Both the Democratic and Republican parties will see races in the Aug. 14 partisan primary election as a number of candidates have filed for election. For the Libertarian Party, Philip Anderson of Fitchburg has also filed for the seat. Michael J. White has filed, as well, as a Green Party candidate. Both are unopposed.
The following are candidate answers from candidates in the primary race for the governor’s seat as they appear on the League of Women Voters website.
On Aug. 14, Wisconsin voters will decide between two-term Gov. Scott Walker and his challenger, Robert Meyer of Sun Prairie, to run in November’s general election.
The League of Women Voters of Dane County reached out to the candidates with questions about how they stand on issues affecting the state. Gov. Scott Walker did not reply.
Facebook: Robert Meyer for Governor
1. Please describe your priorities for your term in office and your specific qualifications to effectively address those issues. Wisconsin is a wonderful state and my #1 priority is to lead everyone to work together to grow our economy over the next four years! Becoming the leading tech state in the Midwest, and building out our I94 corridor, will enable WI to fund ongoing investments in education and infrastructure. Our next Governor needs to understand the economy from the perspective of someone like myself who has several decades of business development experience in multiple industries.
2. What will you do to reduce gun violence and keep our neighborhoods and schools safe? We simply have to stop letting emotionally disturbed people and criminals readily obtain weapons, by enacting reasonable limits on the types of weapons and ammunition that citizens can own and ensuring background checks and reasonable waiting periods for all gun purchases. Improving educational outcomes for people living in poverty, and reducing the number of people living in rural and urban poverty through economic development will also help reduce violent crime.
3. Do you support taking advantage of the federal funding to expand Medicaid and cover more people under BadgerCare? Why or why not? Absolutely. WI chose the partial expansion, while eleven Republican governors chose the full expansion. Not fully expanding Medicaid to all adults with incomes below 138 percent of the poverty level, while providing coverage to all adults below the poverty line, is costing WI taxpayers $190 million per year. Our current approach is much more expensive for WI taxpayers than a full expansion. It’s also reduced the total number of children and adults getting health insurance.
4. Racial disparities exist in child poverty rates, educational achievement, infant mortality rates, incarceration rates, and other issues facing Wisconsinites. What will you do to reduce racial disparities throughout Wisconsin? WI in fact ranks at the very bottom nationally on these indicators which are correlated with poverty and extreme poverty in Milwaukee, Racine, Madison and our other cities. Supported conversations about race, language and culture are enabling educators to mediate racism (in 2017 the National Council of Teachers of English published my guest blog on linguicism) which is promising. I support 2017 AB 482 which should help reduce targeting, and I support Head Start.
Also on the ballot Aug. 14, voters will see a slate of Democrats for Governor. The following are their answers provided to the same questions asked of Republican candidates by the League of Women Voters of Dane County.
Facebook: Matt Flynn
1. My top priority is rescinding the disastrous Foxconn deal, because we cannot move Wisconsin Forward again as long as we are paying them $4.5 billion. As a business attorney with over 40 years of experience, taking on some of Wisconsin’s toughest cases, I am uniquely qualified to bring litigation to rescind the contract. My other priorities are raising wages and investing in education, health care, and roads.
2. Like most Wisconsinites I recognize that citizens have a right to bear arms. However, as a veteran, I know how military-style assault weapons work. There are no logical reasons for civilians to have access to these weapons. We need sensible gun safety laws, including a ban on military-style weapons and universal background checks.
3. Yes, I will accept all federal funding and expand access to BadgerCare. We need to make health care the human right that it is, rather than a burdensome financial decision for families.
4. Racial disparities exist in child poverty rates, educational achievement, infant mortality rates, incarceration rates, and other issues facing Wisconsinites. What will you do to reduce racial disparities throughout Wisconsin? For too long, politicians have come into communities they’re not part of, made promises, and implemented their own solutions. Rarely do they make any profound change. I am not going to be that governor. I will show respect and to listen to what communities are saying. I believe many of my plans will help communities of color (investing in health care and education; raising the minimum wage; reversing Walker’s anti-union laws) by creating the conditions for economic prosperity.
Facebook: Tony Evers
1. What’s best for our kids is best for our state and democracy. Our kids deserve the best public schools, a robust higher education system, safe roads, clean drinking water and access to quality, affordable healthcare. No matter what zip code, every single child should have access to high-speed internet, mental health services and high quality early childhood education. I’ve run a school, a school district and now a state agency. Im the only candidate who can hit the ground running on day one.
2. After Parkland, I asked the Legislature to pass my school safety plan which provided additional dollars for safety improvements but also provided $50 million for mental health services and grants to address bullying and violence. I would rather go to jail than arm educators. We must start with universal background checks, which over 81% of Wisconsinites support. After that win, we can look at waiting periods for handgun purchases, banning bump stocks and “No fly, no buy” legislation.
