Loudenbeck, Schroeder spar over job creation, Act 10
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FONTANA Two candidates, Republican Amy Loudenbeck and Democrat Ryan J. Schroeder, are vying to represent the redrawn 31st Assembly District in the Nov. 6 election. Loudenbeck currently represents the 45th District, a position she has held since 2010. Schroeder is a member of the Delavan City Council, which he has served on for 12 years.
The 31st Assembly District has been redrawn to include more of central and northern Walworth County, western Rock County and areas of Jefferson County.
Each candidate’s biographical information and responses to questions follows:
Address: 10737 S. Wisconsin Highway 140, Clinton Township
Job: Representative to the Wisconsin Assembly, small business owner (agri-business and real estate), entrepreneur mentor and ad hoc adviser from Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.
Education: Bachelor of arts degree in international relations and political science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1991; internship as an economist at Urban Development Corp. in Kingston, Jamaica, as part of the University of Minnesota Studies in International Development, 1989 to 1990
Community service: President of the Stateline World Trade Association Board, adviser for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Green Tier Advisory Council, member of the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board, member of the Rock County Farm Bureau, member of the National Rifle Association, member of the Clinton Fencehoppers Snowmobile Club, member of the Clinton Historical Society, member of the Clinton Public Library, member of the Wisconsin Women in Government Board and honorary and past member of the Town of Linn Fire Department
What publicly elected positions have you held? Current representative to the Wisconsin Assembly, 2010 to present; supervisor for the Town of Clinton Board of Supervisors, 2010 to 2012; planning and zoning committee chairwoman, 2011 to 2012
At this time, candidate Ryan Schroeder does not live in the 31st District. Is this an issue that should concern voters? I hear from a lot of voters that this is an area of concern for them. Ryan is a Delavan alderman and also ran for Delavan mayor in April 2012. If he were to win, he would have to move out of Delavan, which calls into question his loyalty to the people who he currently represents. People are wondering why he didn’t run in the 32nd Assembly District.
What do you see as the top issue in this race -- and why? Jobs and the economy. People want to see long-term, family-supporting jobs, and so do I. The Legislature can be a part of the solution by supporting worker training, regulatory reform and infrastructure improvements. Equally important is an overall sense of certainty and stability for those who are taking risks and investing in Wisconsin. People genuinely want jobs and the economy to take center stage, but it is important to understand that what government really needs to do is get out of the way and let the private sector thrive.
What do you think should happen with Act 10, the law limiting collective bargaining for some public employees? The reforms are working with more than $1 billion already saved. I made some tough decisions last session to protect taxpayers and to make sure that our pension system remains stable and solvent. Act 10 also gave local units of government more flexibility with regard to important decisions, such as choosing a health care provider or implementing a merit pay system.
Do you think legislators should continue to pursue mining legislation? Why or why not? I absolutely think legislators should continue to pursue mining legislation. I was a member of the Assembly committee that considered this bill. After 30 hours of public testimony and numerous meetings with legal and technical experts, our committee put forth several meaningful amendments to strengthen environmental protections in the bill. The Joint Committee on Finance further modified the bill. Partisan gridlock killed the bill last session. Sen. Tim Cullen has renewed hearings on the bill, and I have indicated a willingness to work with him on this bill and share any information or research that my office has compiled to assist his committee. I am hopeful that increased outreach and awareness on the mining permitting process will lead to passage next session.
Ryan J. Schroeder
Address: 510 S. Seventh St., Delavan
Job: State legislative aide
Education: Bachelor of science degree in administration and public policy, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater; graduate, Delavan-Darien High School
Community service: Member of the Walworth County and Delavan historical societies, member of the state of Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Board, former member of the Wisconsin Real Estate Board, former president and member since 1997 of the Delavan Lions Club, former president and member of the Delavan-Darien Kiwanis Club.
What publicly elected positions have you held? I am serving in my 12th overall year as 3rd district alderman on the Delavan City Council. In that time, I’ve served as city council president, vice president and chairman of all of our major city committees.
At this time, you do not live in the 31st District. Is this an issue that should concern voters? No, the voters shouldn’t be concerned. I live a mile and a half outside this new district -- that’s not that far. In fact, I would argue I know this district a whole lot better than my opponent in this race, who grew up in Detroit and Chicago.
I was born in this great state of Wisconsin, raised in the 31st District and attended schools growing up in the 31st District. My family goes back seven generations to this 31st District, so I know many of the families who live here and the issues that impact them. What should concern the voters were the closed-door (redistricting) meetings and secret pledge signed by my opponent that kept the public from weighing in on this new district …
What do you see as the top issue in this race -- and why? Job creation and overall economy are the top issue. Why? Because we continue to lag behind neighboring states in creating new jobs, with Beloit, and much of southeastern Wisconsin, having some of the highest unemployment areas in the state. We need to make sure we fund education, especially to our tech schools so we have a strong, educated work force that will attract businesses to locate here. We can do better in this area than we have seen these last two years under the current representation. I have a record and experience of bringing stakeholders together on different issues and getting positive results working together.
What do you think should happen with Act 10, the law limiting collective bargaining for some public employees? I agree with the concept that all of us need to be working together to be a part of the solution. However, I don’t agree with Act 10 being used as a political tool to break up certain public workers for political leverage. I feel workers should have the right to collectively bargain and ensure they have a good work environment. Had the state gone about it the right way, it’s my strong opinion we would have plugged shortfalls in the state budget with workers’ help, morale would’ve been much higher and we wouldn’t have had huge expenses in recall efforts. We need to get back to what frankly both Republican and Democrat administrations had been doing for years, coming to the table and negotiating in good faith.
Do you think legislators should continue to pursue mining legislation? Why or why not? Yes, I do think we need to continue to look at the issue, which is currently going on at the moment with public hearings to better clarify some of the information that was out there before. I feel we can do something that not only creates jobs, but would also protect our natural resources. … It’s not too late to work together to ensure this issue is done the right way, and I would be open to revisiting it.