Dec. 14, 2017 – Washington Co., WI – Common Sense Citizens of Washington County hosted a candidate forum Wednesday night for the Republicans running in a special primary for the 58th Assembly District seat. The event was held at the West Bend Moose Lodge. The special primary election is Tuesday, Dec. 19.
There will be four candidates on the ballot including Tiffany Koehler, Spencer Zimmerman, Rick Gundrum and Steve Stanek. The winner in Tuesday’s special primary will advance to the January 16 special election.
Bernie Newman, president of Common Sense Citizens, is the moderator.
- Question about the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.
Steve Stanek – Absolutely. Proud concealed carry permit holder
Tiffany Koehler – A concealed carry permit holder. It’s your constitutional right to carry.
Spencer Zimmerman – The second amendment is important so you can defend yourself. Lots of problems associated with a crime wave coming up from Chicago.
Rick Gundrum – In support of the second amendment and it’s our constitutional right.
2. State govt. has increased spending each year and what changes would you make
RG – Washington County has adopted priority based budgeting and found savings.
SS – Efficiencies in government are the biggest way to achieve savings. We can look at new and innovative ways and new technology and the ability to use efficiency to remain at the current tax rate.
TK – McGiver Institute said if it comes to the state 65,000 jobs can be created. We need to continue to reform taxes and work with the Trump administration and Gov. Walker.
SZ – I wouldn’t support any kind of tax increase. I would like to see Illinois pay for our roads and now it’s time to make Illinois pay us back. Make them pay a $3 toll. That would solve a lot of our problems.
3. Dark store theory and how can issue be resolved
SZ – Create a level playing field with sound property tax legislation and don’t let buildings sit empty.
RG – There has to be a level playing field. As a home owners it’s not fair to have to pick up the cost of the taxes.
SS – It’s important we balance the taxation between small businesses and our big box stores. If we don’t establish fair taxation of the stores it will drive our small businesses out of town.
TK – Bottom line is we have to protect this community. My job is to protect you and I will make sure we support it not going on your tax bill, the big corporations should be paying for it.
4. Transportation budgets are suffering from rising costs – how can you solve the road problems
TK – The construction workers are not deployed in the right places. I would make sure we put in legislation to prioritize projects. We’ll do what’s most important to us. We need bring it back to the local level. Way too much money being spent in the wrong areas.
SZ – Oppose raising the gas tax and registration fees. We should put in a toll for motorists from Illinois. Privately funded railroad projects. And support Enbridge Line 66 pipeline project.
RG – Not running to support a gas tax, wheel tax or a toll. You can be more efficient by scaling back on restrictions and making the government smaller. We need safe roads.
SS – I’m opposed to any revenue with wheel tax, gas tax or tolls. We can not continue to borrow for our roads. We are going to have to reallocate more funds towards transportation. The bidding process with the DOT needs to be streamlined.
5. Opioid problem how would you stem crisis
SS – We have to educate users and people who provide these medication. Focus on dealers or people who are caught we have to punish those people to the highest extent of the law.
TK – The answers are not in education it’s about asking addicts questions about how they got started and what went wrong. We have a shortage of crisis services in Washington County. Insurance is a huge problem. We need to invest in local communities and have people get trained on how to deal with this epidemic.
SZ – We need tough laws to make sure the criminals that are dealing drugs are put in jail and never released. We need laws to fight the crimes that are fueling the addictions. Often times gift cards are used in these crimes.
RG – This is very costly problem. Washington Co. did enter a lawsuit with 40 other counties statewide to go after big pharmaceutical companies. Education is important.
6. Drug testing and how it impacts welfare programs
RG – Gov. Walker is on the right track. Get people off welfare and you can do that with drug testing. Employers have a hard time finding quality workers because potential employees can’t pass the drug test.
SS – Support drug testing Gov. Walker has proposed. We’ve made it too easy for people to stay home and not work. Invest in programs to put people back to work. First issue is the drug testing and that’s the most beneficial.
TK – How honest is someone on a questionnaire. The system is broken and the problem is there are more benefits to stay on welfare than going to work. We have to reward work. It’s a big game and I have unique insight and I know people who are doing this and it’s wrong. I know how to stop it and I have a unique advantage on how to resolve these issues.
SZ – I support a legit test so people are not receiving welfare benefits if they’re using drugs. We need to expand on welfare to work that Gov. Tommy Thompson championed. We need to get people off of welfare and get good paying jobs to not have people depend on government subsidies.
7. All candidates said they would not vote to legalize pot.
8. How would you work to have a relationship with the Conservation Congress and DNR
TK – Come back the people and ask the people if you don’t know. The DNR is a beast in itself.
SZ – We need less DNR regulations. Protect clean water and clean air but we don’t need DNR to regulate every stretch of wetland or shore land.
RG –Strong proponent for smaller government. Some regulations need to be in place to protect waterways and trees but it should be done on the local level. Consult with land owners and taxpayers.
SS – There’s no better steward of those resources than the hunters and fishermen.
Business development and growth and developing a skilled labor workforce
SS – Not every kid needs to go to college. Foxconn is a good issue – jobs will migrate into Wisconsin.
TK – Small businesses provide vast majority of jobs and we have to reduce costs to business and stop unemployment fraud and streamline regulations and reduce frivolous lawsuits. Prepare workforce and invest in K-12 education and increase worker training. Attract and retain our own workforce – we need to keep our graduates close to home and Foxconn will help with that.
SZ – Welfare to work. Support technical colleges not everyone needs a 4-year degree. Make sure a high school diploma is worth something. Support companies, like Foxconn, that will create jobs.
RG – Support all levels of education. Kids are learning the trades like engineering and math through smart boards in Slinger. We need to be innovative in how we recruit our teachers. I attended a conference and they spoke about regionalizing transportation groups – pro active in attracting business.
One minute close
RG – Best position to carry on the legacy of Glenn Grothman, Pat Strachota and Bob Gannon. On path to be debt free. We need more conservative leadership in Madison. Every unborn child deserves the right to live.
SS – I am the person who will continue to take the 58th and lead the state from the 58th. I am the candidate that can push the state forward.
TK – I’m a natural-born leader, I was chair of the Salvation Army, vice commander of American Legion Post. One of two candidates and we got duel endorsement from Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro Life Wisconsin. Ask for support and will go back to work for you.
SZ – I’m a self-describe Trump conservative.