Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Responses to listener questions

2018 Midterm Elections in Milwaukee

For our Wisconsin 2018 General Election Voter Guide, we asked our listeners to submit questions for the candidates about their positions, policies and the songs they can't stop listening to. Through email and following up on social media, we asked each candidate running for the same offices the same five questions. Not all candidates responded, but here are the responses from the candidates who took the time to answer.


Tony Evers

Are you willing to support a local option sales tax for the City of Milwaukee, in light of the shared revenue freeze and substantial police pension liabilities?

Milwaukee faces difficult choices, in large part because the state continually decreases shared revenue and ties the hands of local government. Contrary to popular belief, Milwaukee contributes more in state taxes than they get back. Yet Milwaukee continues to have the highest concentration of poverty in Wisconsin.

According to the Public Policy Forum, Wisconsin is the only state in the Midwest that limits municipalities to the property tax as the sole major form of local taxation, and one of the only whose largest city has the same tax structure as all other municipalities. I support local control and will work with Milwaukee leaders to find equitable, long-term solutions. A strong Milwaukee is good for everyone in Wisconsin.

What are your thoughts on Wisconsin's crimeless revocations policy?

The fact that Wisconsin spends more on Corrections than the entire UW System speaks volumes about our priorities as a state. Across the United States, African Americans are more than five times more likely than whites to be imprisoned. However, here in Wisconsin, that rate is doubled. It’s shameful. From education to health care to criminal justice, bold reforms must be made. That includes ending crimeless revocations. Warehousing people, especially people who are nonviolent offenders, simply isn't effective. We must expand alternatives to incarceration.

As Governor, I will support:
● Banning the box
● Eliminating mandatory minimums
● Ending the use of solitary confinement (especially with juveniles)
● Investing in drug courts, Treatment and Diversion (TAD) programs and restorative justice strategies
● Increased transparency, accountability and communication within policing
● Fixing our broken parole and supervision system which only contributes to our high incarceration levels while also keeping families apart
● Increasing access to affordable housing, employment with good wages, and other needed support for a successful re-entry for those who have completed their sentence

What will you do increase the effectiveness of the offices of Secretary of State and State Treasurer, which have seen their powers recently changed?

The Secretary of State and State Treasurer are vital constitutional officers whose authority and effectiveness have been systematically undermined by Scott Walker and the Republican legislature. We need more independence and oversight in state government, not less. Scott Walker’s attempts to consolidate power in the governor’s office is short-sighted and bad for Wisconsin.

Wisconsinites recognized the importance of independence in our government when they voted overwhelmingly in April against an amendment proposing to eliminate the State Treasurer from our
Constitution. Both our Secretary of State and State Treasurer have vital roles, even in their current form.

For example, they currently oversee trust funds that fund our schools. Since they are not part of the budget-making process, they are ideal custodians to protect the integrity of these funds from partisan

There are many opportunities for the Secretary of State and State Treasurer to have an increased role in running our government. I looking forward to working with Doug La Follette and Sarah Godlewski to restore these constitutionally-created positions to their former glory.

Do you have a plan to fix the teacher shortage and help with good teacher retention?

From my time as a high school science teacher to my current job as Wisconsin’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I have dedicated my life to children, education, and investing in Wisconsin’s future. I know that as Governor, there is so much more I can do to help build a stronger and brighter future for Wisconsin and that starts with great schools. Wisconsin’s teacher shortage is a real consequence of Scott Walker’s “divide-and-conquer” strategy in 2011.

Wisconsin lags behind Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan in teacher salaries, so it’s no wonder so
many of our great teachers have left Wisconsin under Scott Walker. Despite Scott Walker’s belief to the contrary, reducing teacher salaries and raising their benefit contributions won’t fix the problem. Not surprisingly, Wisconsin still has fewer teachers than we did prior to Act 10 and student-to-teacher ratios
have increased.

Unfortunately, Milwaukee has been among the hardest hit by the problem. Just recently I was talking with a parent about how the teacher shortage is impacting communities like Milwaukee. The mother said her child has had four teachers this year alone. That’s just unacceptable. Our kids need structure, stability, and a well-rounded education support system to succeed.

