By Joe Bachman
On Nov. 8, challenger and Wisconsin Rapids resident David Gorski will be taking on incumbent Republican Scott Krug for the Wisconsin State Assembly District 72.
The City Times spoke to a passionate Gorski on his view on issues pertaining to Central Wisconsin, and his plans for office, if elected.
On groundwater concerns and CAFOs in Wisconsin —
“I’ve been to many meetings at ‘Protect Wood County and its Neighbors’ — the core group has endorsed me, because they know that this issue is just as important to me as it is to them,” said Gorski. “They’ve lost faith in Scott Krug.”
Gorski wants to protect the region from concentrated animal feeding operations, (CAFO) and mega-farms. According to Gorski, his opponent is known to take money from big agriculture.
“When push comes to shove, he is going to back big-ag over the interests of the overwhelming majority of the residents of Saratoga, Rome, and Grand Rapids,” said Gorski. “”We’re not moving forwards, we’re moving backward — we’re allowing our state to be polluted.”
On the condition of Wisconsin’s roads and infrastructure —
“Apparently, our roads are the third worst in the country — that’s not a way to retain or attract businesses,” said Gorski. “Scott Walker took $800 million from the general fund, which is not a good idea because that takes away from our schools and universities.”
Gorski proposes gaining revenue from transportation of oil through the Enbridge pipeline, including revenue through railroad transportation. Gorski is also not against raising the gas tax by a small amount.
“I’m not against raising the gas tax by one penny, or maybe even half a penny,” said Gorski. “I would pay that to help fix our roads — we can’t keep kicking the can down the road where our state deficit is exploding under Scott Walker.”
On school voucher programs, and if they should be funded by taxpayer money —
“Studying this issue, I’ve looked at the Milwaukee Parental School Choice Program, and overall, they’re worse than the public schools,” said Gorski. “The fact of the matter is, they are not accountable for student achievement — they are not subject to the elementary and secondary school act, otherwise known now as ‘Race to the Top'”.
Gorksi also makes mention of the ease of acquisition of curriculums, as they can be bought.
“We’re closing public schools down because of their test scores, and we’re opening these storefront schools,” said Gorski. “We can’t close down these school because they’re private businesses run on our tax dollars — what kind of economic system is that? This year alone, the voucher system will cost $258 million dollars, which is a lot of money for no accountability.”
On the issue of heroin and methamphetamine use in Central Wisconsin —
“I know a lot about prevention; I study it, and I’ve been a part of implementing prevention activities, and you need an educational element to this,” said Gorski. “What we can do in schools is make sure the students have a number of external assets, that they’re being supported. The more assets you have less likely you are to engage in risky behavior.
Gorski was a former Alcohol and Drugs Coordinator at his time working in the Nekoosa School District, and has written four grants for drug prevention. Gorksi also expresses the need for other factors, including law enforcement and treatment.
“We have to find the people coming into our communities to sell meth and heroin — we don’t want them here,” said Gorski. “We need treatment, as well.”
On the issue of creating jobs in our area —
“We can stimulate the economy by the refinancing of $19 billion dollars in student loan debt. If we can allow for the refinancing that is costing the state nothing, graduates would have another $200-300 dollars per month of income.”
He also wants to change the Wisconsin Development Economic Corporation, (WEDC) to focus on growing the economic on local levels.
“We can develop industry within our own community. We need to stop begging corporations that have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders, and not our communities,” said Gorksi. “We need to shift the whole idea of WEDC from corporations to communities.”
Gorski also expressed interest in green energy, and investing in solar and geothermal energies for the region, as well as invest in education.
On the issue of student loan debt —
“We’re talking about freezing tuition, which sounds like a good thing on the surface, and at the same time, we’re looking at cutting our universities — that’s what I like to call putting our universities between the anvil and the hammer,” said Gorski. “We are already bleeding talent out of this state.”
Gorksi calls for investing in our universities, and stepping away from funding by corporations, as well as taking federal money when offered to the state.
“All together there has been $770 million dollars that we did not take — that is $770 million dollars that could have went to a lot of different things in our state. There was $23 million dollars for rural broadband that we didn’t take.”
On the issue of healthcare in Wisconsin —
“Minnesota’s insurance premiums are less than ours – which is because we had an opportunity to take a close look at our insurance companies, which we didn’t do and Minnesota did,” said Gorski. “They also also developed their own state exchange, which also helped to keep premiums down.”
Gorski also references the actions of Governor Walker in not taking federal funding for Medicaid expansion.
“To all the Republicans out there — maybe Scott Walker saved you 75 cents like he saved me, but you know what he didn’t save you on? Your healthcare premiums. You’re paying much higher healthcare premiums because of the policies of Scott Walker.”
“We have turned into Minnesota’s sad-sack cousin.”