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Election Preview: Wisconsin 22nd State Senate District

Incumbent Democrat state Sen. Bob Wirch is being challenged in the 22nd State Senate District by Republican Pam Stevens.

Incumbent Democrat state Sen. Bob Wirch will take on Republican Pam Stevens in the race for the 22nd State Senate District seat in the Nov. 6 election.

The 22nd District has new boundaries this year in the wake of redistricting prompted by population shifts in the 2010 census. The district includes much of Kenosha and Racine counties, including a small section of Mount Pleasant. (See map)

How will you work to bring jobs to the area?

Bob Wirch: I think we’ve got a good track record. In Kenosha we brought 10,000 jobs into the area by setting up a team of state legislators, local officials and KABA (Kenosha Area Business Association) and I hope to work the same way in Racine. A team is what you need to bring a company in because they want to see that you are all on the same page. They want to see that you are united and you can put forward the best qualities in the area. And it’s worked in Kenosha and I hope to expand it to Racine.

Pam Stevens: You can have all the committees and teams discuss how to bring businesses here, but you have to have boots on the ground and have elected officials willing to go out there and bring the businesses here, not waiting by a phone or waiting in an office for businesses to call saying they might be interested.

Does the current model for school funding work?

Bob Wirch: We cut too much money in the last budget for education. The figures I saw, we were third or fourth in the nation for cuts to education. That’s unacceptable. We say we can’t find skilled workers and then we cut tech schools by 30 percent. The UW system raised tuition by 5-1/2 percent to make up for the money lost from the state. Same with K-12; they say we don’t have the money, we had to do that. What they don’t tell you is that we gave $2.3 B in tax cuts to corporations and wealthy individuals and then said we’re broke. Then we got some surprises; some extra money, like $600 million so I said to put that back in the schools. They said no because it's more about ideaology and getting teachers than it is about kids.

Pam Stevens: No. The money should follow the child, not the child following the money. Competition is good. You have to have competition to make sure the services are at the level of quality our children need to learn. I believe parents should have the choice on what they want to do with their children. Parents know best what is best for their children. You can’t keep throwing money at the problem. If we have a problem, fix the problem. When the magic money disappears, we’re left with a hole, trying to fill that hole. And we have to stop pitting people against each other. The way it’s funded now, it’s us against them and them against us.

What makes you an effective legislator?

Bob Wirch: I’m open minded and I reserve my judgment until you have all of the facts in and then you still have to modify things in legislation. I also knock on doors a lot and the best part of that is listening to the people out there. You get a feel for what’s going on in the community and you get new ideas for government.

Pam Stevens: Number one, I’m every day people. I have the experience of bringing people together. I have nine years on the school board (Kenosha Unified), a nonpartisan position. All of my decisions have always been based on what was best for the people I was supposed to serve, not a political party. Number two is I have the ability to get along with everybody whether we agree or disagree, and I think that is key in any position.

Wisconsin state senators serve four-year terms and earn $49,943.00 annually. The also receive a per diem of $88 per day for each day they work in Madison.

Candidate profiles

  • Democrat Bob Wirch (Incumbent) - Did not respond to questionnaire
  • Republican Pam Stevens - Did not respond to questionnaire

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