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Assembly, Senate candidates face off in forum

Assembly, Senate candidates face off in forum Assembly, Senate candidates face off in forum

Republican primary for 29th Senate District and 87th Assembly is Aug. 9

While the primary ballot is filled with a number of high profile statewide races, for many area residents the headlining races are the Republican Primary for the 87th Assembly District and 29th Senate Districts.

In 29th Senate District longtime incumbent Republican Jerry Petrowski of Marathon City is stepping down and three candidates, Brent Jacobson, Jon Kaiser and Cory Tomczyk are seeking the Republican ticket. On the assembly side, incumbent James Edming of Glen Flora is facing challenger Mike Bub of Medford. The two were rivals eight years ago when Edming narrowly won the Republican ticket On Sunday, the candidates took part in a forum hosted by The Star News and held at the Taylor County Fair. The forum was recorded and is available to be viewed online at www.centralwinews. com. Candidates were asked a series of questions and had an opportunity to meet with local voters.

Assembly race

Both candidates started sharing why they were running. Edming pointed to his achievements in office such as working to get passing the citizenship test a condition of graduation as well as joining with his colleagues on a number of other efforts.

Bub said there was a need for change and criticized Edming’s support for the creation of the Wisconsin Election Commission, a system he said doesn’t work. He also criticized the assembly passage of bills they knew would be vetoed by Gov. Tony Evers. He noted that Edming had served four years under Republican Gov. Scott Walker and that none of those bills were brought up during that time.

Wisconsin’s rural areas are rapidly aging and employers are struggling to fill positions. Many rural areas have seen a population decline in recent decades. What can the state do to encourage young families to choose to live and work in rural areas such as Taylor County?

Bub said there is a need for affordable housing in communities in order to attract and retain new residents. He cited the work he has done on the Medford city council and Taylor County board in recent years to promote growth in the area. He cited the city’s partnership with local industry to bring new apartment buildings and building lots to the community, projects with construction already underway.

Bub also cited the need for expansion of high speed internet. He compared internet to the current generation as being what electricity was to prior generations. He reviewed the work that he has done leading the county’s broadband expansion project and promised that when completed there will be internet access available at a cost of $50 per month to county residents. While the county borrowed $9 million to do the work, he noted they have a private company that has expressed interest in purchasing the county’s network at a price of $11 million.

When questioned by Edming about how he can commit to that amount for residential internet, Bub noted it was written into the contract with the company laying the fiber optic cables.

Edming took the approach of needing to scale back regulations in order to make housing more affordable. He said it is not necessarily the material cost that is driving housing expense but the regulatory burden put on homeowners by county and state government. “I don’t know that today you could build your own home without thousands and thousands of dollars in [regulatory costs],” he said.

As far as internet expansion, Edming supported people using the Starlink satellite system owned by Elon Musk. He said with that system people can be out in the forest and have internet. He noted there is a higher upfront cost for those systems but there is more flexibility of where people can choose to live.

Would you support changes to the revenue caps on schools, counties and municipalities to take into account inflationary and competitive pressures?

Edming opposed increasing revenue caps and used his time criticizing the way public schools deliver education. He spoke of districts not teaching what children should know and that he has heard of school districts sending out questionnaires asking students in grades six to 12 what they feel their gender is suggesting there are schools that allow litter boxes in bathrooms for students who identify as cats or dogs.

He said he supports revenue caps but suggested the revenue sharing system should be revised. Bub said he would not adjust the revenue caps now, but would instead look at providing relief for local governments through changes in the revenue sharing. He noted the state has a large surplus and that surplus could be used to address local budget shortfalls.

There have been calls to make first offense operating while intoxicated a criminal rather than a civil offense. Would you support this change? Why or why not?

Bub opposed making first offense OWIs a criminal offense. “People make mistakes,” he said.

That said, Bub noted he sits on the county human services board and that there is a serious issue with drugs and alcohol. He said he would like to see more stringent counseling for a person who receives their first OWI as a way to stop addiction and repeat offenses.

Edming also did not support a harsher penalty for first offense OWI. He took a stronger stand on those who commit sex offenses or are involved with drugs. “Everybody can go to a party and have too much, but drugs are a different ballgame,” Edming said.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, miscarriages occur in 10 to 15 % of all known pregnancies within the first 20 weeks and ectopic pregnancies occur in about one out of every 100 pregnancies. Would you support legislation to guarantee that women will have access to medical attention for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancy without them or their medical providers facing prosecution?

Edming cited his pro-life stance and criticized policies that allowed women to get abortions especially late term abortion. He objected to the idea of women getting pregnant and getting multiple abortions suggesting there were women who have had a half dozen abortions. He criticized the governor for vetoing a measure that would have required doctors to attempt to save the life of a baby if it was born alive during a partial birth abortion.

“If a woman needs help because of a miscarriage, we need to be there for them,” Bub said. He noted his own pro-life credentials and his support of organizations such as Abiding Care Pregnancy Resource Center in Medford which he praised for providing follow up and support for mothers. “I think we need to help women,” he said saying they need to stand with them as they are going through miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies.

29th Senate Race

Three Republican candidates will face off in a primary race Aug. 9 for the 29th State Senate District seat. Brent Jacobson, Jon Kaiser and Cory Tomczyk are competing to face Democrat Bob Look.

The 29th District includes all of Rusk and Taylor counties and parts of Marathon, Sawyer, Clark and Wood counties.

Would you support changes to the revenue caps on schools, counties and municipalities to take into account inflationary and competitive pressures?

Jacobsen noted the difference between the funding formula for schools and those of municipalities. He objected to the idea that to improve public schools, the state

Watch the full forum online at

James Edming