State Assembly District 22 Candidate
Occupation: University administrator
Membership in the Democratic Party: No
Why are you running for the state Assembly?
I strongly believe that the people in the 22nd deserve a candidate with a strong public service record, one who brings the best to the district. My record of service in Shorewood, first as a trustee then as Village President, is such a record. I also serve on the board of the North Shore Fire Department that serves most of the areas within the 22nd district, including Fox Point, River Hills, Glendale, Whitefish Bay and Shorewood. I look forward to extending my desire to serve the community to the needs our residents have in Madison. My style is to be issue-driven in a non-partisan manner. I strongly believe this approach is what is needed to return Wisconsin to its heritage of government excellence.
What are your qualifications?
I have alluded to them in the above question: Village Trustee and Village President of a progressive village are important qualifications. I am the only candidate with elected office experience. Besides my public service involvement, in my full-time job, I am the director of the Executive MBA Program UWM's Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business. I previously had experience as an executive at Harnischfeger Industries. My education credentials include an engineering degree and an MBA. What the residents of the 22nd get is a candidate with strong management credentials, a progressive approach to the issues of the day and proven dedication to public service.
What are the biggest challenges facing your district?
The biggest challenge facing the 22nd is the challenge facing the entire state: fixing the budget deficit. My challengers may talk about new programs they will want to see coming to the 22nd. Those programs-a better environment, health care, stronger education-all need attention. In Shorewood, our board took up many of these topics while I was president; passing a smoking ban, creating a shoreland ordinance protecting the river bluff and finding creative ways to fund special school projects. But at the state level, none of this can occur unless legislators sit together and fix the structural deficit.
How will you ensure that Milwaukee has adequate state aid at the same time the state has a large structural budget deficit?
Everyone will have to feel some pain in order to fix the deficit. The public sector, specifically K-12 education and local government have begun to do their part with "caps." The residential property tax payer has also been doing a fair share. Now, business, technical schools, the university system, and state government will all have to pitch in. Milwaukee will not get adequate state aid in the next biennium. No one else will either. The work of the legislature is to make that pain equitable so that in 2011-13 we can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of finding a solution for the structural deficit problem and be ready to move forward.
How will you spur job growth in the Milwaukee area?
First, see my answer above. Then (following the next biennial budget), high quality transportation including full intra-regional service, fast trains in the Chicago-Milwaukee-Twin Cities corridor, and a focus on energy efficient transportation will be the highest priority. This has to be paired with quality of life issues in the Milwaukee area. Where once we had the best county park system in the nation, we have sunk below almost every metropolitan area.
Do you support a comprehensive health care plan like Healthy Wisconsin? Why? If not, what would you prefer?
I favor comprehensive health care for all, but it has to come at the national level to be effective. But children must come first, and state programs already in place must insure that all our children have health care access.
Should private insurers be required to cover autism spectrum disorders and comprehensive mental health treatment?
Comprehensive mental health treatment is a necessity be it autism, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, etc. These are illnesses just as are physical conditions, and should be covered similarly.
Do you believe that the Milwaukee School Choice Program is a success? Why? Should it be expanded to other parts of the county or state? Should it be eliminated? Do you want to change the way the program is funded?
It should be eliminated. The Choice program has no responsibility to educate special education students and does not have to answer to the standards that all public schools must. It sucks money out of public education with no greater success than the public system. Reinvigorate the public sector with high levels of accountability going hand in hand with high quality professional development for teaching staff instead.
Do you support a statewide smoking ban that includes bars and restaurants?
Absolutely. Opponents of the ban must see the inevitability of passage, noting that Wisconsin may be the last of its neighboring states to act on banning smoking for health reasons. In Shorewood, I voted for the ordinance we passed on a comprehensive smoking ban, and I will fight for statewide passage.
Do you believe that the state should ease its restrictions on building more nuclear power plants?
"Ease restrictions" is a loaded phrase. To what should they be eased? Should more nuclear plants be built? Yes, but only when we have resolved what to do with our waste and with strong restrictions that result in high-quality, safe plants. With these insurances, nuclear plants are a better option than fossil plant options, both in terms of fuel availability environmental protection.
Should children of illegal immigrants who graduated from a Wisconsin high school be able to pay in-state tuition at a state college?
If Roe v. Wade were overturned by the Supreme Court, would you vote to allow a woman the right to choose an abortion?
Roe v. Wade has worked in giving women decision-making abilities since the early 1970s, and if it is overturned, it is incumbent on the state not to take the decision authority from a women and her health care provider.
Would you vote to allow Milwaukee County to raise the sales tax one cent to provide property tax relief and pay for transit, parks and the arts?
I'm leery of such a simplistic solution. There might be ten good reasons to raise sales tax. Let's put this in the context of fixing the overall deficit-if a sales tax is good for the overall fix, and then let's put it into place. But, unlike what happened with Miller Park, let's sunset it with a specific date and let's hold the officials accountable who control the funding streams.