As Governor, I will increase funding for our schools to help ensure our educators actually have the resources their classrooms need. Most importantly, I will start treating our educators with the respect and dignity they deserve. We must stop demonizing the teaching profession and instead support and encourage our young folks who want to enter the field.

What’s a song that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?

"Take me out to the ballgame" -- GO BREWERS!

Maggie Turnbull

Are you willing to support a local option sales tax for the City of Milwaukee, in light of the Shared Revenue freeze and substantial police pension liabilities?

Yes. Supporting local leaders decision making on taxes would be an example of having the state allow more room for local control. Critics may say that is the Governor’s office supporting increased taxes. But it isn’t that. The state needs to examine all shared revenue programs (K-12 education, municipality) and address geographic and socioeconomic disparities. We know suburban, middle class, growing areas receive disproportionate funding on the whole when compared to our urban and rural areas. So the state needs to fix those. If that is done, perhaps local units of government won’t have to look for additional revenue sources. Cutting services (such a police) isn’t an option.

What are your thoughts on Wisconsin's crimeless revocations policy?

Our crimeless revocations policy isn’t productive for society. It’s a bad investment/use of resources and a bad investment in individuals. Policies like this, even when well intended, are rooted in attitudes of wanting a justice system that seeks “a pound of flesh” from those that have broken laws. A more compassionate, more just, more community minded, more responsible attitude would be the development of a restorative justice system. Restorative justice systems still hold those that break laws accountable, but they do so with a focus on healing the damage done--for property, for victim and for perpetrator. The Turnbull administration feels this way no matter the demographics of the actors in this description. But when when we acknowledge that a crimeless revocations policy negatively impacts communities of color to a greater degree there is another layer of irresponsibility to such policies. Wisconsin can do better.

What will you do increase the effectiveness of the offices of Secretary of State and State Treasurer, which have seen their powers recently changed?

The Secretary of State is our record keeper of the legislative and executive branches of state government. The budget for this office have been slashed where the ability of the office to maintain thorough records for both historical purposes, but also for transparency purposes to citizens and journalists is being stretched. In the grand scheme of a $70 billion bi-annual budget, saving a few hundred thousand dollars by reducing this small department’s staff is not fiscally responsible. Unless of course current political leaders have a desire to limit information to the public today and in the future.

The State Treasurer has a similar role as the Secretary of State, except with a focus on financial records. The position has slowly been whittled down by shifting responsibilities to other executive branch departments. The current officeholder wants to cut the position and department and supports Republican desires to change the State Constitution to eliminate the position. Wisconsin would be the first state in the union to make such a move. But there is at least ONE candidate running for treasurer this year who will do the right thing and use her authority to hold the legislature accountable for its spending.

Both these positions help Wisconsin citizens see the nuts and bolts of what their legislators and Governor are doing. A Turnbull administration supports the restoration of the role of both offices. Furthermore, we believe citizens would be better served if the election of these two positions were non-partisan.

Do you have a plan to fix the teacher shortage and help with good teacher retention?

It took a long time and many different social factors to bring us to the place we are at in public education right now. So there are no quick fixes to addressing teacher shortages and teacher retention. The solutions need to involve many actors and organizations. Our foundational principles to guide the development of better education policy are:

  • Recognizing and honoring the role of teacher as one that is highly necessary for our entire state to be healthy.
  • Giving teachers a constructive voice in the school cultures they are asked to manage.
  • The role of teacher has expanded over time and includes more than delivering content or skills to students. Schools and teachers need to be equipped to support the emotional and physical needs of their students so that learning can be maximized.
  • Tax dollars for education need to go to public schools only.
    School choice can positively shape our schools AND can be offered entirely within the public school system.
  • Home choice and private schools are paths individual families should always be allowed to pursue, but at their own expense, not taxpayers.

The process of becoming a teacher can be cumbersome in some programs and underwhelming in others. All teacher preparation programs should emphasize the following:

  • Demonstration of content area knowledge in the area that will be taught.
  • Demonstration of educational psychology, wellness and mental health subjects applicable to the age level of learners the teacher will be certified to teach.
  • Demonstration of understanding best practice teaching techniques.

