Each and every day we are faced with choices. These choices can be bold or mundane, but at the end of the day they dictate who we are. To me, an elected official should make choices not based on the next election but rather in the best interest of the next generation. Those we elect should lead and never be afraid to make a tough choice. This is what we deserve from our representatives.
In 2011, I made a choice to vote in favor of Act 10. At the time, I was told it was political suicide, but in my heart I knew we needed to change the direction of our state. Act 10 has saved taxpayers more than $5 billion and our rainy day fund is larger than it has ever been.
My support for Wisconsin’s future is unwavering. Last April, I made the choice to run for public service once again. At this point in my life I can say I am comfortable. I have a wonderful family, which now happily includes 13 grandchildren who are growing up right before my eyes. At the same time, the La Crosse Loggers keep me busy and allow me to be active in the community.
My opponent, Democratic Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, has also made a choice. She has decided to use her position to create a false narrative about our great state. She understands the only chance for her to rise through the political ranks is to continue creating a negative perception about the direction of our state. We are on the right path for a brighter future, but she chooses to tear down Wisconsin. It isn’t politically expedient for her to be honest. I have yet to hear one positive comment about our state come from her rhetoric or one single solution to solve the difficulties we face.
As we draw closer to Election Day, it is possible that my opponent will make another choice. She might move the election away from policy and go after me personally, perhaps running negative attack ads to get to Election Day without talking about issues that matter to us in the 32nd Senate District. This could include diverting attention from her record and portraying me as a big time baseball team owner who did not pay taxes in 2014.
Let me be clear, in 2014, I paid more than $115,000 in sales, unemployment, property and federal income taxes. However, I paid no state income tax due to flat revenue and increased expenses. After taxes, my wife and I were thankfully able to donate $21,000 into charitable contributions to organizations throughout the La Crosse area.
She may attempt to portray me as unethical due to alleged incidents brought against me by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. One issue had to do with an open records response and the other dealt with the La Crosse Loggers adding lights to Copeland Park.
The open records complaint was filed because a staffer used her personal time at home to put together an agenda for an economic forum both Republicans and Democrats participated in. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin later sued me because my staffer did not send the proper emails from her personal email account. The Government Accountability Board later stated, “I handled things as best I could and did not act improperly” and cleared me of any wrongdoing. My staffer was told to pay the $100 fine, and the state was on the hook for $38,000 in attorney fees from the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. I accepted responsibility for my staffer, and could not let the taxpayers of Wisconsin foot the bill. Over time, I personally paid off the entire $38,000, as well as the $100 fine for my staffer.
Shortly after that, I was accused of improperly paying for lights at Copeland Park, the city-owned park where the La Crosse Loggers play their 36 home games. These lights were paid for by the Loggers foundation, which received donations from various local businesses; some who employed lobbyists. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin brought my case to the Government Accountability Board. Relying on Jim Doyle’s 1994 opinion, the Government Accountability Board’s Kevin Kennedy declared, “no action was necessary,” and I was cleared of any wrongdoing.
My opponent might come up with negative ads to drag my name through the mud. In contrast, I will focus on education, healthcare, infrastructure, jobs, and preparing the workforce for the needs of our employers.
On Nov. 8 it will be up to you to choose.