(Beaver Dam) Around 100 people turned out at the Beaver Dam Veterans Center Wednesday night to hear from those running in two state legislative races. There was not a lot of common ground for the candidates in State Senate District 13. Nowhere was that more apparent than in the portion of the debate where the candidates had an opportunity to ask questions of each other.
Democrat Michelle Zahn pulled no punches in questioning Republican incumbent Scott Fitzgerald. Zahn asked why it took three years to call a for vote on a bill to make cancer drugs more accessible by making insurance companies cover oral chemotherapy. Fitzgerald explained that the bill ultimately passed and he voted in favor of it but Zahn interjected and said that her husband was one of his constituents whose insurance company was able to deny coverage in that time.
Fitzgerald, meanwhile, made a strong case for tuition freezes in the UW system and asked if she would support a continued freeze. Zahn said she would have to look at the issue but said she was not so sure that it is a good idea. Fitzgerald noted that the Republican legislature has frozen tuition for the past six years and the governor has committed to continuing the freeze, something he says the legislature would also support if Republicans maintain majority control.
The candidates for State Assembly District 39 also debated the issues Wednesday night. Republican incumbent Mark Born and his democratic challenger Elisha Barudin fielded a question from an audience member pursuing a new business venture in the Beaver Dam community. She asked both candidates what they would do to help local entrepreneurs at the state level.
Barudin says promoting small businesses is a priority that begins by building a solid foundation that supports their efforts. She says atop that list is addressing the areas worker shortage which means good public schools and roads as well as making sure that the community is a safe place to live.
Born says to spur growth in the small business sector, cutting back on the time spent dealing with government at both the local and state level is vital. He says the number one problem he has heard from small business owners is the regulatory burden required to operate rather than focusing on matters that impact their business.
Watch the debate here:
Listen to the debate here: