With Rep. Tauchen retiring, six candidates will meet in Republican primary in Assembly District 6

Gun Rights

Six candidates will face off in this summer’s Republican Party primary for Assembly District 6.

The winner will gain the GOP nomination in the race to succeed Republican Gary Tauchen, 68, of Hartland, in Shawano County.

Tauchen announced in January that he plans to retire when he completes this term. He won a four-way primary to gain the Republican nomination in 2006, then was reelected seven times in the heavily Republican district. 

The district includes much of rural Shawano County, as well as some of northwestern Outagamie County, and small parts of Waupaca and Brown counties.

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Candidates were asked to adhere to word limits — 50 words for biographical questions, 100 for issue questions. Answers were gently edited for grammar, style and accuracy.

The primary winner will face Democrat William Switalla.

Matthew Albert

Age: 35

Address: 123 Givens Road,, Hortonville

Occupation: Yard coordinator at Fabick Rents, a Caterpillar-rental business for construction equipment.

Highest education level achieved: Lawrence University graduate. Majored in government (philosophy), and minored in history (Russian).

Relevant experience: Intern with the Republican Party of Wisconsin (RPW), Northeast region, 2015; Outagamie field director for RPW, 2016; events chair, Republican Party of Outagamie County (RPOC) for approximately two years; chairman of RPOC approximately four years. Served two terms as an 8th Congressional District representative to the RPW Platform Committee. Decade of farming experience in Shawano County. Raised in a family of small business owners (Larry and Nancy’s Drive In, Marion, 5-A businesses, Marion, Tigerton, New London).

Craig Arrowood

Age: 42

Address:  216 S. Smalley St., Shawano.

Occupation: Legislative aide for Rep. Gary Tauchen, R-Hartland, 2006-22.

Highest education level achieved:  Masters of science in sports analytics and management, American University, Washington, D.C., 2022

Relevant experience: Former legislative staffer for Rep. Gary Tauchen, R-Hartland. Clerk for these Assembly committees: 2011-13, Campaign and Elections; 2013-20, Rural Affairs and Small Business; 2017-22, Agriculture.  

David Kohn 

Age: 43

Address: N3832 County F, Bonduel

Employment: Owns Big Sky Pet Transport, LLC. Founded Angels to Heroes LLC, an organization that uses the outdoors to combat PTSD among military veterans and first-responders with the ultimate goal of preventing suicides.  The group also donates trained service dogs.

Education: Attended Fox Valley Technical College to study diesel technology, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to study criminal justice/law enforcement.

Relevant experience: FVTC Diesel Club treasurer and president. Served in the U.S. Coast Guard, 1997, 2003. Member, National Rifle Association, Wisconsin Gun Owners Association, AMVETS Post 10, American Legion Post 217 member.

Nathan J. Michael

Age: 33

Address: W14874 County M, Tigerton.

Occupation: Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning contractor

Highest education level: High-school equivalent. Homeschooled 

Relevant experience: Started and own a successful business with no debt. Raising three children who are “socially desirable.” Managing his own campaign.

Dean Neubert

Age: 40

Occupation: President of A-1 Professional Supply, a maintenance and janitorial supplier/Neubert LLC

Highest grade completed: Hortonville High School graduate

Related experience: Coach and coordinator of several youth sports teams in the Fox Valley. Campaign volunteer for several school board, city council and county board conservative candidates.   

Peter Schmidt 

Age: 30

Address: W3847 Old Dump Road, Bonduel.

Education: Bachelor’s degree with a double major in political science and Spanish 

Occupation: Dairy farmer; co-owner and operator of Schmidt Farm.

Relevant experience: Former Shawano County Board member, Town of Hartland caucus chairman, planning commission member, poll worker. 

Why are you running for this office?

ALBERT: I’m running for the state Assembly because too many times I have seen politicians make big promises to rural and working-class voters and then disappear until they need our votes again. I’m an experienced leader who has taken on the elite as chairman of the Outagamie County Republican Party.

ARROWOOD: I am running to be the next representative to the Wisconsin Assembly, fighting to uphold the Constitution, protecting your individual rights and freedoms, and standing up against government overreach. 

KOHN: I’m running for this office because I’m simply unhappy with the direction of our country and state are heading. Change needs to begin at the state level. I have a history of being someone who is wiling to speak out against wrongs and the ability to listen to ideas that create a positive change for all.

