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Getting Pandemic Under Control Is No. 1 Priority For Democrat Amanda Stuck

8th Congressional District Candidate Is Challenging GOP Incumbent Mike Gallagher

Rep. Amanda Stuck
State Rep. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton, will run for Congress in Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District. Photo courtesy of Amanda Stuck for Congress

State Rep. Amanda Stuck, D-Appleton, says as a parent and part-time substitute teacher, she recognizes the burden COVID-19 has placed on families and school districts, and argues better leadership is needed to address these challenges.

In an interview on “The Morning Show” with host Kate Archer Kent, Stuck said getting the pandemic under control is the No. 1 issue she would like to address if elected to the 8th Congressional District, which covers the northeastern part of the state, including Green Bay, Appleton and the Fox Valley.

Struck is running against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher of Green Bay.

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This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Kate Archer Kent: Let’s start with the three things that top your agenda.

Amanda Stuck: One of the reasons that I got into the race was because I had received a letter from a constituent who had written to me about his wife’s breast cancer and being afraid of what would happen if the Affordable Care Act went away.

He had written to myself as his state representative and Mike Gallagher as his congressman. And when I got that letter, I called him, and he said he had never heard a word back from Gallagher. I thought that was really unacceptable.

I got into the race for things like health care, for constituents writing letters like that, who have had to face surviving breast cancer just to worry about insurance or who write to their congressman and can’t get a response.

But certainly since the pandemic, that really has become the main issue, because it impacts everything, whether it’s our schools, our economy. Literally, every part of our system has been touched by the pandemic. And so addressing the pandemic, getting us through the pandemic truly has become the No. 1 issue.

KAK: The counties that you would represent have some of the highest rates of the coronavirus infection in Wisconsin. If you are elected to Congress, what do you want the federal government to do to bring the pandemic under control?

AS: The biggest thing we need is leadership and people who are really willing to model the appropriate behavior during these times.

Some of the biggest mistakes we saw in the handling of this was getting rid of staff and offices that were supposed to be in charge of watching out for this, to give us a heads up, so we could prepare and respond appropriately.

So we need to make sure that we actually do take those positions seriously and have those staff in place ready to do their job.

The other thing is having leadership that is willing to be honest with the people that it serves. When we hear that the president knew about this but didn’t want people to panic or didn’t want to tell people, that’s concerning. We need leadership that will be honest.

We also need leadership that is willing to do the right thing and not play party politics. When we have Republicans that simply don’t want to follow mask orders or look at lockdowns, even though we know the science says those things would help get this under control, that’s a problem. We need people who are really willing to come to the table with serious solutions.

KAK: I want to look at the economy. Both Green Bay and Appleton have lost more than 10,000 jobs over the past year. What should Congress do to help the economy, both nationally and here in Wisconsin?

AS: Of course, the biggest thing is addressing the pandemic. Even if the economy is open, we have this virus going around where employers can’t keep employees because they get sick, or they can’t keep customers because customers do not want to patronize businesses because they are afraid they’re going to get sick.

So getting through the pandemic, taking this seriously, making sure we’re doing everything we can to find a treatment or a vaccine or anything we can find to get through this is the No. 1 thing to address in the economy right now.

Right now, of course, we also need to look at some sort of second stimulus package, because this is going to have long-term effects that we aren’t going to fix right away or easily. We need something to address the small businesses that are hurting right now.

We probably need to do another round of PPP (Payback Protection Program) loans. And that is also not even just for small businesses, but for health care providers that are struggling right now.

KAK: You’re a part-time substitute teacher. And some health officials argue that schools should remain virtual due to the pandemic and it’s creating an enormous hardship on and burden on working families, leaving many students behind. How should our country approach education during the pandemic?

AS: This is something that I understand both as a parent who has kids who are attending school virtually and as a teacher in the classroom. The truth is there are no good answers to this.

Ideally, everybody would just stay at home and not be together at all. But especially because of choices by Republican leaders in the past, we simply don’t have an economy that can support that. People don’t have savings. People don’t have security. They have to work or they won’t eat. And so somebody has to care for their children.

Many school districts don’t have the broadband, technology or funding they need to do things more virtually.

We need leadership that takes this seriously and will either help get those resources to those districts or be a better leader in terms of fighting this virus.

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