Wisconsin's State Assembly District 83 will have a new face representing it in Madison this election cycle.
Incumbent David Craig (R-Vernon) chose not to run this year for seat, so the position is up for grabs, with four Republican candidates — Karen Schuh of Mukwonago, Steve Whittow and Chuck Wichgers of Muskego and Jordan Karweik of Waterford — squaring off in the Aug. 9 partisan primary to narrow the race ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.
All the candidates, except Karweik, responded to MyCommunityNow's brief questionnaire about their agendas moving forward. Karweik did not return numerous phone and email messages seeking comment.
1. What, in your opinion, is the biggest issue facing the district, and how do you propose to solve it?
Karen Schuh: The issues in my district vary depending on where they live, and if I had to pick one prevailing issue it would have to be lowering their taxes. I would work tirelessly to find ways to reduce taxes and work with other legislators to achieve a lower tax rate for property and business owners.
Chuck Wichgers: Continuing to decrease property taxes and working with Gov. Walker to implement a long-term plan for maintaining and funding our roads and bridges. Also, I support Dave Craig's proposed legislation (AB653) which gives drainage districts broader control of dredging projects, removing the DNR from the permitting process.
Steve Whittow: Taxes. Residents of the 83rd feel they pay plenty of taxes already. They don't want fees to go up either (hidden taxes) and want us to cut like a small business has to cut when things get tough. Public Safety. There is an overwhelming support in law enforcement. Residents believe protecting them is the greatest role any government entity should serve. Residents of the 83rd put great faith in the Constitution and the protections it affords. They want assurance that their representative will stand up for and continue to support their Second Amendment rights to hunt, shoot and possess firearms.
2. State Attorney General Brad Schimel has described the relatively recent surge in heroin/opiate addiction and overdose deaths as a public health crisis. What, if elected, would you do to combat the problem?
Schuh: Unfortunately, this crisis has affected so many families and it is truly a heartbreaking crisis. I believe education is needed on the devastating effects in the use of heroin/opiate from our youngest to our oldest people and to continually to communicate this crisis to the public. Providing educational assistance regarding what people should look for to determine possible drug use of a loved one and resources for them to turn to for a loved one affected by drug use.
Wichgers: I see what addiction does to good people in my everyday work. In my business, I work to help individuals get off addictive pain medication. If I am elected, I would advocate for increased access to treatment, building upon the Hope Agenda championed by Rep. John Nygren.
Whittow: There are three basic components to this issue: enforcement, treatment and reducing long term demand for opiates. More and tougher penalties for dealers and folks who encourage illegal opiates. Continue to fund Drug Treatment Court in Waukesha County, and provide access to appropriate counseling and treatments to combat the addiction. We must discourage doctors from over prescribing opiates and make sure protocols include more non-narcotic options.
3. Why are you the best candidate for the position?
Schuh: Public service is something I really love and enjoy. My years of public service and experience have been at the local level. It brings a great perspective and insight to many of the issues that our state legislature deals with. As an elected official and small business owner, my hard work ethics combined with my experience are attributes that make me one of the best for the position.
Wichgers: As a moral conservative, I am the best candidate to continue the work of Rep. Craig. With my experience as an alderman and county supervisor, I have proven that I can will stand up for the will of the people. I will uphold the values expressed by the residents of the 83rd district.
Whittow: I am the candidate with the most broad-based support in this race. I have over 30 elected officials, community leaders and respected business owners supporting my candidacy. My closest competitor has only a couple of out-of-district elected officials supporting him. I also have the most practical and relevant business experience of anyone in the race.