3. Absolutely! And it’s criminal that Scott Walker has left these federal dollars in Washington DC, instead of bringing them home to Wisconsin to cut healthcare costs and provide more Wisconsinites with better coverage. There’s a reason healthcare costs half the price in Minnesota as it does in Wisconsin — they accepted the federal expansion dollars and set-up their exchanges properly. As Governor, I will do both as quickly as possible.
4. Racial disparities exist in child poverty rates, educational achievement, infant mortality rates, incarceration rates, and other issues facing Wisconsinites. What will you do to reduce racial disparities throughout Wisconsin? It begins by admitting that we have a race problem. We have to stop acting like it doesn’t exist, it does. That means investing in people, not prisons. Focusing on rehabilitation, not more punitive policies. We need to make investments in local neighborhoods and ensure government decision-makers, corporate leaders, educators, law enforcement and health workers reflect the growing diversity of our state. And finally, we must reject the hateful rhetoric and division that’s consuming our country.
Facebook: Mike McCabe for Governor
1. Cronyism, corruption and legal bribery have taken root in Wisconsin and must be uprooted if our government is going to work for all of us and not just a wealthy, well-connected and privileged few at the top. My life’s work as an independent watchdog focused on exposing political corruption and the crooked transactions between elected officials and wealthy donors. Without a very different kind of leadership and a new politics, Wisconsin can’t become what our state has the potential to be.
2. I favor taking 16 different steps to address gun violence and the underlying causes of mass shootings that will make schools and communities safer and save lives. My positions led the national group Moms Demand Action to designate me as one of the nation’s “Gun Sense Candidates.” I’ve also taken the national No NRA Money pledge because we will never get anything more than thoughts and prayers after each new mass shooting as long as elected officials are paid to take no other action.
3. BadgerCare should be a public option available to everyone. Wisconsin must correct the mistake the current administration made when it rejected federal Medicaid expansion funds. We also need to correct the mistake made when Wisconsin opted against setting up its own state health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. I would take the federal funds, establish a state insurance exchange and put BadgerCare on the exchange as a public option with everyone in the state eligible to enroll.
4. Racial disparities will not be reduced or erased unless we come to terms with the reality that a new Jim Crow has been constructed. It stands on very sturdy legs including voter suppression policies, mass incarceration and militarization of policing. We have to see the new Jim Crow for what it is and cut the legs out from under it. And also deal with the fact that the color of political money is white. The more unequal we are politically, the more unequal we will be racially and economically.
Facebook: Mahlon Mitchell
1. As an active firefighter for more than 20 years, I respond to my community on their worst days. When they are at their worst, I must be at my best. As President of the PFFW, I work on behalf of brave first responders to fight for fair and equal pay, safe working conditions, and good benefits. Wisconsinites deserve the same champion who will raise wages, invest in public education, reform our criminal justice system and build an economy that works for everyone — not just those at the top.
2. As a first responder, a hunter and a parent, I know that we are facing a public safety crisis. Our communities, including parks, schools and places of worship should be a safe haven from violence. We must pass universal background checks for gun sales and ban assault weapons. We must regulate the purchase and ownership of guns similar to the way we regulate the sale of cars. By working in cooperation with experts and advocacy groups, we can carve a path that leads to a safe and secure Wisconsin.
3. I believe that healthcare is a right. There are still too many Wisconsinites without coverage, and many more who are covered but struggle to afford the care they need. We’re going to close these gaps and make sure that everyone in Wisconsin has the healthcare they need to live full and productive lives. As Governor, I will expand medicaid, make BadgerCare a public option, support women’s reproductive rights and do everything can to decriminalize addiction and get people the help they need.
4. Racial disparities exist in child poverty rates, educational achievement, infant mortality rates, incarceration rates, and other issues facing Wisconsinites. What will you do to reduce racial disparities throughout Wisconsin? Addressing the racial achievement gap requires acknowledging the inextricable link between access to quality education, statewide income inequality, poverty and homelessness. As Governor, I will make public school funding a priority in every budget, work with the legislature to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, promote family leave and restoring union rights to build the middle class. This is the pathway to bridging the achievement gap along racial and geographical lines in the state.
Kelda Helen Roys
Facebook: Kelda Roys
1. Together, we will solve our common challenges and restore opportunity and fairness to Wisconsin. I’ve spent my life turning big ideas into real results, as a legislative leader, head of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, and entrepreneur. In our Wisconsin, we’ll fix the student debt crisis and expand retirement security so every generation can succeed. We’ll invest in the UW system and small businesses for a strong economy. We’ll preserve our democracy and protect our planet so our children can thrive.
