Oct. 11, 2018 87th State Assembly Debate

Air Date:
Heard On Route 51

87th Assembly Race Involves Same Candidates As 2016 Election

Republican Incumbent Says He’ll Retire From Office When He Completes His Agenda

The November election in the 87th Assembly District in northern Wisconsin involves the same candidates in the 2016 race.

The incumbent James Edming, R-Glen Flora, has represented the district since 2014.

A believer in term limits, Edming said he plans to limit his own term, he just doesn’t know when.

“There’s a lot of issues that I want to continue, and when I get these done, I’m out of here,” he said. “How many more I’ll go, I don’t know, but I believe in term limits. When I get finished what I want to get done, I’m gonna jump ship and go out and have fun with antique automobiles.”

Edming has a background in farming and business. He authored the Employment First Act, which helps residents living with disabilities find work. He said there is a need to improve transportation for disabled residents living with disabilities. He also said he wants to make some unspecified changes to the state Department of Natural Resources, and improve broadband and cell phone service in the district.

His opponent is Elizabeth Riley, D-Hayward, who ran as a candidate for the 87th Assembly District in 2012 and 2016. Riley, a full-time nurse, said she’s running for office again to take Wisconsin in a new direction.

“We’ve had Republican rule for quite a few years now,” she said. “All I see are funding cuts to schools, funding cuts to health care and a dismantling of the DNR to the point its unrecognizable.”

Riley said her platform includes clean air and water for everyone, improved access and availability to health care and a solidly funded public education system, including K-12, technical college and the University of Wisconsin System.

She’s opposed to the state paying for private school vouchers.

“They have admission criteria that excludes a lot of people. They don’t have to pay for special education. What they can do is take special education children and ship them to the public schools,” Riley said. “If you look nationwide at the research, those schools (private voucher schools) perform no better than public schools.”

Edming defends the private voucher system that has expanded to all private schools in Wisconsin in recent years.

“It’s not a zillion kids. As a rule, they go through kindergarten up to fifth, sixth grade, some of them go to junior high. Most of them, it’s the elementary, really the age where you can really indoctrinate kids and make certain they’re going on the right track,” he said. “It’s the parent’s decision.”

Edming defeated Riley by nearly 10,000 votes in the 2016 election.

The 87th Assembly District includes all of Rusk and Taylor counties and parts of Sawyer, Marathon and Clark counties.

The election is Nov. 6.

-John Davis

Episode Credits

  • Rich Kremer Host
  • James Edming Guest
  • Elizabeth Riley Guest