What’s a song that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?

Alicia Keys - “Girl On Fire”

No responses received from: Scott Walker

Lieutenant Governor

Mandela Barnes

Do you support the expansion of BadgerCare with a buy-in option for all residents?

Mandela and Tony support a BadgerCare "public option" plan, which would need to be approved by the state legislature to take effect

What is your plan to ensure that every Wisconsin citizen has access to affordable healthcare?

In addition to the BadgerCare "public option," Mandela and Tony support taking the Medicaid expansion (part of the Affordable Care Act) to immediately cover thousands more Wisconsinites. Beyond that, we would look at other solutions to help fill the "donut hole" between people who qualify for public assistance and who still struggle to afford healthcare. Finally, we would work with the Attorney General to drop the Obamacare lawsuit, hold opioid manufacturers accountable, and hold prescription drug manufacturers accountable for price gouging.

How will your administration address the conditions of Milwaukee’s roads?

Milwaukee's roads are in poor shape. One way to help fix that from the state level is by making appropriations directly to such projects. Another way is to increase local control, including relaxing restrictions on local governments raising their own revenues to pay for needed repairs. Long-term, we need to look at increasing mass transit options, which in turn reduce wear and tear on roads.

What’s a song that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?

Song: "House in L.A." by Jungle

No responses received from: Rebecca Kleefisch, Wil Losch

Secretary Of State

Doug La Follette

What will you do increase the effectiveness of the offices of Secretary of State and State Treasurer, which have seen their powers diminished under the current administration?

My qualifications are clear; I have done the job very well for many years. I have fought the moves by Republicans to transfer duties to the control of the Governor. My priorities are to provide good service to the public that requires information despite the striping of the office of staff and responsibilities. And work with a new governor and legislature to restore the important duties which reside in most every Sec of State’s offices in the country.

The Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) manages the state's remaining trust lands and trust funds primarily for the benefit of public school libraries. As a member of the BCPL, I have for many years worked with an excellent staff and the AG and State Treasurer to earn money for the State’s school libraries. And protect the over a billion dollars trust in funds from the greedy hands of the governor and legislature. Invest these funds prudently to provide for the growth needed to insure future funds for the schools. And make loans efficiently to our schools and municipalities.

What are your thoughts on term limits for the position of Secretary of State?

I have also felt that they take away the people's right to choose their government.

There have been quite of bit of news about voter suppression in the state since the Voter ID law has been in place? How do plan to address this, if elected?

As Secretary of State I would have no direct control of these very bad programs. I will continue to speak out against them and work with the new Governor and Legislature to make it easy for everyone to vote.

What’s a song that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?

The Joan Baez song about the President (we assume he means "The President Sang Amazing Grace")

No responses received from: Jay Schroeder

Representative In Congress - District 4

Gwen S. Moore

Do you believe the recent tax cut law should be repealed? If yes, why; if not, why not?

I absolutely 100 percent believe it is in the best interest of the country and Americans that Tax Scam bill the GOP rushed through Congress at the end of 2017 should be repealed. It is the wrong policy at the wrong time.

The legislation was nothing more than a huge shift of wealth and resources from the majority of Americans – young, old, sick, and working Americans - to the wealthiest corporate interests, including overseas shareholders.

There are several large issues facing the country and the tax bill is not only worsening the problems but also making them impossible to address in the future. At a time when income inequality is reaching unheard of levels in this country and creating all kinds of structural social problems, this tax bill will only drive greater and greater income inequality. It is also no secret the US has a startling problem that we have severely underinvested in hard and soft infrastructure. As a country, we need a massive investment in roads, ports, dams, and bridges. We also need to invest in education the young and funding science projects and cutting edge technology to compete in the global market. Unfortunately, the huge deficits and red ink the tax bill creates will preclude those kinds of public investments in the future of our country.

The sales pitch by Trump and GOP leadership was a mix of fantasies and outright lies. It was sold that the tax cut would raise wages and would not increase the national debt. The verdict is in and the tax bill has been an unmitigated disaster. Wages have not risen as a result and the country is awash in debt.

