State Reps. Evan Wynn (R-Whitewater) and Andy Jorgensen (D-Fort Atkinson) represented the 43rd Wisconsin Assembly District Tuesday night in a debate on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.
UW-Witewater’s Timmerman Auditorium held the debate, and it was sponsored by the Whitewater League of Women Voters and the University’s Student Government.
The two candidates debated mainly on education issues, as well as other hot topics of discussion. Each incumbent was given two minutes to speak on each question asked by audience members.
When asked about increased tuition and keeping higher education affordable for students, Jorgensen said education “took hits over $500 million” under Wynn’s direction the past two years.
“Education is important to me,” said Wynn. “As a U-W Whitewater graduate and a person with a degree in education, I understand the importance in getting a good-paying job”.
Wynn believes there should be a 5% tuition cap for middle class students. This is because middle class students typically don’t qualify for financial aid because their parents make too much money.
When healthcare was brought into discussion, both candidates were in favor of having affordable health care for the people of Wisconsin.
Rep. Wynn showed concern with passing the Affordable Care Act too fast. “I do support that we take our time and do it right,” said Rep. Wynn.
Rep. Jorgensen showed his concern with how the Affordable Care Act has continued to be pushed back. “That’s not taking your time,” said Jorgensen.
Another issue discussed at the debate was legislators being bullied by the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). WEAC is a teachers union, representing public education employees, and is responsible for over 800,000 public school students.
Jorgensen said “we need to get money out of politics and have regular people run for jobs, instead of having whoever is the richest one that can run and raise the most money, as that isn’t good for any of us”.
Wynn agreed with Jorgensen; however, he noted how Jorgensen has roughly $23,000 in hand compared to Wynn’s $7,000. Wynn believes that there needs to be a closed account to limit government spending to help the state move forward.
When the candidates were asked how they would handle the divide that’s driven Wisconsin apart, Rep. Wynn immediately brought up a story that involved Jorgensen screaming in the face of Rep. Stephen Nass on the assembly floor. Wynn stated that he conducted himself as a professional, unlike his opponent.
Rep, Jorgensen admitted to Wynn’s story being accurate and explained his frustrations when things are not done when and how they’re supposed to be done.
Jorgensen continued by explaining his view on partisanship on a certain bills. “I saw past the partisanship, I wanted to get that law passed,” said Rep. Jorgensen. “I’m honored to have been part of that, and to have done it together.”
Wynn agreed, saying “getting something done requires us all to work together.” However, he reminded the audience that we must pull our emotions aside, allotting to his previous story about Jorgensen.
The Voter I.D. Law was also a topic of discussion. Rep. Wynn stood for supporting the legislation. “I do believe that you have to prove who you are to be able to vote,” said Wynn. He then brought up the fact that Jorgensen voted for an earlier adaptation of a voter I.D. law on 2007.
Rep. Jorgensen agreed with Wynn; however, he noted that the bill in 2007 version was “a much different bill.” He explained his view that the more recent version is too extreme and disenfranchises some voters.
Abortion was of course of topic of discussion, as it is in most debates. Both assemblymen agreed that abortion is bad. Rep. Wynn stood firm in his pro-life stance. However, Rep. Jorgensen stated that he supports preventative measures of unwanted pregnancies. His main defense was that if a female were to be raped and become pregnant, she should have the option to abort the fetus.
Jorgensen and Wynn are both in favor of funding Stem Cell Research. “This is something that, if it’s done responsibly and with a conscience, it can be something our state could be a leader on,” said Jorgensen.