Newsmakers, September 25, 2014

Air Date:
Heard On Newsmakers

17th Wisconsin State Senate Candidates Part 1; 17th Wisconsin State Senate Candidates Part 2

Featured in this Show

  • 17th Wisconsin State Senate Candidates Part 1

    The candidates vying to be the next state senator from Wisconsin’s 17th Senate District have different ideas about what it will take to bring more employment to southwestern Wisconsin.

    The district encompasses all or parts of eight counties in the southwestern corner of the state. The position is open for the first time since 1991 when Dale Schultz of Richland Center was first elected in a special election. Schultz chose to not run for reelection this fall, and since the seat is open and the margin in the Senate narrow, (Republicans hold an 18-15 advantage) both parties see this as a key race.

    State Rep. Howard Marklein of Spring Green is the Republican candidate who has been a lawmaker since 2011. Marklein says while employment is an issue in the rural district, there are plenty of well-paying jobs in the district for people who qualify for them.

    “I can give you example after example in this district where there are openings for good paying jobs,” Marklein said. “And right now, their (businesses) biggest concern is just having somebody who can pass a drug test and show up for work.”

    He says other than encouraging young people to look at a technical college education that could lead to a position like welding where there’s great demand, he’s not sure what the state legislature can do about that problem.

    He says to help with job creation, the legislature can work to get rid of arcane regulations that stand in the way of business.

    The Democratic candidate is attorney Pat Bomhack of Spring Green, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold and former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.

    Bomhack says Wisconsin’s economy has been faltering in his estimation because Republicans in Madison have controlled all of government for the past four years and have created policies that have benefited large corporations and the super-rich, who aren’t in the 17th District.

    Bomhack says his plan to create more jobs involves investing more in rural Wisconsin.

    “We have to repair our rural roads,” said Bomack. “Improving our information systems, our telecommunications systems by expanding broadband internet, and reinvesting in our local public schools for the long-term.”

    WPR is featuring the candidate’s views on a number of issues in separate interviews. This interview is with Howard Marklein.

  • 17th Wisconsin State Senate Candidates Part 2

    The candidates in Wisconsin’s 17th Senate District race don’t agree on whether or not the state of Wisconsin’s fiscal situation has improved in the last four years.

    Four years ago the Legislative Fiscal Bureau said the state faced a $3.6 billion budget deficit, and while state Republican leaders say they’ve righted Wisconsin’s financial ship, that same Legislative Fiscal Bureau which takes a non-partisan view of legislative action is predicting a $1.8 billion deficit heading into the 2015-16 state budget.

    For 17th Senate District candidate Pat Bomhack (D-Spring Green) the priorities are out-of-whack, with too much interest placed on corporations and not enough help for Wisconsin’s middle class.

    “The program of austerity and starving the state economy that we’ve seen and giving these big corporate giveaways is a recipe for what we now see as a nearly $2 billion state deficit,” said Bomhack.

    But Marklein (R-Spring Green) has a much different opinion about Wisconsin’s fiscal picture. He says four years ago, when he was first elected to represent Wisconsin’s 51st state Assembly District, Republicans corrected many budgeting problems that Democrats were responsible for: like raiding the state’s transportation and patient’s compensation funds to help balance the general budget, and failing to pay millions of dollars to the state of Minnesota as part of an income tax reciprocity agreement.

    “I want to make sure we don’t go back to those methods that were used in the past,” said Marklein. “We need to make sure that the budget is truly balanced and that we aren’t using any accounting gimmicks to balance the budget. I will pledge to do that.”

    Bomhack and Marklein are competing for an open seat after current state Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) chose not to seek reelection. They made their comments in separate interviews with WPR. A link to Bomhack’s interview is available on this page.

Episode Credits

  • Maureen McCollum Host
  • John Davis Producer
  • Howard Marklein Guest
  • Pat Bomhack Guest