Assembly District 16 Democratic Candidates Dent v. Young

Jul. 15, 2014
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On Tuesday, Aug. 12, activist Tracey Dent will face state Rep. Leon Young for the Democratic nomination for Assembly District 16. There is no Republican or independent candidate in this race, so the winner of the Democratic primary will run unopposed in November. Both candidates answered the Shepherd’s candidate questionnaire. Here are their responses. 

Tracey Dent

How are you employed?

I work at Quad Graphics through Elite Capital Group.

Why are you running for office?

I am running for office because I feel that it’s time for change in Madison. As someone who is actively involved in the community I understand the issues that the people of the 16th Assembly District are facing.   

What are your top three issues and, if elected, how would you address them?

Violence, Education, and Employment, I would address the violence by doing a resolution for a violence prevention month. This will encourage people to form block watches and neighborhood associations. I would address Education by having an education awareness month. This would encourage parents to become more involved in their children education. I would create legislation that would help improve the education system. For example, making sure that all teachers are certified. I would address the issue of Employment by creating a task force for job creation. 

How would you spur job growth in your district?

I would give tax benefits to small business owners.  I would network with other city with similar demographics that have positive job growth and incorporate it here in the city of Milwaukee.

Do you support school vouchers and independent charters? How should the state oversee these schools?

I don’t support school vouchers or charter schools.

Do you believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion?

Yes, but I do not believe in public funding to pay for the abortions.

What are your thoughts on Act 10? Did it work? What do you want to do about it?

I think that Act 10 was a bad thing because it was an attack on the union workers because of collective bargaining. No, Act 10 did not work. I want to work on amendments that would change Act 10.  

Should the state revisit voter ID? If so, how?


Which budget cuts would you like to see enacted?

There aren’t any new budget cuts that I would like to see. I would like to revisit previous budgets and possible add funding back to certain programs. (Public education, social services, and mental health just to name a few.)

Why should Shepherd readers vote for you?

The readers should vote for me because I am heavy invested in the community, I am a leader, I am aware of the issues that the constituents are facing in the 16th Assembly District. The 16th Assembly District needs someone who is transparent and who is willing to work with constituents to get things done.

State Rep. Leon Young


How are you employed? 

I have been employed as a full-time state legislator for 22 years.

Why are you running for office? 

I am running for public office to ensure that all voices of my constituency are represented and then being considered in the decision-making process in Madison that directly impacts our community.

What are your top three issues, and, if elected, how would you address them?

In my view, the top three issues confronting our state are: jobs (lack of employment), public education, and crime (gun violence).

First, I think it’s imperative to spur economic development in our state, by formulating real public policy solutions that create new jobs, with family-sustainable wages.

Moreover, I totally support and will continue the fight to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

Second, I will fight to restore the massive budget cuts ($1.6 billion) for public education (k-12) in Act 10.

And third, the epidemic of gun violence is a major problem in our community and should be treated as a public health crisis. More specifically, I would require universal background checks for all handgun transactions, more police on the streets, and impose greater penalties for carrying handguns illegally.

But, in truth, the crime problem that we face will never be effectively addressed until we start paying real attention to its root causes: poverty, poor education and lack of employment opportunities.

How would you spur job growth in your district?

I believe one of the best ways to spur job growth in my district is by making more seed, angel and venture capital available for local residents to start their own business where they live.  Moreover, I also think that there must be greater economic incentives to entice lending institutions to make more loans for business expansion, in order to hire new workers from the community and increasing economic development for that area.

Do you support school vouchers and independent charters? How should the state oversee them? 

Like it or not, school vouchers are now a matter of state law. With that being said, I’m definitely opposed to the current expansion of voucher and independent charter schools. In response to this current erosion of the public school system, I believe the state must enact basic school accountability standards for all schools that receive taxpayer funding, in order to safeguard the quality of education being offered to those students who attend those schools.

Do you believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion?

I strongly believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion and in protecting access to women’s health care in Wisconsin. Moreover, last session I voted against legislation that forces a woman to have an ultrasound before having an abortive procedure.

What are your thoughts on Act 10? Did it work? What do you want to do about it?

Act 10, Scott Walker’s first biennial budget, was extremely divisive public policy that literally forced 14 Democratic Senators to flee the state. This budget bill was a complete power grab for Walker’s rich special interests. Act 10 works exceedingly well for people of substantial means, but for poor and working-class families, this budget has created countless hardships. If given the opportunity, I would work to repeal most, if not, all, of the provisions contained in this legislation, especially the provision that took away collective bargaining rights for most state workers.

Should the state revisit voter ID? If so, how?

In my opinion, the only reason for the Legislature to revisit the voter ID issues is to repeal the entire legislation. I completely concur with Judge Adelman’s decision that the voter ID requirement is unconstitutional, and would deny thousands of legitimate Wisconsin voters their right to vote.

Which budget cuts would you like to see enacted?

  • Restoring collective bargaining rights and right to organize for state workers
  • Restoring $1.6 billion in cuts for public education
  • Restoring $1 billion in transportation bonding (WI Act 20), and use the funding to promote mass transit in the state
  • Restore $56 million cut in the last budget for earned income tax credit 
  • Remove waiting period for unemployment benefits

Why should Shepherd readers vote for you?

  • 22 years of legislative experience and senior minority-member in the Assembly
  • In the last four years as a WHEDA board member, has brought over $77 million in WHEDA loans and investments for residents in the 16th Assembly District
  • Authored legislation that has generated over $500,000 for WI food banks ($300,000 going directly to food banks in Milwaukee)
  • Helped to deliver $1 million in state funding for job training in Milwaukee

(WRTP/Big Step)

  • Worked to secure $10 million in emergency energy assistance for Milwaukee’s low-income residents
  • Lobbied to secure $8 million in state funding for expansion of dental school at

Marquette University

  • I believe I have a responsibility to help empower our community






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