MICHAEL: There is a quote that says, “the only way for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.” I have seen evil in the past two years and I have seen men and women who should have done their duty to stop it and didn’t. I’m running to change that.

NEUBERT: I am a father of three and I can’t stand the thought of my kids looking at me in 20 years and asking, “why didn’t I do more?” I will bring my conservative values and find common sense solutions that work for everyone.

SCHMIDT: I’m running for the state Assembly to fight for life, liberty and happiness as our founding fathers outlined: Life: Treat all life with respect and dignity. Liberty: Individual responsibility over bigger government. Happiness: The freedom to pursue your Wisconsin dream. It’s time, “we, the people” restore our rights and freedoms.

Why are you the best candidate in this race?

ALBERT: I am a worker. I wake up every day and put my steel toes on one foot at a time like so many of you and get to work. That is what I have done on the farm, as chairman, and will continue to do if elected.

ARROWOOD: Experience. I have nearly 17 years of legislative experience and on-the-job training while working for the 6th Assembly District as the lead staffer for Republican Representative Gary Tauchen.  My experience and knowledge of the legislative process make me the ideal candidate to succeed Rep. Tauchen in 2022.

KOHN: I’m the best candidate because of my life experience of being someone who has represented others. Whether it’s operating an organization that combats the effects of PTSD and prevents suicides of military veterans and first responders or it’s transporting pets across the country, I’ve always put others needs ahead of my own.  

MICHAEL: I do not fear men. I fear only God. And at the end of the day I will give an account to him for everything that I have done. My integrity rests on that.

NEUBERT: I am a business owner and volunteer in several youth sports programs in the district. I am proud of the young athletes I work with teaching them dedication and teamwork. My years of experience running a successful business is the leadership we need representing us in Madison right now.

SCHMIDT: I’m a constitutional conservative who is pro-life, pro-economic freedoms, and pro-Second Amendment, who will take our northeastern Wisconsin values to Madison. Scrap the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). Pass a “Parents Bill of Rights” for transparency. Oppose any defunding of our law enforcement. Prevent future economic shutdowns.  

What are residents telling you are their greatest concerns, and how would you address them?

ALBERT: The economy, election integrity, and inflation are the most discussed. A common issue I have heard at the door is the training requirements of volunteer fire departments and the stress it puts on them. Madison one-size-fits-all policies often work against rural communities, and this is no exception. Requirements should be tailored to the needs that rural departments have. We need to make Wisconsin business friendly again by phasing out the personal property tax business are burdened with as well as the state income tax which hurts all Wisconsin families. We must continue to address the deficiencies in our elections.

ARROWOOD: Biden’s failures have led to the highest inflation rates in decades, impacting everything from the economy to crime to education to a general sense of malaise amongst voters. Making meaningful change for the better will require a course correction in policy, attitude, and embracing American exceptionalism as a strength rather than a sin. Wisconsinites need to keep more money from their hard work and believe their children will have a better life than they do now. Unfortunately, far too many have lost this optimism. Our rights and freedoms make this country the envy of others. 

KOHN: I’m hearing the regular conservative issues (election integrity, inflation, gas prices, Second Amendment), but I’m hearing about a local issue of not enough volunteer fire department personnel. As a former volunteer firefighter and EMT,  I understand the struggles of balancing training, employment, family life, and unexpected scheduling conflicts that all too often affect the required training. I will work with the Assembly and technical colleges to develop legislation that creates a volunteer certification for our rural volunteer fire and EMS departments to allow flexibility to get new recruits certified without compromising the effectiveness of the department.

MICHAEL: The majority of concerns I get from people involve a yearning for justice. If someone commits a crime, they want to perpetrators of the crime to be punished. Whether it’s stealing an election, illegal lock downs, innocent J6 victims. They want the lion of the law to have teeth and to prosecute injustice. 

NEUBERT: The economy and inflation are by far the biggest concerns of District 6. Every day we see people struggle to make if paycheck-to-paycheck in this economic environment. I will fight for a conservative agenda that promotes economic development while cutting the red tape that creates a barrier for so many of us every day. Providing the common sense solutions that represent northeast Wisconsin in Madison. 

SCHMIDT: My residents’ greatest concern is election integrity. I believe we need to hold the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) accountable for breaking the law regarding ballot harvesting, election bribery, and third parties running our elections. We need to scrap the WEC and give the elections back to the local governments. Ban third party money entering our elections.

What is the most pressing issue facing Wisconsin, and how would you address it?

