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Tough road for fifth district challenger

Heaster takes on 17-term Sensenbrenner

Oct. 9, 2012

Menomonee Falls Internet technology architect Dave Heaster, 46, a Democrat, faces what many political observers might regard as an almost impossible task: upsetting 17-term incumbent Congressman James Sensenbrenner, a Republican, also of Menomonee Falls.

Not only has Sensenbrenner, 69, been a political fixture in Lake Country since being elected to Congress for the first time in 1978, but he also represents what is regarded as one of the strongest Republican congressional districts in Wisconsin.

On three occasions - 1998, 1994 and 1980 - Sensenbrenner was re-elected with no Democratic opposition.

In 14 contested re-elections, Sensenbrenner won by at least 60 percent of the vote, and on three occasions earned more than 80 percent of the votes cast.

Heaster, a Milwaukee area organizer for the liberal Democratic organization MoveOn.org, is making his first bid for public office.

Candidates were asked to keep their answers to 50 words on each of these questions.

Q Why do you think Congress has such a low approval rating in public opinion polls, and how could Congress be more effective?

Sensenbrenner: If the U.S. Senate would do its job, Congress would not have such a low approval rating. The House has passed over 30 job creation bills, but the Senate has failed to act on them, and they have not passed a budget in three years. Heaster: Partisan brinkmanship, infighting and greed all keep Congress from doing what they are sent to do: represent the people and get the job done. My approach: Get corporate money out of Washington and conduct a weekly happy hour where members of Congress could get to know one another outside of the politically charged House floor.

Q What should the next administration's top priority should be: stabilizing the Middle East, creating more jobs, reducing the national debt or repealing or improving "Obamacare"?

Heaster: Creating jobs. We need to remove barriers for the job creators to make the system work again. Unlike my opponent, I believe the job creators are the middle class. Keep the middle class healthy and everyone does well, even the wealthy.

Sensenbrenner: All of the above. Most Americans believe we are on the wrong track, and every one of these items contributes to that perception. The next president must address these issues with a specific plan, and he must pressure Congress to pass meaningful legislation dealing with each challenge.

Q What are the greatest challenges the people of the 5th Congressional District face, and how can you help them overcome that challenge?

Sensenbrenner: Jobs and the economy. The American public believes the country is going in the wrong direction, and a change in the White House is desperately needed. Using my seniority and proven record in passing meaningful legislation, I have the experience to rise above partisanship and achieve agreement and results.

Heaster: There is one thing that hits our district and the country as a whole: education. I want to fight for our students and teachers. If we are serious about creating jobs, an investment in education is the best way to ensure success. Education can also help in our war against terror.

James Sensenbrenner (inc.)

Age: 69

Occupation: Member of Congress

Educational background: Bachelor's degree, political science, StanfordUniversity; law degree, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Previous elected offices: Wisconsin State Assembly, Wisconsin State Senate

Honors or organizations: Named Man of the Year by Human Events magazine; chaired House Judiciary Committee and Committee on Science, Space and Technology and was a House floor manager in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

Number of years in hometown community: 34 years

Family: Wife ,Cheryl; two adult sons and daughter-in-law

Dave Heaster

Age: 46

Occupation: eCommerce architect-IT

Educational background: Bachelor's degree, management information systems, UW-Eau Claire

Previous elected offices sought or held: None

Honors or organizations: Council organizer for MoveOn.org Milwaukee

Number of years in hometown community: 12

Family: Wife, Jean; three teenage children

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Family Movie Night: 6 p.m. April 25, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish Center, W314 N7462 Highway 83, North Lake. The movie “Bambi” will start at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Free hot dogs and snacks. Children must be accompanied by a parent. Come in comfy clothes and bring a blanket to relax with. RSVP to the parish office at (262) 966-2191 or at www.blteresaparish.org

Poetry Open Mic Night: 7 p.m. April 25, Books & Company, 1039 Summit Ave., Oconomowoc. Celebrate Poetry Month with an evening a poetry. Read your own or a favorite poet, or enjoy listening to others. Free.

The Brew City Rockers: 9 p.m. April 24, Burke’s Lakeside, 37238 Valley Road, Oconomowoc. The Brew City Rockers are celebrating spring with a party at Burke’s Lakeside. Enjoy a fish fry and stay for the party.

Grow Your Own Salad Gardening Class: 10 a.m. April 25, NuGenesis Farm, N68 W33208 County Road K, Oconomowoc. Join the NuGenesis staff to learn to grow your own delicious and healthy salads at home. $30 recommended donation. www.nugenesisfarm.org

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.