2. We will stand up to the gun manufacturers’ lobby and pass commonsense gun safety laws, including universal background checks for all sales/transfers, a 48-hr waiting period, raising purchasing age to 21, prohibiting domestic violence perpetrators from owning guns, banning assault weapons/high capacity magazines/other equipment that makes mass shooting easier. We’ll implement proven violence prevention/reduction strategies, and break stereotypes equating violence with strength.
3. Yes. We’ll accept federal money, build a state ACA exchange, and make Badgercare a public option. I’m a longtime supporter of single-payer/Medicare for all, and I won’t rest until every single Wisconsinite has access to quality, affordable, comprehensive, culturally competent healthcare including reproductive care, mental/behavioral health, and prescription drugs. As a legislator I coauthored Healthy Wisconsin and expanded Badgercare to 80,000 people; healthcare is a moral and economic issue.
4. We must invest in communities of color, holistically tackling racial injustice and the opportunity gap. We’ll prevent infant mortality with universal paid leave, pregnancy and birth support, and visiting nurse services. We’ll support parents by expanding affordable, high quality childcare and offering universal early childhood education. We’ll fully, equitably fund K12 education and stop public money going to private schools. We’ll end mass incarceration, increase wages, expand entrepreneurship.
Paul R. Soglin
Facebook: Paul Soglin for Governor
1. Please describe your priorities for your term in office and your specific qualifications to effectively address those issues. As the Mayor of Madison, I know how to create great opportunities for families by focusing on the five elements necessary for a family: housing, transportation, health care including nutrition and behavioral health, quality childcare, and education/career development. Madison’s success can be developed statewide since that success is based on services that foster great places and services that attract jobs. Great communities and great economies go hand in hand.
2. Gun violence increased when the state approved concealed carry. This permissive legislation was interpreted as a signal that the state did not care about residents resolving differences with firearms. Repeal of concealed carry, instituting background checks, waiting periods, and limitations on military style weapons are keys to greater safety. We need a comprehensive statewide program that treats violence as a public health issue. Models exist: The Cure Violence Model and the Cardiff Model.
3. One of the worst of many horrible decisions by Scott Walker was rejecting the opportunity to expand Medicaid and provide more people the opportunity to participate in BadgerCare. I will do everything possible to leverage and expand Wisconsin’s participation in federal opportunities. In addition, I will focus on the other part of the problem, healthcare costs. We will focus on the cost of pharmaceuticals, the human and financial costs of opioid abuse, and increasing costs of medical procedures.
4. As Mayor, I began a health program in the ‘70’s. Over 7 years, African-American infant mortality steadily dropped. Unfortunately, the program was abandoned by my successors and infant mortality rates rose. We are now attempting to duplicate this success. But what is critical is how it was done: relying on neighborhood leaders to play a vital role. This same concept, which will work statewide, has helped us and our partners lower disparities in unemployment, household income, and education.
Facebook: Kathleen Vinehout
1. My priority is to put People First, first when making state policy, first when spending state dollars. Now, a few large corporations are first; getting corporate tax breaks and cash payments. As Governor I will expand health care, fund public schools, restore dollars to our universities, provide free tuition at our tech colleges, and build a strong community-based mental health system. In 12 years as state senator, my alternative budgets funded these programs without increasing total spending.
2. I will extend background checks to cover all gun sales, including between individuals, and ban devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like automatic weapons. I will oppose arming teachers and allowing guns in schools and universities. Part of our approach must include community-based mental health programs and restoring supports for troubled students eliminated in response to recent budget cuts. The root causes of violence, like racism, poverty and mental illness, must be addressed.
3. In the four alternative budgets I wrote as Senator I took the Medicaid dollars. It is folly not to. The federal dollars would extend healthcare to 79,000 additional people and free up $286 million in state dollars. In the budgets I wrote, and as Governor, I spend those dollars on community-based mental health services, alternatives to incarceration, and treatment for those suffering from addiction. I also invested in prenatal care, as half of all Wisconsin births are to Medicaid enrollees.
4. Household income is associated with all these disparities. I would raise the minimum wage to $15, make tech colleges tuition free, and expand need based scholarships. Poverty should never be a barrier to learning. I would change state school aid to reflect the needs of children, including children in poverty and those with mental health and trauma issues. I will challenge long existing racial prejudices shaping our criminal justice system and influencing the way laws are enforced.
The Aug. 14 primary includes several other races for office.
Several Republicans are hoping to emerge the winner and challenge U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin in the November general election, including George C. Lucia, Leah Vukmir, Griffin Jones, Kevin Nicholson and Charles Barman.
To learn more about these and other candidates, visit the League of Women Voters of Dane County website at lwvdanecounty.org.