Now, the same GOP leaders, like Paul Ryan, who made all these outrageous claims about the tax cuts and insisted they would pay for themselves, are insisting that we cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to offset the massive costs of their billionaires tax giveaway. They also want to further gut the Affordable Care Act and destabilize health insurance markets. In fact, a new report just released by the Joint Economic Committee found that nearly 130 million Americans will be hurt the tax plan because of if they offset the costs by slashing the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Do you think it is important for Congress to serve as an effective check on the power of the President, and how do you intend to do so?

I absolutely think Congress has an obligation to conduct oversight and serve as a check on President Trump. He seems to be running a for-profit presidency and it is obscene and corrupt. A functional, governing Congress would put an immediate end to so much of the behaviors and actions of this Administration. It is really shocking how Republicans have totally abrogated their obligations.

Do you support efforts to dismantle the protections provided by the Affordable Care Act?

I have resisted and fought all the efforts to weaken or destroy the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare is too important to play games with and every American needs access to a doctor. It is aberrant that the GOP has tried to repeal the ACA with no coherent plan to take its place. The tax bill they passed eliminated the healthcare mandate, which has driven up costs of both individual and employer plans all over the country.

Now you see Republicans trying to con the American public saying they support protections for pre-existing conditions protections. It is flat out false. Republicans have a clear record of voting against protecting Americans from being denied access to health insurance due to pre-existing conditions.

How will you address President Trump's escalation of trade conflicts?

I hope to serve on the Ways & Means Committee where I can work with my democratic colleagues to directly address the harm Trump is causing with this ridiculous trade war. Although, some impacts have been felt, the real damage is yet to come and to be felt.

What’s a song that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?

The Hamilton – all of it. I saw it and can’t stop singing the songs.


No responses received from:  Robert R. RaymondTim Rogers

Representative In Congress - District 5

Tom Palzewicz

Do you believe the recent tax cut law should be repealed? If yes, why; if not, why not?

I absolutely believe the recent tax cuts passed by the GOP Congress need to be repealed. The vast majority of these cuts were aimed at corporations and the wealthiest among us who don’t need more help from the government. I’m in favor of a fair tax system where everyone pays their fair share towards the public goods that benefit us all. Tax revenue is what allows America to fund our public schools, keep us safe, and pay for the programs that make life better for all of us.

Do you think it is important for Congress to serve as an effective check on the power of the President, and how do you intend to do so?

It is vital to the functioning of our republic that Congress works as a check on both the Executive and Judicial branches. We must elect leaders that are willing to stand up to fight corruption and the destructive policies of the President. I will work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that the President does not overstep the powers given to him within the Constitution.

Do you support efforts to dismantle the protections provided by the Affordable Care Act?

No. The Affordable Care Act was monumental in allowing millions of Americans to gain access to healthcare and end the practice of refusing coverage for the almost one in two Americans who have a pre-existing condition. I know that the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, but we need to build on the progress we’ve made. I firmly believe that healthcare is a right, and we must begin the path towards universal healthcare so that every American has access to the quality healthcare they deserve.

How will you address President Trump's escalation of trade conflicts?

President Trump has clearly shown his disdain for America’s closest allies and traditional trading partners. His actions involving them have been disastrous, and the tariffs he’s put in place have caused companies to discontinue products, layoff employees, and even move operations out of the country. When elected, I will work to ensure that Congress is utilizing their constitutional duty to check the power of the President. This means that if the President creates trade agreements without the consent of Congress, it is their duty to create a new law that overrides that specific agreement.

What’s a song that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?

“You Get What You Give” by New Radicals


No responses received from: F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr

Representative In Congress - District 1

Ken Yorgan

Do you believe the recent tax cut law should be repealed? If yes, why; if not, why not

That sort of depends on which part of the tax cut package you're referring to.  If you're talking about the little peck on the cheek of a tax cut that the middle class got, there's no need to repeal it because it was designed to "phase out" over a period of several years.  However, if you're talking about that big, sloppy, wet kiss of a tax cut that the wealthiest received, it will be a bit of a project.  If you remember, Congress and The President made that part of the tax package "permanent."  Now, we know there's no such thing as "permanent" so it can be done, with hard work and commitment and a Congress that is willing to bite the hand of its master.