ALBERT: The economy and inflation. We must strengthen Wisconsin’s economy to weather the storm that Joe Biden and his policies have unleashed. With the tax policies outlined above, a pro-growth pro-employment agenda focused on training workers for the jobs that are readily available, reducing burdensome regulation, and limiting and shrinking the size of administrative government we can prosper through the economic storm churned out by Washington liberals.

ARROWOOD: Mental-health crisis is affecting children. The response to COVID-19 had numerous detrimental impacts on our schools and our children. Children of all ages need stability, opportunities, and, now more than ever, mental health support. Unfortunately, we may have inadvertently created another in response to one crisis. This is a personal issue for me, as I lost my mother to suicide at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown. The impact of suicide on families is genuinely horrible, and if, as a state legislator, I could prevent one family from that pain, it would be worth it.

KOHN: I believe the most pressing issue facing Wisconsin is the price of gas. As a small business owner, in the transportation industry, I know all too well how fuel prices are hurting our families. Fuel prices are driving up the cost of everything. There’s not much the state can do for a downward economy, but we could look at reducing or eliminating the state income tax and state gas tax. That would help Wisconsin workers keep a little money in their pockets. 

MICHAEL: Right now, it’s fixing our elections. We still have machines that can be hacked. That means we will still have rigged elections in Wisconsin. 

NEUBERT: It’s critical we give people more of their paychecks back instead of sending their hard-earned money to Madison. Rising costs of food and energy are having profound impact on families. As a businessman, I know something about managing budgets and doing what’s right for the taxpayer.

SCHMIDT: Wisconsin’s most pressing issue is election integrity. Why have we allowed third parties to administer the elections? Why do we allow the political elites to tell us what to do and buy our candidates and elections? When will “we the people” rise up and push back against 2020’s stolen elections? We need to scrap the WEC. Ban third-party money entering our elections. (Editor’s note: Congress has certified Joe Biden as the winner in the 2020 presidential election. State and federal courts have ruled against former President Donald Trump in lawsuits over how the election was conducted, including rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, the state Supreme Court and two federal judges.)

Would you vote to repeal Wisconsin’s ban on abortions, or to add exemptions to the law (such as for rape and incest victims)? Explain.

ALBERT: I am proud to be the only candidate endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life. I will vote to keep as restrictive an abortion ban as can pass the Legislature. I will also fight to make sure we fund adoption. Why anyone who wants to open their home, their heart, and their family to a child in need should have to pay for the privilege baffles me. We should be funding support clinics to help mothers navigate any unexpected pregnancies. The pro-life issue goes way beyond the abortion debate. We support children and families, too.

ARROWOOD: I would not vote to repeal 940.04 (which makes abortions illegal in Wisconsin) from Wisconsin statutes.  However, I would support adding exemptions for victims of rape or incest. 

KOHN: I would not support repealing Wisconsin’s ban on abortion and I would definitely support legislation that includes rape and incest as exceptions to the law. I believe life begins with a heartbeat. I believe in the values of Right to Life. I have a plan that fixes the family court and child support systems and giving equal rights to fathers. Child support needs to be based on the cost of raising a child, not a penalty on income.

MICHAEL: No. I believe that God created every human with intent and purpose and therefore holds infinite value at every stage of life. To murder a baby at two months gestation is to murder a baby at two years. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and killing a baby in the womb that was conceived by rape is not fixing a problem, but creating another one.

NEUBERT: As a pro-life candidate I will be a defender of the unborn. I was very disappointed to read Gov. Evers and AG Kaul playing politics with the life of the most vulnerable among us. The recent Supreme Court decision hasn’t changed current state law on the books. I have yet to see legislation to expand abortion I would vote to support, and I doubt we will in the future.

SCHMIDT: I will not vote to repeal Wisconsin’s ban on abortions, nor add exemptions to the law. Wisconsin has been a pro-life state since 1849. Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and it should be up to the states to determine this issue. I am proud to continue to support and defend a culture of life in Wisconsin.

What are your views on gun violence — and what should the Legislature do to address it?

ALBERT: Violence in general needs to be addressed whether it’s someone driving their car through a parade or someone suffering spousal abuse. Lax practices by certain district attorneys in this state have allowed violent offenders back into communities to hurt others again. This needs to stop. Mental health clinics and mental health reform should be a priority so those that are unwell can seek help and be supported. The weapons used to commit crimes are a symptom not a cause. I am proud to be AQ rated by the NRA and would support constitutional carry in Wisconsin.

