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Seventh District Congress

Seventh District Congress Seventh District Congress

Democrat Zunker challenges Rep. Tiffany, a Republican, Nov. 3

The Seventh District of Wisconsin will see a Nov. 3 congressional race rematch between incumbent Rep. Tom Tiffany, a Minocqua Republican, and Democrat Tricia Zunker, Wausau, a Ho-Chunk Supreme Court justice and president of the Wausau Board of Education.

Tiffany defeated Zunker handily in a May 12 special election to replace resigned congressman Rep. Sean Duffy by 14 points or 28,000 votes.

Over the past two weeks, both candidates were contacted and asked to present their views for a profile.

Their remarks are reported below.

Opening statements

Zunker said she continues to hammer home issues first brought up in the special election.

A top priority is affordable, universal health care, she said. She supports Obamacare and worries that Amy Coney Barrett, a Republican-backed nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, willvoid the law as unconstitutional, leaving 27,000 residents in the Seventh District without insurance and the rest of the district at risk of losing health insurance that must cover pre-existing conditions.

Zunker said she supports federal legislation to rein in the cost of prescription drugs.

The candidate said she supports protecting the environment. She said the Seventh District faces significant environmental challenges, including a natural gas pipeline through Polk County, factory-sized dairy farms in the Northwoods and a Badger Minerals sulfide mine in Oneida County.

Zunker believes that fighting climate change is a priority and she supports overturning the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United in order to get “big money” out of elections.

Tiffany said people should vote for him based on the work his office in Washington, D.C. has already accomplished. He said he was able to push forward the Coronavirus Food Assis- tance Program and include important Wisconsin commodities, including ginseng. His office has been working to secure Navy contracts for the ports of Superior and Duluth and trying to secure broadband expansion funding for northern Wisconsin. “With the rioting and looting, people are bailing out of the cities and realtors tell me they can’t keep Northwoods property on the market,” he said. “Wisconsin has an opportunity here, but we need broadband to make that happen.”

Tiffany said he has a “restore, rebuild and reopen” plan to deal with COVID-19 that takes the virus seriously, but is opposed to untargeted lockdowns. The elderly and frail should be protected from the disease, he said.

Our questions

The two candidates were asked a series

of identical questions. Their answers are reported below.

Question One. Should the federal USDA should continue to subsidize ag producers at the $46 billion level like it will this year?

Zunker said she supported the federal government continuing to support small and medium sized farmers, but not owners of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). “We need better regulations on those farms,” she said.

Tiffany said he supports further subsidies paid to farmers because “we can’t afford to let ag collapse” and thinks the payments are justified because commodity prices tanked as a result of government edicts regarding COVID-19. That said, Tiffany said he supports new trade deals that will stabilize and improve commodity prices.

Question Two. If a 6-3 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, should the Congress respond with any legislation regarding abortion?

Zunker said she supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s view in Casey v. Planned Parenthood that women have abortion rights consistent with their “bodily autonomy.” She said the abortion question has been needlessly polarized as either “Pro-Life” or “Pro-Choice.” She said that she is both, seeking life in getting people better health care care, but also choice in thinking that an abortion question does not belong to the government but is “between a patient, her physician and her faith.”

Tiffany said he is Pro-Life, having voted to defund Planned Parenthood and late term abortions, but is unconvinced that a 6-3 conservative majority would necessarily reverse Roe v. Wade. He noted that Chief Justice John Roberts has sided with court liberals many times, as have justices Neil Gorsuch and Brent Kavanaugh. “Those justices are more independent than those portrayed in the national media,” he said.

Tiffany said that should Roe v. Wade be struck down he would support state legislatures, not Congress, deciding the abortion question.

Question Three. Should the United States extend full diplomatic relations to Taiwan even if the People’s Republic of China would consider that a provocation and threaten war?

Zunker said “absolutely not.” She said that the United States should pursue diplomacy with China “without being steamrolled over.” The Democrat said Tiffany, who has supported a bill that would recognize Taiwan, as “political grandstanding and a bit reckless.”

Tiffany said he supports full diplomatic recognition of Taiwan and to end this country’s “One China Policy.” He said this position does not amount

to “fighting words” but stands firm against China, a communist country that seeks world domination. Tiffany said he opposes China’s continued theft of U.S. intellectual property and repression of liberty in Hong Kong.

Question Four. Should the federal government pass another COVID-19 stimulus package?

Zunker said the federal government should pass further stimulus, including extending unemployment insurance and sending checks to struggling small businesses and family farmers.

She blamed the Trump administration for a “failure of leadership” on handling COVID-19 and failing to listen to American scientists on how to contain the disease.

She said that a stimulus bill should be financed by taxing “millionaires and billionaires” and collecting taxes on legalized marijuana.

Tiffany said he voted against a $2.2 trillion stimulus bill put forward by House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi because it included a “grab bag” of liberal initiatives, including bailouts of Democratic leaning states (Illinois, California and New York) and the return of the state and local tax tax deduction which benefits “millionaires and billionaires.” He said he supports, instead, spending $138 billion already authorized by the CARES Act to help businesses, including hotels and restaurants, that have been “hurt really bad” by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tiffany said federal debt reduction is a major priority for him.

Tom Tiffany