By Joe Bachman
Two candidates gunning for Representative Scott Krug’s position in Wisconsin’s 72nd State Assembly District spoke to a live audience on Monday night.
The League of Women Voters in Wisconsin Rapids hosted a forum which posed everything from water safety to student loan debt in what will lead to an Aug. 9 primary election. The winning candidate will go head to head with Scott Krug for his seat this November.
“I’ve spent many times in Scott Krug’s office battling him on issues, and I’m prepared to do that again,” said Democratic candidate Russ Brown. Brown hails from Coloma, and while he has a decade of banking experience, he has been an organic farmer for the past five years.
“I’m running to restore the Wisconsin I grew up in,” said candidate David Gorski. Gorski is a school counselor for Nekoosa and has worked in the district for 24 years, including serving as President of Nekoosa’s Community Drug Abuse Prevention Group.
Both candidates were in concurrence on issues such as free open records, raising the gas tax to help pay for government jobs, taking care of veterans, and taking on concentrated animal feeding operations. (CAFO) School funding, another hot topic was touched upon by both candidates.
“The revenue caps are another way to prove our schools are failing,” said Brown regarding state funding for schools. “Let’s raise our local revenue and replace the state money that’s been taken from us, and to have laws come down that say we cannot do that in our community is taking away our local control, taking away our democracy, and taking away what’s important to us.”
“Schools are under a lot of economic stress, and revenue limits are one of those,” said Gorski. “I think we should lift the revenue caps, but we’d have to be careful with that, and something we certainly need to look a — because what I see is a nationwide effort to defund, destroy and replace our public schools.”
The controversial Enbridge pipeline drew concern from the crowd as the question was posed on how the candidates would handle the expansion of this pipeline through Northern Wisconsin, a pipeline with according to state reports, 85 spills over the past decade.
“In some cases, this means taking people’s houses with eminent domain — this is a Canadian company condemning houses of U.S. citizens and Wisconsinites,” said Gorski. “To move the tar through the pipes we need tons of poisonous chemicals, and these pipes do leak all the time — We have to get off of fossil fuels; we have to move towards green energy.”
“There’s no one watching these pipes,” said Brown. “They run across miles and miles of land, and we’ve spent millions of dollars trying to clean up the Kalamazoo river, but these tar sands are not clean-up-able. They drop to the bottom and land in the sediment — we need to fight these tar sands for our local water concerns.”
A well received forum, the two candidates concluded the night’s discussions with strong closing statements.
“Let’s go green and create jobs,” said Gorski. “I am an honest, hard-working creative mover and shaker and I want to be your full time state representative.”
“Change is often ridiculed — ‘you can’t do these things, it’s impossible’ — but together we can do anything,” said Brown. “Together we can do everything.”