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Democratic governor candidates express ideas, concerns on variety of topics (copy)

July 9, 2018

With the primary election less than a month away, locals had a chance to hear what six Democratic candidates for governor had to say at a forum Sunday at the Reedsburg CAL Center.

Democratic candidates Matt Flynn, Mike McCabe, Josh Pade, Paul Soglin, Kelda Roys and Kathleen Vinehout provided their views on a variety of topics including roads, public education and internet access.

Each candidate was given three minutes for introductory remarks, two minutes to answer each question and three minutes for a closing statement. Michael Crute of The Devil’s Advocate Radio served as moderator of the forum. Questions were submitted by the public through the Reedsburg Area Concerned Citizens facebook page and were narrowed down by the group to ask the candidates during the forum.

All candidates spoke out against FoxConn, expressing concerns about the environmental impact and pledged job growth of the $4 billion project and ways they would renegotiate the contract or stop the process altogether of bringing the Twaniese electronic manufacturer from coming to Racine County.

Candidate Mike McCabe said the deal is a representation of corporate welfare at its worst and the “wrong approach to building a study economy.” Vinehout said the money used for the project be used elsewhere for communities and there is uncertainly with the project.

“There’s nothing in the bill that could gives any promise of jobs, there’s nothing in the contract that gives any promise of jobs,” Vinehout said. “There’s no environmental impact statement so we don’t know what the impact is about this absolutely huge company.”

On the topic of roads, infrastructure and transportation candidates had answering ranging from re-indexing and increasing the gas tax as well as creating more of a plan to pay for proper upkeep. Others spoke against Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to turn down over $800 million in federal money for high-speed railroads.

Candidate Josh Pade said a 10 to 20 year plan, instead of to a plan during a two-year budget cycle or four year term, to create sustainable roads and structures for all communities around the state.

On the topic of agriculture Candidate Matt Flynn said more local control needs to be restored to communities and counties on the decision of allowing corporate farms. McCabe, who comes from a family farming background, said it “breaks his heart” to see the way agriculture has evolved to include massive scale farms rather than small, family owned ones and should include more protection for communities from possible environmental concerns.

“We have to protect the neighbors of these operations,” McCabe said. “We have to commit ourselves to a model of agriculture that is sustainable for the land, the air, the water, for the animals and for the people of our state.”

When the topic switched to public education with budget cuts to K-12 schools, expansion of private voucher schools and the cost of college and technical schools, Soglin said creating more of a quality education for students is critical. The mayor of Madison said Walker has had a “string of lies over his political career” when it comes to education funding and not understanding the importance of a quality education for students.

Pade said he is not for expanding the voucher school system, adding vouchers do not work should be phased out.

“We need a governor who is actually focused on education,” Pade said. “We can’t have another election where Scott Walker defines the issues. We need to define them. We can define them on education and that means 100 percent funding our education system.”

The event was hosted Reedsburg Area Concerned Citizens and sponsored by the Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Our Wisconsin Revolution of Sauk County and the Democratic Party of Sauk County. Reedsburg Area Concerned Citizens Chairperson Judy Brey said the reason to host the forum is to bring to candidates to Reedsburg to give the public a chance to make an “informed choice” in the August 14 primary election.

“It’s to bring these candidates to our home so people can easily get here and hear what they have to say,” Brey said.