Hear from the U.S. 7th District candidates

Gun Rights

Candidates were asked to answer the following questions:

1. Why do you want to serve in this position?

2. What will be your primary focus if elected?

3. The country has seen widespread protests following the deaths of Jacob Blake in Kenosha and George Floyd in Minneapolis. How should the issue of police reform be addressed nationally?

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4. What role should the government play as the COVID-19 pandemic continues?

Age: 62

Address: Minocqua

Occupation: House of Representatives, former small-business owner/operator of Wilderness Cruises, former Willow Flowage Dam tender, former Wisconsin State Senator – 12th District

Education: B.S. in Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Family: Wife: Chris (married 24 years); daughters: Karlyn, Lexie and Katherine

Civic Involvement:

  • Town of Little Rice supervisor (2009-2013)

  • Assemblyman (2011-2013)

  • National Rifle Association, a lifetime member

  • Ruffed Grouse Society

  • Tomahawk Chamber, former member

  • Rhinelander Chamber, former member

  • Minocqua Chamber, former member

  • Oneida County Economic Development Corporation, former board member

1. Growing up on a small dairy farm near Elmwood with my seven siblings, I learned the value of hard work. We pitched in to help with our 50 cows so our family could succeed. After attending the University of Wisconsin–River Falls to earn my bachelor’s degree, I have spent most of my life working in agriculture and business.

My wife, Chris, and I became the owners of an excursion boat business, Wilderness Cruises. For two decades, we had the pleasure of entertaining people on the Willow Flowage, and we raised our three daughters in the Northwoods.

When I saw Madison needed some Northwoods common sense, I went down to our state Capitol to fix rising unemployment and out-of-control budgets. Washington now needs those same common-sense solutions. Now I’m running for Congress to provide these solutions and ensure our children and grandchildren can grow up with the same freedom and opportunity we had.

2. The immediate challenge facing Wisconsinites is the COVID-19 pandemic. We must work to provide Wisconsin families with the bridge necessary to get us through these tough times and back to prosperity. We must protect individuals with pre-existing conditions and expand access to affordable health care, mental health services, and opioid treatment.

It’s also important to understand what led us here so we can stop similar outbreaks in the future. We must end our dependence on China, and strengthen and modernize our medical stockpile to prepare for future pandemics.

Next, we must rebuild the American economy. This starts with safely reopening the Wisconsin economy, and providing our local communities the flexibility and support to help our small businesses recover.

In the five short months I have served as your congressman, we already achieved results. I’ve helped our rural hospitals get much needed PPE supplies, and helped secure funding for our area farmers and paper industry.

3. Our top priority must be maintaining law and order and keeping the peace in our communities. It is the job of government to protect life, liberty, and property. Unfortunately, Democrat-controlled cities and states have ceded this important responsibility, diminishing freedom and progress for their citizens. Worse, they have stood in the way of any action to help our police officers serve and protect our communities.We must prosecute the criminals that are perpetrating the violence and destruction in our minority communities.

We must also oppose efforts to defund our police departments, and focus instead on increasing funding for better police training, community policing, and equipment such as body cameras. We should be prioritizing small business creation in our minority communities to help spur economic growth and opportunity. That is why I have and will to support opportunity zones.

5. I believe the first and most important role of the federal government is to protect the safety and security of its citizens. This includes not only health, but also protection of our economic opportunity and livelihoods. This is no different during a global pandemic. The federal government should be focused on protecting the most vulnerable among us while also helping mitigate the damage of the pandemic on our families, workers, and small businesses.

This should be done by providing them with the bridge necessary to get us through these tough times safely. This can be accomplished immediately by providing relief to our small businesses and workers by unlocking funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, along with enacting common-sense liability protections for small businesses, schools, and health care providers.

Age: 40

Address: PO Box 1549, Wausau

Occupation: Judge, professor

Education: Bachelors at UW, JD at UCLA

Family: 9-year-old son, Timothy

1. I come from humble beginnings, but there were opportunities in my life that I seized on and I know what a difference it has made for me. I believe that is the role of a representative — to ensure opportunities for your constituents, so they can have a fair shake and make their lives better. I have been a hard worker my entire life and it means something to me to be able to go back to people and do the job I promised to do.

Right now, people are struggling. They need someone who will advocate for them, not for corporations or millionaires and billionaires. I’m going to help people get more affordable and accessible health care, lowered prescription drug costs, protect their hard-earned Social Security, stand up for the environment, and make sure that our children have equal access to opportunity, regardless of socioeconomic status.

2. First and foremost, we need to get a handle on the COVID-19 pandemic and halt this continued unnecessary loss of life. Once we make it through that, we need to address some of the issues magnified by this pandemic, such as ensuring affordable, accessible health care and that people with pre-existing conditions stay protected. And we need to address rural broadband by treating it like the utility that it is. Every household should have good working internet if they want it; people are being deprived of opportunity without it.

3. I support our law enforcement and am so grateful for the critical work they do keeping our communities safe. But the issues that have been happening and disproportionately affecting Black and brown communities must be addressed at a national level. Federal funding for more training for law enforcement, especially as it relates to de-escalation techniques is critical. Departments should also have ample resources to address mental health issues in their departments.

We also need to have greater punishment for officers who do not stop horrific behavior. In the case of George Floyd, three other officers had over eight minutes to step in and did nothing. They bear some accountability in the tragic result.

We also need to expand use of body cameras and investigate police departments with high rates of police violence. Finally, we should invest federal funding into states that give them an incentive to hire a diverse and qualified workforce.

4. The government has a critical role in halting this pandemic. We need more PPE for frontline workers, increased testing, hazard pay for essential workers, extended unemployment benefits from workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and funding for small businesses and family farmers who have been hurt by this pandemic. And we need more education and better examples from elected officials.

Far too many people are not taking safety protocols, such as wearing masks and safe social distancing, seriously. We are in this together and it requires everyone do their part to stop the spread of contagion.

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