Wisconsin 99th Assembly District candidates differ on economy fixes
The race between incumbent State Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and challenger Thomas Hibbard for the 99th Assembly District seat pits a clear ideological clash. While both men agree that the economy should be a top priority, they differ on how to remedy its problems.
Kapenga argues that budget reform, eliminating government red tape and enacting a proposed mining bill that could bring jobs to northern Wisconsin is the best approach.
Hibbard believes that restoring cuts to public and technical education and investing in green energy would yield the best results.
While Hibbard is the challenger, he is no stranger to politics. He ran unsuccessfully against State Rep. Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) for the 99th Assembly District seat in 2010, but he is also the secretary of the Waukesha County Democratic Party.
Kapenga is completing his first term in the Assembly. He is also on the ballot in a primary for the open 33rd State Senate District seat in aspecial election against fellow Republican Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) to fill the seat vacated by former Senator Rich Zipperer.
Q If elected, what issue would top your list of priorities?
Kapenga: Mining bill, tax and fee reduction through budget reform, and welfare reform.
Hibbard: Getting the economy going again. The Republicans slashing budgets won't bring prosperity. We need a balance of government initiatives, education (including technical education), trimming wastefulness, and forward-looking ideas. Prosperity is essentially doing things. The idea is determine the needs and put people to work. Everybody benefits. That's prosperity.
Q What is your stance on Act 10?
Kapenga: It is a great piece of legislation that I am proud to have been a part of. Keep it.
Hibbard: Repeal. Unions are the voice of working people. Without unions, workers are at the mercy of employers. Repealing Act 10 is at the heart of protecting the middle class. I believe in private enterprise. But the prosperous life we had in the past, which we do not have today, depends on public workers.
Q Beyond initiatives already in place, how would you work to attract jobs and grow businesses in your district and Wisconsin?
Kapenga: See above - first two items. I will also be working on regulatory reform, as our government red tape is still too cumbersome for businesses.
Hibbard: I would restore the deep cuts that Republicans made to public education. Thirty percent of the technical school budget was cut. I would also try for elevating the green economy - alternative energy, farmer's markets, using local products, small business ideas. Fast food and big box are actually harmful to local economies.
Q What are your thoughts on requiring voters to show ID at the polls?
Kapenga: We passed the law. Now we need to pass legislation to stop the activist Madison judges from using personal bias versus interpreting the laws passed by representatives of the people in the Legislative and Executive branches.
Hibbard: Our founding fathers were a different breed. They would be appalled at the restrictiveness of voter IDs. They did not intend elections to be an exclusive country club for the well-off. The reason for elections is to give those less well-off an opportunity to express themselves. We should have more people voting, not fewer.
Q What are the greatest challenges facing the people of the 99th Assembly District, and how would you help them address those challenges?
Kapenga: Biggest concern on the doors is still jobs and economy. See my previous statements for how I will address.
Hibbard: The greatest challenge we have in thisdistrict and Southeastern Wisconsin is deciding what type of community we want to become. Do we proceed subject to the profit motives of a few developers? Or do we together create a preservative plan according to newer environmental and economic models?
Family members (with ages): Cari, wife, 39; Hailey, 12, Sophie, 10
Previously held elected offices: State representative for 33rd Assembly District since 2010. Running for 33rd State Senate District special election
Education: Bachelor's degree in accountancy from Calvin College, 1994
Thomas D. Hibbard
Family members: None
Previously held elected offices: Secretary, Waukesha County Democrats
Education: University Lake School, Amherst College, teaching assistant at UW-Whitewater for two semesters
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