ARROWOOD: The Second Amendment is an individual right that empowers citizens to arm themselves and protect themselves and their families from threats. Recently, surveillance video from the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting demonstrated the peril of outsourcing your protection. From my perspective, the stunning and sickening profiles of cowardice by local law enforcement in Uvalde make any effort to curtail the Second Amendment a non-starter. Mental health and counseling must address some citizens’ underlying issues, but not at the expense of due process.

KOHN: As the only military veteran running for this office, an NRA member, Wisconsin Gun Owners Association member, and someone who holds concealed carry permits from four different states, I would not support another senseless gun law. I support constitutional carry and I would vote to eliminate “gun free zones.” I would support arming our educators as long as they are required to go through training similar to that of a law enforcement officer. I would oppose the “red flag laws” proposed by Tony Evers. We need to invest in mental health care reform, not more gun laws.

MICHAEL: There are more laws against guns now then there were 100 years ago, yet there are more shootings now than 100 years ago. It’s not banning guns or creating more law. It’s teaching moral laws. If children are taught that all mankind came from nothing, then mankind is worth nothing. But if children are taught that all mankind was created by God, then mankind has a code by which to operate.

NEUBERT: The random acts of violence that have impacted our communities in this country have been devastating. The disturbed individual who ran over those children and parents in Waukesha last year should have us asking, “What triggers this type of behavior to violently act out?” When individuals are in a mental-health crisis there have been opportunities to stop many of them. We need to assess why our judicial system, health care system and our culture that glorifies violence doesn’t prevent this violence  before they pick up a gun or start that vehicle. The Second Amendment shall not be 


SCHMIDT: I believe gun violence is a matter of the mind. No law nor regulation will end gun violence. It is an issue regarding morality. Having a strong, reliable support system keeps people accountable and strengthens social bonds in the community. I believe the Legislature needs to pass permit-less carry make Wisconsin a Second Amendment sanctuary state. Eliminate gun-free zones and educate its citizens regarding firearm safety. Encouraging firearm ownership and establishing community ties with law enforcement is the best approach to address gun violence. Supporting and defending the Second Amendment is the people’s last defense against future tyranny. 

What would you do to make voting more accessible in Wisconsin to people with disabilities and others with transportation challenges?

ALBERT: Wisconsin election law is already very accommodating to voters. We have in-person voting for weeks in large municipalities and an absentee voting system that allows no questions asked mail in voting. We need to help rural clerks who cannot offer the same hours to their citizens for early voting like their big city counterparts. We need a uniform set timeframe for early voting and absentee voting, and we need to have a serious discussion about those timeframes. We need to get back closer to election day instead of election weeks or month.

ARROWOOD: Election security and reform are paramount issues to me. I support the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling on ballot boxes, and the Legislature should strongly consider the recommendations by the Legislative Audit Bureau. Also, ending ballot harvesting, banning “Zucker-Bucks” from influencing local election policies, and other common-sense reforms would improve voter confidence in our election system.   

KOHN: I would vote to eliminate the special voting deputies and support legislation that allows early in-person voting for those with disabilities to take place in the clerks’ offices. I would like to see a transportation program set up, similar to what most counties have for elderly citizens to get to medical appointments, which would provide transportation to and from polling places during elections.

MICHAEL: Voting deputies. Nursing homes have voting deputies that get sent to them to assist the residents with voting. I believe that to be “definitely confined” should have very stringent rules to be allowed to be labeled as such, and then voting deputies can be sent to their residence. 

NEUBERT: I believe everyone has the right to vote who legally can do so. We need to make it easy for our seniors and those with a disability to proudly cast their vote legally. We need to tighten up our indefinitely confided laws so we do protect that process for those with disabilities versus seeing it abused as we witnessed by former state Sen. Patty Schachtner in western Wisconsin.

SCHMIDT: Our current election process for disabilities and transportation challenges satisfies state standards. We don’t need any more regulations nor new laws at this moment. Current law already mandates that all polling locations accommodate people with disabilities and absentee ballots eliminate those with transportation challenges.

Do you support dismantling the Wisconsin Elections Commission? If so, please explain your position.

ALBERT: I do support dismantling the WEC. We have seen that WEC as it is currently construed doesn’t work. They deadlock on nearly everything and then staff writes their own guidance not supported by statute. I would put the power back in the hands of the people’s representatives elected at regular intervals. We have an election committee in both the state Assembly and the state Senate. They should be the decision-making body that the commission was. The secretary of state should act like the administrator to carry out the decisions of the committee and the administration of the elections.