YES, that part should be repealed!  Right now, in America, the three wealthiest Americans control as much wealth as the bottom 30%!  That's worse than unhealthy, it is insane!  It's not even good for the three that have control of all that wealth.  Have you ever read a book on child rearing that advised giving your child everything it asked for, and more?  Of course not, but that is exactly what Congress and The President have done for the wealthiest among us, not just with the recent tax cut, but with the past 40 years of bad public policy.

Do you think it is important for Congress to serve as an effective check on the power of the President, and how do you intend to do so?

What is important is that Congress recognizes itself as a co-equal branch of government with unique responsibilities and powers, two very important ones are: initiating laws that serve the needs and interests of the citizens: and oversight of the executive branch. Certainly it is acceptable for a president to make recommendations to congress regarding legislation, but congress should not act as a rubber stamp for any and all presidential desires simply because the majority is of the same political party.  Neither should it oppose all requests simply because the majority and the president are from different parties.

As an Independent, I will not be a captive to either strategy.  We need a greater number of Independents to return congress to its constitutional obligation of serving the people rather than a party or a small but wealthy interest group.

Do you support efforts to dismantle the protections provided by the affordable care act?

Absolutely not!  In fact, I intend to work to expand those protections to include all citizens, and as many non-citizens as might require them while they are here legitimately.  One of the hallmarks of President Trump's campaign was the promise to create a healthcare access and financing strategy that would provide care for "Everyone!" and that the plan would be submitted in March of 2017.

Here are the six promises he made regarding healthcare:

1.        Insurance for Everybody

2.        No Cuts to Medicaid

3.        No One Will Lose Coverage

4.        No One Will Be Worse Off Financially

5.        People Will Be Able to Buy Plans Across State Lines

6.        Everybody's Going to Be Taken Care Of

His intentions were probably good, but his strategy never really developed.  There is a method for correcting this, but it requires that we discard the obsolete, costly and ineffective model of "for profit" private insurance plans altogether.  They served a limited purpose during their early years of the 1920's and '30's but have become an embarrassing national failure.

We don't need "health insurance" we need "health care" and an effective technology for financing it.  Yes, it will be a challenging process and there will be heavily financed opposition from the insurance industry that extracts billions and billions of dollars annually from the money stream that would more effectively be directed at paying for care.  I hope to be sitting at the table where this discussion and planning takes place, along with like-minded providers and patient advocates.

This will be about developing a new paradigm entirely, which means that there will be no room at the table for representatives of the current failed system.  They have had nearly 100 years to get it right, and they have failed miserably.  We now pay much more for "insurance" and care than other developed countries do simply for care, and the results we get for it are far worse.  They have blown it, and need to find something else to do for their money.  Something that doesn't exploit and damage the rest of us.  They're creative people, I'm confident they can do that if they commit themselves to it.

How will you address President Trump's escalation of trade conflicts?

Some of his trade policies, particularly due to retaliatory measures by affected countries, have been hurtful to some of our hardest working Americans.  In Wisconsin, farmers have been directly damaged by those retaliations.  Some of the money collected through tariffs has been directed to farmers, but they do not cover the losses incurred.  Large corporate, venture capital agribusinesses may like subsidies and compensations, but more traditional farmers prefer to simply be paid a fair price for what they produce through a free and open market.

What’s a song that you can’t stop listening to at the moment?

Seriously?  Lol  I'm a child of the 60's so most of what I prefer is what would now be called "classics."  I could make you a playlist, but not many of your listeners would recognize the artists, let alone the songs.


No responses received from:  Bryan SteilRandy Bryce

In addition to the offices listed above, 88Nine reached out to those running in the following races, but received no responses from any of the candidates: U.S. Senate (Tammy Baldwin, Leah Vukmir), State Treasurer (Travis Hartwig, Sarah Godlewski, Andrew Zuelke) and Attorney General (Brad Schimel, Josh Kaul, Terry Larson).