Isthmus sent the six candidates for the July 12 Democratic primary for the 48th Assembly seat questions about why they're running for office and what they hope to accomplish. Here is what they had to say.
Andy Heidt Clean air and clean water are necessary for human survival, we have an obligation to take care of these resources. Furthermore, Wisconsin has a direct economic interest in protecting the environment because of the tourism industry. With that in mind, I support the following policies:
Age: 49 Current employment: Ombudsman, Dane County Human Services
Clean air and clean water are necessary for human survival, we have an obligation to take care of these resources. Furthermore, Wisconsin has a direct economic interest in protecting the environment because of the tourism industry.
With that in mind, I support the following policies:
We need tough environmental protections. We can phase out the use of coal over the next two decades while closing our nuclear power plants. We must focus on wind, water and sun for our energy while using emerging technologies to pursue a truly energy independent status for our state. Power companies of the future should be non-profit, buying energy from homes and distributing it where needed.
7. Most Democratic candidates -- and most residents in the 48th district -- agree that the state should provide services to the poor, disabled and elderly. At the same time, these programs are among the fastest growing in cost to the state. How can the state simultaneously control these costs while providing better services to people? Are there any grand reforms you would push for?
It is ultimately far cheaper to provide health care for all than to allow the uninsured to have illness fester and lead to emergency room visits. Uninsured, uncompensated care drives up the costs of health care for all of us. A statewide single payer health care initiative expanding on the best aspects of the Vermont Plan would set the stage for business development and expansion while providing critical supports and prevention to those in need of appropriate care.
Secondly a State Bank is a major priority. This will allow us to maximize the resources necessary to modernize our infrastructure, preserve family farms, seed venture capital and high tech development.
Significant job training, using the technical college system, UW, DVR and community based resources can regionally focus efforts at job development, retention and upward mobility. Local exchange trading systems can expand capacity for serving folks with disabilities or the elderly as we build sustainable infrastructure capitalized by a State bank.8. What reforms, if any, would you make to the Wisconsin tax system? If you wouldn't make any, why do you think the current tax system is appropriate?
I want to tax wealth and corporations fairly. Right now costs are thrown upon the backs of the middle class while completely screwing the poor into infinite submission to despair. Two thirds of Wisconsin corporations pay no income tax, this must change. High-income earners, over $250,000, should have their taxes increased. Capital gains and inheritance taxes are also critical to the revenue stream. A speculation tax on the purchase of mortgages as they are sold by financial institutions is also needed.9. What reforms would you push for with the school system?
There are no more important investments than those we make in our children. They are the future and each generation has an obligation to provide the next with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.
All reforms have to begin with providing the necessary resources to give every child in Wisconsin opportunities for a broad and deep education. "More with less" doesn't work. My "Keeping the Promise" plan does this by first enacting the WAES "Penny for Kids" proposal and other measures, to address the crisis caused by 18 years under a broken school-funding system and begin the process of reform. Then I would bring together educators, community members and elected officials to achieve comprehensive reform prior to the next biennial budget, reform that is based on actual costs, fully funds mandates and provides additional resources based on the special circumstances all funded equitably, progressively and with a decreased reliance on property taxes.
I would also work to restore collective bargaining rights and assure that educators have a voice in state and local policy making, roll back the voucher-based privatization of education, and move away from standardized test-based accountability for students, teachers, schools and districts.
10. What are the most important issues facing women in Wisconsin?
Health care and in particular control of their reproductive choices are crucial for women in Wisconsin. Healthy birth outcomes, in particular for African American women are a must. Our current outcomes are among the worst in the country. We have a shameful track record in this area. This a reflection of the racism and classism institutionalized in our culture. Access to preventative health care and services, reproductive care, birth control and abortions, in the rare occasions needed, is a key part of this picture.
11. If elected, what would you do to improve the economy?
The development of a State Bank is a crucial way to improve the Wisconsin economy. A State Bank tied in with revenue reform, health care for all, quality, well-funded schools creates a quality of life where the economy will thrive. A State Bank can issue bonds for capital projects in a more sustainable fashion than using the Chicago Bond Houses to siphon off State profits. Money from our bank can seed hi-tech development, preserve family farms, provide venture capital for start-ups and redefine the way we do business in Wisconsin. A State Bank has been working exceptionally well in North Dakota for nearly 100 years and will serve the Badger State well.
12. I've touched on some obvious big issues, but are there any issues that the media and general public are overlooking? What are they?
With the increasing importance of the Internet in everything from searching for a job to economic development to entertainment, Wisconsin should make sure our residents have access to fast and affordable Internet. Wisconsin should remove barriers to municipal broadband. The WiscNet program should not only be protected, but expanded. I cannot stress enough the savage inequities of the racial and economic disparities in this state. Start with African American birth outcomes and go all the way through to higher education. If we cannot enhance these outcomes what does it say about us as a state?
We also need to get discrimination out or our constitution in terms of rights for same sex partners. We also need to stop the attacks on our immigrant communities and find ways to welcome and support our friends and neighbors legally. Wisconsin can be a highly educated, interactive community, thriving! Together we have a chance for making that happen.