ARROWOOD: The Wisconsin elections board made numerous controversial and incorrect decisions not based on the law or legal standing. These actions by WEC have led to a crisis of confidence in a large swath of Wisconsin voters. Restoring confidence in our elections must be a priority for the next Legislative session. Reform and accountability may require a of shift election administration to another office, such as the secretary of state. However, any change should have accountability via voters.  

KOHN: Yes, I support dismantling the Wisconsin Elections Commission. I believe election oversight could be handled by the secretary of state, an elected official. Election certifications should be done by the state Assembly and the state Senate. This would give the power back to the people of Wisconsin and their elected officials, not a commission appointed by the governor. 

MICHAEL: Absolutely, And the reason for that is: the Wisconsin Elections Commission is not an elected entity. It is assigned by the Legislature. So they cannot be voted in by the people. WEC should be abolished and the responsibilities for running elections should go to an elected official such as a secretary of state. An elected official holds the interest of the people more so than bureaucrats.

NEUBERT: We need a system that can manage our election process. We found that during the 2020 pandemic laws, rules and systems in business and in government were tested. The Wisconsin Election Commission was unable to live up to the needs of the voters in 2020. We need to look at creating a new office managed by a secretary with term limits who has enforcement authority and oversight by the Legislature.

SCHMIDT: I support scrapping the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC). I believe we need to hold WEC accountable for breaking the law regarding ballot harvesting, election bribery, and third parties running our elections. We need to scrap the WEC and give the elections back to the local governments. Keeping our elections decentralized will make it harder for the political elites to cheat and steal another election.

Do you believe Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election legitimately? If not, please explain your position.

Editor’s note: President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, which has been called “the most secure in American history” by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, adding, “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.” In Wisconsin, Biden won by 21,000 votes, or 0.6 percentage points. Recounts in Dane and Milwaukee counties upheld the win. State and federal courts have ruled against Trump in lawsuits over how the election was conducted, including rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, the state Supreme Court and two federal judges.

ALBERT: I believe it is likely Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election. I was the only county party chairman in northeastern Wisconsin to hold a “stop the steal” rally. There has been doubt cast on our elections for decades from both sides, we must get a handle on how our elections are conducted to ensure we all have faith in the outcome. I worked hard in Outagamie County to create a poll-worker program where we ensure that our Republican poll-worker positions are filled with actual Republicans. Having both parties present at the polls ensures honesty and transparency.

ARROWOOD: In 2011, I was the clerk of the Assembly Committee on Campaign and Elections. During that session, we passed 2011 Act 23, “Voter ID.” I know the complexity of election policy. I am a strong advocate and proponent of election security. Unfortunately, some claim we can recall our electors and “decertify” the previous election. However, we cannot “un-ring the bell” of the 2020 election. Wisconsin voters want safe and secure elections, which should be the Legislature’s priority. The only ways to remove a sitting president are resignation, impeachment, death or invoking the 25th Amendment.

KOHN: I believe the 2020 election has shown us that voter fraud is real and it raised many issues with how insecure our elections are. It left many Americans less confident than ever, with our election integrity. We need legislation that outlaws ballot drop boxes, ballot harvesting, and the use of private money in our elections. Voter ID became a requirement, and a voter law agency formed to address election laws.

MICHAEL: I would have to be living under a rock to believe that. And I don’t. No, Biden did not win the 2020 election. I have made it my goal to find out how Trump “lost” the 2020 election in Wisconsin. Call me if you have questions. 

NEUBERT: Joe Biden is the president unless the 2024 voters say otherwise. The 2020 election restricted transparency in the name of COVID. This lack of transparency rightfully fueled speculation of fraud. This could have been prevented by simply following the law in places like Green Bay, Racine and Milwaukee. As I look forward, we need to make serious reforms to our election laws to restore integrity so voters can feel confident that their vote will count. That leadership and those reforms won’t happen under Governor Evers. We need a Republican governor who will lead with common sense reforms.

SCHMIDT: I believe Joe Biden didn’t win the 2020 presidential election legitimately. I believe Mark Zuckerberg spent $416 million to buy the election for Biden. (Editor’s note: The money was used to hire election workers and there’s been no proof that the donation was used illegally. Grants were given to more than 200 cities in Wisconsin, including many Republican ones.)

Contact Doug Schneider at (920) 431-8333, or DSchneid@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PGDougSchneider.

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