1. More transparency in all government actions. No more closed door meetings or public hearings with short notice. Take the issues to the people.

2. It’s time to accept the Medicaid expansion money before we lose more of our citizens to the surrounding Midwestern states and then add Badger Care for all.

3. Invest in quality, fairly funded education as it is the gateway to economic opportunity.

4. Enact automatic voter registration and allow voting by mail. It is the responsibility of an open government to make voting a much respected and easy task for all its citizens.

5. Raise our minimum wage in a responsible manner, i.e. most root beer stands in many small towns cannot pay $15.00 per hour, nor should they.

6. Create opportunities for family farms to prosper and grow.

7. Work to create more and better jobs along the Mississippi River corridor where so many people would like to live and work.

8. Help students refinance their college loans and offer our future small town teachers scholarships to Wisconsin Universities.

9. Protect City, Town and County interests by removing restrictions to local controls.

10. Embrace climate change problems and bring Science back to our DNR, which will help protect our water and land resources in every form every day.

The best way to advance these priorities, which will benefit all of us, is to stop supporting those leaders who are only interested in private enterprise– those who believe that corporations are more important than people. It is time for a change in Wisconsin.

WQOW Staff

WQOW Staff

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