It’s upstart vs. heavyweight in 63rd district
By Jennifer Eisenbart
For State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the last four years under Gov. Scott Walker have been a triumph.
The two are doing battle for the 63rd Assembly District representative seat in Tuesday election. The pair engaged in a radio debate Monday through Gateway and a candidate forum Tuesday at Union Grove Union High School.
While both candidates share some of the same ideals, they differ on major issues. Here is a look at each candidate:
Robin Vos (inc)
Vos is in his fifth term as the 63rd District State Assembly Representative, and is seeking his sixth.
“I’m proud of my record with Gov. Walker,” Vos said. “To turn Wisconsin around by reducing taxes, holding the line on spending, fighting fraud and creating an environment where the private sector creates job.”
In the debate Tuesday night, Vos spoke against raising the state’s minimum wage, saying it would cost the state money to have to raise the wages of public employees.
Before the primary election this summer, Vos said his priority in the election would be to make Wisconsin the best state it could be, to foster private sector job creation and reduce the tax burden.
“Those have been my priorities since I ran the first time,” he said.
He said two topics would dominate the discussion in the next session – education and transportation. With education, Vos wants to continue to fund the state’s public school system, but also make sure parents have more choices for their children, “to make the best decision for their kids.”
Vos said the transportation fund has a deficit going forward. With most jobs within four miles of a four-lane highway, Vos said not doing road projects would hurt the creation of jobs.
Vos said good politicians should “stand by their principles, but work together to solve problems.”
“I think I have a record of doing just that,” Vos added.
Mitchell is pursuing his first term in office – and has done it without the help of special-interest dollars, something he has stressed the entire campaign.
Part of the reason, he said, is his profession as a special education teacher.
“I think what we kind of acknowledged early on was that because I am a union schoolteacher, that they were going to use the old ‘slave to his union masters’ moniker that they’ve always used,” Mitchell said of his opponents. “By coming out early and say we’re not going to take any PAC money, that kind of made us free agents.”
Mitchell said his campaign has been getting to people’s doors and letting them know his stance on the issues. He is against Act 10 and what it has done to public education.
“The tools that they like to brag about is really one tool in the box, and that’s a sledgehammer,” Mitchell said in an interview – and again at Tuesday’s forum. “It’s made things very divisive.”
With the state so divided, he isn’t quite sure where to start bringing the two parties together again. He said a good start would be having a different party in charge of each branch of the state government.
“That’ll force people to negotiate,” he said.
Mitchell also stressed that he would be committed to being a state assembly rep, as he would not be working as a teacher while he served.
“I’ll be a full-time representative,” he said. “And I don’t have outside interests that will affect how I vote on issues in the 63rd.”
Robin Vos (Inc.)
Address: 960 Rock Ridge Road, Burlington
Resident of Racine County: Life long.
Occupation: Owner of several small businesses.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, with a minor in public relations.
Political experience: In fifth term as state representative for the 63rd State Assembly District. Current Assembly speaker.
Organizations: Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Racine County Republic Party, NFIB (leadership council member).
Address: 410 Shervin Dr., Burlington
Resident of town: 12 years
Occupation: High school special education teacher
Education: Bachelor’s degree in journalist from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, Texas. Alternative education certification from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
Political experience: First time running for office, but has canvassed for other campaigns.
Organizations: Racine Education Association, Burlington Area Progressives.
Family: Married 32 years with two children and one grandchild.