Steve Doyle – 94th Assembly District (Incumbent)
- Came from the sense of collegiality and “let’s make this work”.
- “I didn’t go down there as a bomb thrower to trash the republican party. I went down there to solve problems and make things work”
- I consider myself a pragmatist. If there’s a proposal to save money and cut spending, I’m willing to look at it. I really like to look at alternatives.
Albert Rohland – 94th Assembly District (Challenger)
- With his military background, you can’t get any more nonpartisan than that. I see the role is to serve the public.
- Great Lakes Cheese machine operator
Paul Buhr – 96th Assembly District (to replace Lee Nerrison)
- 70 cow dairy farmer. Also has a genetics business selling female and female embryos
- Wife and three children. None of his children live in the district. We need to bring people back to the rural districts in order to have a rural economy — young people in particular.
- Rural roads & broadband are his priority
- Need to come to agreement to advance the common good.
Lauren Oldenberg – 96th Assembly District (to replace Lee Nerrison)
- Rural farmer
- Common sense solutions and common sense ideas by asking questions – why and how, particularly
- Lauren Oldenberg – need to keep government regulations in check so they can thrive – employ more people, grow, start businesses. Keep taxes in Check
- Paul Buhr – the role of government is to do what we can’t. Responsible government builds roads. 58% of Vernon and Crawford County are in poor condition. Need good public schools. Need broadband so people can telecommute. We need to work together to make things happen. Regulations need to be practical. We do need regulation in our lives (ex. speed limits). They need to be common-sense solutions. I want to be the voice of rural legislators. Vernon County has grown despite the decline in rural areas. Having cultural things going on has served us well to grow our community
- Albert Rohland – limited regulations for growth. Education: I’m a first generation immigrant so this is very important, specifically vocational (doctors, plumbers, etc.). Broadband internet is what he is hearing.
- Paul Buhr – look at total cost of what we want to accomplish. Maintain what we have. We cannot continue to borrow money to fund highway projects due to debt service will make the problem worse. We need to stop the big projects and pay down debt. We need to reprioritize. Gas taxes and registration fees have been stagnant. Dam maintenance is a concern in Vernon County.
- Lauren Oldenberg – We need to look at cost efficiency before we raise the gas tax. I would need to see the numbers and see if that make sense for my people. Many people drive in the rural areas and this impacts their bottom line. Dam breakage in Vernon County is hitting hard.
- Steve Doyle – a panel of businesses that he organized said that the current system is not sustainable. The gas tax is a logical way to try to solve this problem. I’m willing to put my name behind that.
- Albert Rohland – we may have to raise the gas tax, but we need to take a tax away. It’s not a county or state problem, it’s a national problem. It’s going to take a combination of gas tax, user fees / registrations. Raise one and lose one.
- Laura Oldenberg – education is the solution.
- Paul Buhr – he has only been able to do it by adding value. His farm went organic. Education is also a key through good public schools that teach kids in a direction society needs them. We need to have a system our people want to buy into. They need to want to work because they buy into working and aren’t burdened by debt. We need to give them an opportunity to be a part of this capitalized society.
- Albert Rohland. Mentorship and apprenticeship – retraining consistently. Clear promotional model.
- Steve Doyle – we are penny-wise and pound foolish. We need to address compensation in the public school system. This is a problem in our state along with brain drain in the public sector. Private sector – this is self-regulation. If you don’t pay accordingly, your competition will thrive and you will be left in the dust. Minimum wage – $7.25 is not sustainable. They are paying more in daycare than they are earning. They are going to work to lose money. $15 minimum wage is not a one-step action. To do this overnight, we would have a lot of pushback. We should have people wanting people to come here to work vs. advertising.
- Paul Buhr: increase property taxes are tapped. Need to increase value. Give people the reason to move here and build homes. Wheel tax is desperation move. Shared revenue is not shared fairly in rural areas. Roads are a state problem. Need to look at the estate budget. Need to make some hard decisions. Need to look at how we increase it. “If you want whiskey, need to find a way to pay for it.” Need to find a way to generate wealth. Bring all the citizens up by improving infrastructure, improving education, ensure all have broadband, healthcare. Then we have enough bodies to fill jobs. The unintended consequences of farmland assessments. Investor groups are buying up parcels and being taxed at a low rate who have no interest in local community. Yet the price is then too high for young farmers to enter the market.
- Lauren Oldenberg – As wages go up, more people spend money, property tax value increase. Keep the levy limits and go through referendums to increase. Will defend the preservation of farmland value — this would hurt a lot of pockets in 96th Assembly District. This would ripple into businesses if farmers hurt. Levy limits promote business growth. Hate to see it go away. Fund roads through referendums, bonds, other fees possible.
- Albert Rohland – still forming an opinion.
- Steve Doyle – freezes or reduction in the state and levy limits are squeezing our schools and local government. La Crosse County had $30.4 mil levy limit. That’s a 16% increase or 2.3% increase annually. During that time period, hot mix has gone up 80% and sealant has gone up 200% to fix roads. Schools have a referendum to raise money. If they need to add on to school or increase funding. This increases the property taxes. “The state needs to step up. It’s not doing its job and the local governments are getting stuck.” He wants to see the state do its job.
- Albert Rohland – the way he did it was the right way to do it. It took two years – when he was six it began and he was eight when it happened. It costs money and time.
- Lauren Oldenberg: there are some farmers who rely on immigrants. There is a process in place and he would like to work with employers to do this properly.
- Paul Buhr: as a dairyman, I have a lot of colleagues who rely on immigrant labor. They are good people – they are responsible, show up for work. They are being marginalized. Given our birth rate and the number of jobs needing to be filled, it is hard to fill. We need to be cautious in how we move forward. Wisconsin should be a good partner to ensure we have an adequate workforce on our farms.
- Steve Doyle: if we end immigration, our agriculture and manufacturing will collapse. Our economy will collapse. We need to enforce the laws we have. We need to deal with the people we have here today. We need to pull the politics out of this. After elections, we need to find a solution. It’s a national issue, not a state issue. We want to be a partner to resolve this in a fair and humane way.