Khary Penebaker, Democratic Candidate for Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District

Oct. 11, 2016
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Democrat Khary Penebaker is running against longtime incumbent Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner to represent Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District. Here are Penebaker’s answers to the Shepherd’s candidate questionnaire. 

Your current occupation, education and career and personal information you’d like our readers to know:

I am the president of a local commercial roofing company, Roofed Right America, and a national advocate for the prevention of gun violence. I have a wonderful wife, Amanda; we live with three amazing children in Hartland. I graduated from Marquette University High School and then from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I began to work in roofing, and within a I founded my own company, which I grew from a three-person crew to a team of nearly four-dozen union employees.  

Why are you running for office?

Our current congressman is the second-senior-most member of the majority, and a mentor to both Paul Ryan and Mike Pence; he has the power to move Congress to fix whatever problems he cares about, and he does nothing. I am running because we deserve better representation, and the people of this district deserve the choice to reject our lazy, do-nothing incumbent.

What are the top three issues you’d like to address, and how would you address them?

My central issues are the economy, education and public safety. Many of our neighbors here in the 5th District are justifiably proud of the success they’ve achieved, and have a genuine desire to create good jobs and start new businesses. My proposals for hiring and entrepreneurial tax incentives would allow them to do so, you can see those details on my website, Bringing people in to the paid workforce earlier would also help new graduates pay off their student loans, but I want to go further and control the extortionate interest rates that our government currently charges our children. As for my record on public safety, I have long been an advocate for common sense reforms that would keep weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers and terrorists. 

How would you improve the economic climate in your district?

The people here want to create good jobs, my policy is simply to encourage that with the full power of the government. 

What will you do to reduce gun violence in your district and elsewhere?

The problem we have with gun violence is the absence of national universal background checks and standardized regulations. It accomplishes nothing to regulate our local stores when you can legally buy a gun in a parking lot, and it accomplishes nothing to fix that at the state level when Indiana is only a couple of hours away. 

Do you believe in increasing the federal minimum wage? If so, to what wage, and when?

Yes. We need to phase in minimum wage increases, avoiding destructive shocks to small businesses. A short-term target of $12/hour and a long-term target of $15/hour are necessary to correct for the inflation we have seen since the late 1980s. 

Do you believe a woman has the right to choose an abortion?

It is a fact that women in the United States have the right to choose abortion. 

How would you make college more affordable and help those burdened by student loan debt?

I would seek an immediate reduction of government-charged interest rates to below the rate that bailed-out banks were offered, target job opportunities at people who are carrying student loan debt, and add federal support for public universities that is tied to reductions in tuition charges. 

Do you support the Trans-Pacific Partnership?


Do you believe the U.S. should take in more refugees from war-torn countries?

We always have. The Wisconsin we know today would not exist without refugees fleeing Napoleon and Cromwell, or Bismarck and Hitler, or from many other villains all around the world. 

To learn more about Khary Penebaker, go to


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