Sun Prairie’s Gary Hebl has a Republican challenger in the Nov. 3 election — Cottage Grove resident Terry Lyon. The 1988 Columbus High School graduate currently works at Sub Zero, where he is in his second term as union committee member and first term on the executive board for Sheet Metal Works Local 565.
He is also one of the five founding members of the Dane County Libertarian Party — something that played into his decision to run as a Republican. When former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch met with him to talk about a potential run for the Assembly, she asked him about his problems with the Republican Party.
“I told her. She said, ‘Oh, I can understand,’ then explained some of their viewpoints and things that I disagreed with and said, ‘I’m heading up the Assembly Candidate recruitment program and, I choose you to run for the Assembly.’ And I guess I felt so honored, and what she said made a lot of sense.”
When asked about why he decided to run, Lyon said it has more to do with the representation.
“I guess the reason that I decided that I really wanted to run is just simply because I was tired of sending people to Madison and [Washington] DC and them telling me one thing, and then when they get there, doing something completely different or not fulfilling what they said,” Lyon said.
“It seems like a lot of people — and I will say this is on both sides — are more concerned with the power and the position of the office, instead of safely aligning themselves and defending the rights that the Constitution speaks about and the Bill of Rights affirms that we have,” Lyon said.
“Where I work at Sub Zero, I’m on the bargaining committee, I’m on my second term. I’m on the executive board and that passion to do that is to uphold and defend the contract that the union has with the company and ensuring that people get treated fairly based upon that contract . . . And I guess that’s really kind of where I’m looking at as far as the Assembly — we have a Constitution, it should be upheld and all other superficial things should not interfere with those rights that are guaranteed to us.,” Lyon said.
Recently endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life, Lyon said protecting the innocent means a lot to him.
“I think it’s very important. Without life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, what do we have to protect the most innocent of us? That is highly extremely important to me if we do not value life in the womb,” Lyon said.
“I believe it’s also the reason that leads into a lot of the senseless violence and death that we have. When life doesn’t have a value at the most precious innocent point, then it’s not going to have value at any point in time,” Lyon said.
That translates definitely to the rioting in Kenosha, Minneapolis, and Portland, among other places, according to Lyon.
“What happened in Kenosha was a tragedy,” Lyon said. “Anytime somebody is justifiably or unjustifiably shot, it is a tragedy. All life is precious. As I said before, even for those who are committing crimes, lethal force should be — and was at that incident — the last resort.
“The gentleman was tasered, the police officers tried to physically restrain him [and] circumstances led to where they had no other choice,” Lyon said. “The ramifications afterwards were even worse than the incident itself. And I would have waited for all the information to come out before I started laying blame. And my opponent along with his cohorts in the Democratic Party were very quick to throw the brave men and women of law enforcement under the bus and side with rioters, and those who wish to destroy, loot and burn.”
Depending on the project, Lyon is open minded when it comes to spending public funds on transportation.
“As far as highway improvements, I think that it seems to me — and this is from somebody from the outside — that there seem to be one or two companies that get a lot of these contracts. And I would like to see how these contracts are being awarded. Are there people that happen to write enough checks or big enough checks to certain individuals, or are they truly the ones who are doing the best job and also pay or being paid a proper wage or amount that is not too burdensome for the taxpayers?” Lyon asked.
“As far as the train goes, I don’t really have a 100% answer to that because I have heard pros and cons to that, and they are always based on opinion,” Lyon said. “And until I can actually see the hard numbers and the facts, I prefer not to make a statement and be wrong. [Regarding] bike paths, I’m for them. I think that people who are riding bikes, if they’re on the road or in the paths clearly have to obey the laws as much as people who were driving a vehicle,” Lyon said. “It seems like bicyclists seem to think that they have a higher privilege on the road than what actually they do.”
Lyon favors busing.
“I think public transportation is important for people of lower income to get transportation to places that they need to be. Certainly I think that every avenue should be looked upon to run them financially efficient and to maintain them as well to keep them safe in this COVID environment that we’re in to make sure that people who ride them are able to ride them and stay safe,” Lyon said. “And [that goes for] the people who drive them as well.”
Lyon believes in the legalization of marijuana, and has been outspoken on the subject in public.
“I believe that legalization of marijuana can help in numerous ways, one financially with the money that we spend on law enforcement, the resources that are spent there with courts, judges, DA’s, prosecutors, the prison system, the guards, wardens, all of that,” Lyon said.
“And then how individuals who are found guilty with a drug charge, how difficult it is for them to obtain a job that’s beneficial financially for them and their family,” Lyon added. “And it goes another step: that separation of that parent from their children as well. And we pay for that in a different way than financially, we pay for it in a way socially. How I would look upon that is it would just be any criminal punishment would be removed, period.
“I think that also there should be a long look at completely removing any judgment against somebody that is on their record to help them remove that as well so they don’t have that crime on their ‘jacket’ also so that they can move forward in finding employment,” Lyon said.
Working to legalize marijuana in the State Assembly wouldn’t be difficult, Lyon said because he’s not the only one in favor. “I know that there are other ones who believe the way I do,” Lyon said. “And I would have a sit down, look at the Constitution for the state, discuss that with those other individuals and craft a bill that is beneficial — not just for individuals that have been found guilty of this, but for the state of Wisconsin moving forward.”
Lyon responded to quick questions and answers about each of the following areas:
Property taxes: “Way too high. I know Gary [Hebl] does not believe a tax is high enough.”
Income taxes: “The fruits of a person’s individual labor should not be taxed. I’m pretty sure as far as my opponent, he would feel the opposite of that.”
Business regulation: “They need to be in place, but not in place so that it is hindering the growth of the individual or the company.”
Gun control: “I believe that the second amendment is just as the second amendment states — shall not be infringed. Red flag laws are a violation of multiple amendments to the Bill of Rights.”
Vaccinations: People should have the freedom, to be able to have their children go to school without being forced to be vaccinated. “My opponent sat on a committee where the Department of Health and Human Services wanted to be able to mandate vaccinations. He voted for that. I would vote against it.”
Lyon’s final pitch to voters: “I’m under the full belief that the people know what’s best for their family and for themselves, not a politician. Individuals are unique like the fingerprints on our hands and the snowflakes that fall. And one politician who has never walked a day in another individual’s life can not understand what it is that that person needs in their life. And so, therefore, the person themselves should have the right to determine what they need, how they go about to get it.
“My opponent wants to fulfill all needs of people through the government and grow government larger,” Lyon added. “I want to remove government from interfering with people’s lives and make government as small as possible. I want government so small that it doesn’t make a difference who’s in office. The individual should have complete control of their life.”