Bigger workforce or bigger budget reforms?
33rd candidates have different fixes for economy
A special election to fill Rich Zipperer's vacant State Senate seat will be held Nov. 6.
While it is technically a primary, the winner will likely take the seat. Republicans Paul Farrow and Chris Kapenga will run. Both are also running for re-election to the Assembly.
Currently, Kapenga serves in the 33rd Assembly District and Farrow in the 98th. Because of redistricting that went into effect this summer, Kapenga will run in the Assembly's 99th District.
Both candidates have backgrounds in the business world, but may have different approaches to filling the community's economic needs. Kapenga is the owner and president of Integrated Time Systems and is a certified public accountant; if elected, he would be the only CPA in the State Senate. Farrow and his partners continue to operate House to Home Services LLC. He has been a licensed home inspector since 2002.
The two serve on different committees in the Assembly, Farrow on Colleges and Universities and Kapenga on Ways and Means, for example, so their styles are a bit different. Of course, they both want to reduce red tape and lower taxes, but Kapenga emphasizes reform on the business owners' end while Farrow emphasizes filling the skills gap.
In some cases, the candidates' answers to the following questions were edited to meet the 50-word limit for each:
Q What is your highest priority and how would you address it?
Farrow: There is no question: The focus is the economy and putting people back to work. Together with my colleagues on the Governor's Council on College & Workforce Readiness Council, we are working to address Wisconsin's skills gap, and ensure that our state's future workforce is prepared for industry's needs.
Kapenga: The highest priority of my constituents is jobs and the economy, so that is my highest priority. (I would) pass the mining bill, lower our tax burden for both individual and business rates. This can be done through budget reform and improved accountability in spending. (I would also) reform our unemployment insurance system.
Q What's your stance on Act 10?
Farrow: Act 10 is working, and helped put Wisconsin back on the path to fiscal responsibility. We see the proof all over the state, as local governments exercise greater control over their budgets. Our reforms have empowered school boards, principals and teachers to improve education without being hamstrung by the unions.
Kapenga: I am disgusted that an activist judge has decided that his personal agenda is more important than doing his job. We will be looking at legislation to fix this abuse.
Q Beyond initiatives already in place, what can the state do to attract businesses?
Farrow: Too often, government regulations and taxes put our businesses at a competitive disadvantage. One of the tools needed to attract business is increased certainty in the permitting process with state agencies, including the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) and DOT (Department of Transportation). I will advocate pro-growth policies that will allow our workforce to thrive.
Kapenga: Reduce our tax burden, not just on business, but on individuals. Continue to reduce the regulation and red tape of government. It is still more difficult than it should be in this state to start a business or relocate. The silver bullet we are looking for is making Wisconsin a right-to-work state.
Q Should the state implement Voter ID?
Farrow: I was a proud co-sponsor of 2011 Act 23, the Voter Photo ID Law. The right to vote is a core principle of our democracy. We must protect that right and the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring those who vote are legally able to do so.
Kapenga: The state has passed a great voter ID law. We just need our Supreme Court justice to allow the case to be heard. There is no room in our court system for personal agendas. The courts are there strictly to interpret the rule of law put in place by the people through their elected representatives.
Family: Wife, Amy; sons Andrew and Jarod
Previous offices held: State Assembly 98th since 2010, up for re-election
Education: Business administration from Carroll College in 1991
Family: Wife, Cari; daughters Hailey and Sophie
Previous offices held: State Assembly 33rd since 2010, up for re-election in the 99th
Education: Accountancy from Calvin College in 1994
Where is it?
The 33rd Senate District is a combination of the 97th, 98th, and 99th Assembly districts. This covers, in whole or part, the cities of Waukesha, Delafield and Pewaukee; the villages of Chenequa, Dousman, Hartland, Merton, Nashotah, North Prairie, Oconomowoc Lake, Wales, Pewaukee and Sussex; the towns of Genesee, Mukwonago, Waukesha, Delafield, Merton, Ottawa, Summit and Lisbon.
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