On the ballot for Nov. 7: Part two

Emily Passey

This week we’ll take a look at two other big races on the ballot Tuesday, Nov. 7: the gubernatorial race and the campaign for the state assembly seat from the 57th district.
Running for governor against incumbents Gov. Jim Doyle (D) and Lieutenant Gov. Barbara Lawton is former U.S. Congress member Mark Green (R), who is running with Jean Hundertmark for lieutenant.
Doyle, sworn in to his position in 2003, came in as the first democratic governor Wisconsin had seen in 16 years. Over the years, Doyle has designed and implemented an extensive list of initiatives, especially in healthcare. The Healthy Wisconsin Initiative and Badger Care Plus – part of Doyle’s “Affordability Agenda” – were both announced in January of 2006.
The Healthy Wisconsin Initiative is designed to lower healthcare costs by implementing catastrophic reinsurance for those who suffer serious illness or accidents. The benefits are aimed especially at middle class families.
The initiative, with a council of the same name formed this past July, is modeled after a very successful plan currently in place in the state of New York.
Badger Care Plus is designed to ensure that low-income pregnant women and the children of low-income families have access to affordable and safe healthcare. The pilot program is currently in place in nine counties.
Doyle and his wife also express concern for child safety and health through his Healthy Kids Initiative, which battles childhood obesity. The Doyles recently released a pamphlet on healthy eating and activities, distributing 510,000 copies to schools across Wisconsin.
The governor is also active in schools through his Taskforce on Educational Excellence, a plan that has been in place for three years. The program puts taskforce members in schools all over the state. The taskforce studies and makes recommendations regarding school district spending, student retention and student performance.
Doyle is also actively working with programs that examine new technologies in energy efficiency. The Promoting Our Wisconsin Energy Resources Initiative employs Wisconsin bioindustry members who promote the use of traditional and advanced technology using organic matter. They are working towards creating new and renewable sources of energy.
Also as part of the POWER Initiative, Doyle recently announced a pilot program, which will be in place by 2012, to make four UW campuses – Green Bay, Steven’s Point, Oshkosh and River Falls – energy independent.
Doyle also petitioned President Bush with 106,000 signatures in May 2006 regarding the high profits that big oil companies reap at the people’s expense.
Mark Green’s campaign is fueled by his experiences and opinions from his time in the U.S. Congress. He expresses concern with immigration, healthcare reform, the war in Iraq, and citizens’ rights.
Green is also concerned with the economic stress that illegal immigration places on citizens. Green wants to implement a plan that encourages legal immigration by granting legal aliens a $300 tax write-off for naturalization fees and ESL schooling.
Green supports an alternate way of ensuring an increased availability of health insurance. While Doyle works with statewide initiatives that have, according to Green, raised the cost of private insurance, Green is concerned with keeping the government out of health care.
Wisconsin has a very large achievement gap between high- and low-income students and between races, which Green hopes to close. Green wants to bring more charter schools to Wisconsin. He also wants to renew taxpayers’ trust in the educational system by raising teachers’ pay and putting more money in the classroom.
Green’s plan for Wisconsin’s educational system extends to the UW system, where last year’s drastic funding cuts and tuition changes have discouraged Wisconsin citizens to place their trust in the system.
The tuition now favors out-of-state students – the tuition decrease for them is balanced by an increase for in-state students, and may result in fewer Wisconsin students choosing to go into the UW system.
In Congress, Green supported or co-sponsored many of the tax cuts that Bush signed into action since 2001. He also supported the Patriot Act, has supported increased funding for troops since 2002, and authored the Material Support to Terrorism Prohibition Enhancement Act that was passed into law.
He helped to write the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act, cosponsored legislation which helped form the Support Team in Wisconsin and led the fight to support Fort McCoy, Wisconsin’s foremost military installation.
Green also fought for dairy farmers and sportsmen in Congress. In 2002 he was a member of Farm Bill Conference Committee that wrote the Milk Income Loss Contract, putting $414 million back in dairy farmers’ pockets.
A member of the NRA with a “lifetime A rating,” Green has supported huge increases in government funding for research into Chronic Wasting Disease, a leading cause in decreased deer population which directly affects the hunting season.
Green was the chief advocate for the “open fields” legislation, which would instate incentives for private landowners to allow hunters to use their land during the hunting season.
Green also fought to keep snowmobile trails open in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, along with many trail systems in Wisconsin.
The 57th state assembly district encompasses most of Appleton, parts of Grand Chute, and Kimberly. Incumbent Steve Wieckert (R), who has served five terms in the State Assembly, is being challenged by Appleton physical therapist Penny Bernard Schaber (D).
In response to a recent Appleton Post-Crescent poll, Wieckert called healthcare “priority number one.” Wieckert stresses that competition in the healthcare field helps ensure high quality service and reasonable prices.
He is concerned with creating more jobs in the area and working to help the economy grow.
Wieckert calls on his record in state assembly, reminding voters of his record as a legislator where he was No. 1 in passing legislation into law.
In the state legislature, Wieckert wrote and helped pass Cody’s Law, which gives a $10,000 state income tax deduction to live organ donors to compensate for lost wages, travel costs and lodging. The law was the first of its kind and has subsequently been adopted in several states.
Wieckert also worked to develop legislation making information on donating cord blood, used alternately to stem cells in disease research and cures, available to pregnant women.
Penny Bernard Schaber calls her campaign “positive, issue-oriented, cost-effective, and winning.”
Schaber wants to work towards affordable healthcare by combining resources of individual, state and federal governments and employers. She advocates lifetime healthcare, including mental health care and more frequent wellness checks to help prevent illness.
Schaber advocates sustainable development of the economy and keeping jobs and resources at home. Part of the process, Schaber notes, is protecting the environment by not replacing farmland with subdivisions and not purchasing gas-guzzling vehicles. Community planning needs to be revised to support local food production and availability.
Schaber also puts forth the idea that the tax burden must be shared by distributing taxes according to ability to pay, by the state and federal governments helping city and county governments, and government agencies working to limit spending.
Schaber also supports clean elections and desires campaign reform along the lines of limiting personal expenditures, limiting campaign length and limiting issue ads.