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99th candidates differ on economy fixes

Oct. 30, 2012

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.

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 is your top priority?

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 an ID at 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 99th Assembly District, and how would you 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?

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Weekend Happenings

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Spring Seedling Sale & Greenhouse Open House: 10 a.m. May 23, NuGenesis Farm, N68 W33208 County Road K, Oconomowoc. A variety of organic veggie and herb seedlings to plant in your home or community garden this spring will be for sale. All plant sale profits will benefit the Giving Garden initiative.

Memorial Honor Celebration: 8 a.m. May 23, Wisconsin Harley-Davidson, 1280 Blue Ribbon Drive, Oconomowoc. Daylong event begins with reveille and breakfast at 8 a.m. followed by color guard and the national anthem. The event also includes military and veterans organizations, interactive displays and vehicles, food and beverages and entertainment. Evening showing of “Honor Flight: One Last Mission.” on a big, outdoor screen.

"Small Space Container Gardens" Seminar: 11 a.m. May 23, Ebert’s Greenhouse Village, W1795 Fox Road, Ixonia. Free educational seminar by gardening expert Melinda Myers. Melinda, who will also be available to answer gardening questions. Enter to win a $500 Ebert’s shopping spree with Melinda.

Tyke Hike: 10 a.m. May 23, Lapham Peak State Park, W329 N846, Delafield. Children and their families will hike with a guide and a representative of the Delafield Library will share books, songs and a craft to enhance the experience. Meet at the Lapham Peak Tower. State park sticker is required.

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