Q. Most agree that higher education is key to having a strong country, yet in Wisconsin, the average student debt has skyrocketed in the last decade. The Institute for College Access & Success says it went up 74% from 2004-2014. What is the role of the federal government in ensuring that higher education is affordable and accessible?
Right now in Wisconsin, there are more than 100,000 job openings than unemployed Wisconsinites. Small businesses need workers and eager to hire people who are trained to do the job. We can’t afford to have anyone on the sidelines, and that means we need our kids to be ready for the twenty-first century economy. I believe we need more transparency in the education system. Before the Governor instituted a tuition freeze in the UW system, tuition for students exploded 118% over the prior decade. I think if you’d talk to a lot of professors, they wouldn’t say that their pay went up 118% or the cost of producing their books went up 118%. That money has been going somewhere else: universities throughout the state (and I suspect throughout the country) continued to build new administration buildings, cafeterias, tennis courts, pools, and other lavish features. Our kids deserve better than to pay for college administrators’ pet projects. Not only do our students deserve more transparency, they deserve more choices in education. (Maybe a four-year degree in philosophy isn’t going to warrant the best return on investment in the twenty-first century economy.) I’ve worked to expand Career and Technical Ed and Fab Lab opportunities that connect students with potential employers. That way, students can learn in-demand skills that they can use immediately to build a rewarding career.
Q. How, in your desired role, would you help revitalize the economy, strengthen the middle class, create jobs and ensure fair taxation?
I’m running to continue to fight for policies that help Wisconsin families achieve the American Dream. I’ve fought to lower taxes for Wisconsin businesses and workers. As a result, a typical Wisconsin family will receive a $2,508 tax cut, jobs are coming back from overseas, and workers have more opportunity. Just a few years ago, we saw “Going Out Of Business” signs because small businesses throughout Wisconsin could not handle the taxes and big-government regulations that liberal politicians put on them. But now businesses have “Now Hiring” signs in their windows and there are 100,000 more job openings in Wisconsin than unemployed people. Because of the reforms I’ve fought for, we now have a blue-collar recovery, and more people in Wisconsin are working than ever before, wages are rising, and the future is brighter for our kids and grandkids.
Q. Do you agree with the President that the current trade wars with China, Canada, and Europe are the best way to advance American interests?
Make no mistake, other countries have been taking advantage of America for decades. China, Europe, Canada, and Mexico have exploited the United States when it comes to trade, and have taken wealth and jobs out of our country in the process. President Trump has made clear that the United States will no longer be the world’s piggy bank. China steals our intellectual property to the tune of $600 billion a year. Canada’s unfair trade policies have specifically hurt Wisconsin dairy farmers. And Europe distorts their pharmaceutical markets to force Americans to pay more for life-saving drugs. These are serious injustices, and President Trump has enacted tariffs in order to get free and fair trade for the American people. We are already seeing successes from that tough stance. For example, under the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Wisconsin dairy farmers now have access to Canadian markets that they never had before. American workers and farmers can compete with anyone in the world if they have a level playing field. And we must continue to fight to make sure that they have that opportunity.
Q. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has been roundly criticized for making routine health care less affordable for millions of people who already had insurance through their jobs. Deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket maximums have risen dramatically, coverage has been reduced and premiums are higher for many. At the same time, the act has provided coverage for millions of people who did not have insurance. How, specifically, would you change the ACA to make it better? Where would the money come from? And how would you ensure that no one ‘falls through the cracks’?
When Democrats passed Obamacare, they said, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” And, “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” They also said that premiums for a family of four would go down by $2,500 per year. These were all lies. Wisconsin families lost access to plans and doctors they liked, and premiums for Obamacare plans shot up 93% in just a few years. And now liberals, admitting that Obamacare has been a total failure, asks the American people for even more control over our healthcare system. That is flat-out insanity. We need a patient-centered healthcare plan that puts control between patients and their doctors- not Washington bureaucrats. I’ve specifically advocated for plans that lower premiums, increase competition between providers, maintain pre-existing condition protections, reform Medicaid, and preserve Medicare. I will continue to fight for healthcare policies that accomplish these goals.
Q. What do you think this nation’s priorities should be during the next decade? If elected, how would your office advance those priorities?
We must continue this blue-collar recovery and ensure that our kids and grandkids are able to thrive in a twenty-first century economy. We aren’t just competing with Michigan and Minnesota anymore. In today’s economy, our workers need to be able to compete with China and the rest of the world. That means making sure that the government does not take over our economy, because that strategy – no matter where on earth it has been tried – fails. Instead we must safeguard and strengthen our free-enterprise system. You and your family know what to do with your money better than Washington does. In order to help more Wisconsin families achieve the American dream, I will continue to fight to lower the cost of healthcare and expand educational options that lead to good-paying jobs and rewarding careers. But in order for our economy to continue to thrive, our nation needs safety and security. That means we must secure our border, fully fund our military, and stand strong against tyrannical regimes like Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia who want to see America fail. We must continue to take a proactive stance against radical Islamic terrorism. When President Obama deemed ISIS the “JV Team,” they quickly and brutally established a large caliphate in the Middle East. We must make sure they’re never able to do that again.