Candidates in 60th District primary both push for tax cuts, less intrusive government
Whichever candidate is elected in the race for the 60th Assembly District, voters can expect the winner to push for sweeping tax cuts, the elimination of Common Core standards and less government involvement in day-to-day life.
Rob Brooks of Saukville and Jean Opitz of the Town of Belgium are vying to be the Republican candidate on the November ballot. Since there is no
Democratic candidate, whoever wins the primary on Aug. 12 will go to Madison.
In the only forum where both Brooks and Opitz will both be able to express their views in the same venue ahead of the Aug. 12 primary, the candidates touted their records at the forum sponsored by the Republican Party of
Ozaukee County at The Hub at Cedar Creek in Cedarburg on July 17.
Brooks, an Ozaukee County Board supervisor and former board chairman, promoted being a small business owner and pointed to his “proven record of handling pressure.”
Brooks was a key cog in the County Board recently approving a $10 million renovation of Lasata Care Center in Cedarburg.
He has been endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Right to Life and the Tavern League of Wisconsin.
“I have a record of stabilizing county budgets, community leadership. I’ve worked hard to save this county money,” Brooks said before more than 100 people at the forum.
Opitz, who is seeking her first public office, said her more than 30 years of business experience in financial management qualifies her for the job.
She has been endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Right to Life, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and State Rep. Dan LeMahieu.
Opitz served as chairman of the Republican Party for nine years under Gov. Tommy Thompson.
“We need people with a financial background in Madison,” Opitz said. “I’m a pro-business legislator and that’s what I want to promote.”
The forum format asked the candidates eight questions and allowed each just two minutes to respond.
Brooks and Opitz agreed on the majority of the topics, including the definition of marriage and Common Core standards.
“Marriage to me is between a man and a woman,” Brooks said. “Morality and religion are my reasons behind that. I will never back off that today, tomorrow or ever.”
Opitz agreed, saying marriage is a sacrament, which she said is a message that isn’t promoted enough.
“Marriage is a religious coming together or a man and a woman,” she said. “We have to maintain our principles. I have to live my values, and that’s what’s important to me.”
Both Brooks and Opitz believed the Common Core academic standards have “too many questions and not enough answers.”
“I do not support the federalization of education, which is what this is,” Opitz said.
Brooks said, “I am a big believer in program standards and measurements, but we have no idea what to do with the data from Common Core. It would be best to eliminate it altogether.”
Both candidates would also work to lower taxes, including personal property and income taxes.
“I’d like to be a state where we have no income tax,” Opitz said. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve heard tell me, ‘Stop taxing my pension and pushing me out of the state.’”
Brooks wants to lower all taxes, calling the tax burden “incredible.”
“As a business owner, high property taxes really bother,” he said. “There are no taxes that are sacred to me that shouldn’t be cut.”
Both candidates agreed they had a lot in common, but what separates them is experience, according to Brooks.
“I’ve been through this before and I’m not going to be the shy, quiet freshman if I’m elected,” Brooks said.
Opitz countered by noting that officials such as Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and State Sen. Glenn Grothman didn’t have any political experience when they were elected to their respective offices.
“I’m not a career politician. I was first in this race because I want to serve the voters of this district, not take the next step in my political career,” she said.
6th District Candidates State Their Case
Also at the forum were State Sens. Glenn Grothman and Joe Leibham, State Rep. Duey Stroebel and Tom Denow who are seeking a more conservative voice in the 6th Congressional District race held by Rep. Tom Petri for the past 35 years with promises of repealing the Affordable Care Act and abolishing government departments.
Grothman, the 20th District State Senator and Republican assistant majority leader who lives in Campbellsport, said he is the most conservative candidate.
“It bothers me when Republicans don’t act Republican,” Grothman said. “Tom Petri is probably the most liberal of Republicans. I have a record of acting as a conservative on every issue.”
Leibham, who represents the 9th District in the State Senate and lives in the Town of Sheboygan, accused the federal government of “failing the nation daily.”
“I am very proud of my public service career and have worked hard to get the state in good fiscal order,” he said.
Stroebel, the 60th District assemblyman from the Town of Saukville, said he is concerned about the future generation that will have to deal with a government who “has gone too far into our personal lives.”
“We need a new approach and more outsiders,” Stroebel, who has eight children,, said. “We can’t keep taxing, spending and regulating ourselves to prosperity.”
Denow, an instructor at Moraine Park Technical College pushed his background in industry, business and education.
“I would use my background to grow businesses and industry in the area,” he said. “We also have to develop energy resources to grow our economy.”
All candidates agreed there is a need to repeal the Affordable Care Act that they called Obamacare, with Leibham calling it a “top priority,” and Stroebel saying it is an “unmitigated disaster.”
“This has to be repealed as quickly as possible. We need a market-based solution to provide care at a more affordable price,” Stroebel said.
All four candidates said they would vote to impeach President Barack Obama when asked. Grothman said he should be “impeached for so many things.”
“Right now, the President’s approval rating is about 45%,” Grothman said. “He has had many executive orders that are completely out of line and Republicans need to do a better job of exploiting them.”
Leibham called Obama’s presidency “a complete scandal,” saying he has “fooled the people of this nation and destroyed America.”
“He is working on a daily basis to put America into decline. I’m not going to be a part of that failure,” he said.
Stroebel said he would push to eliminate the federal Department of Education if elected.
“I don’t see any quantifiable results we’ve gotten from it,” he said. “This country certainly existed for many years without it.”
He announced in April he would not seek another term.
The winner of the Aug. 12 primary will face Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a Democrat, and Libertarian candidate Gus Fahrendorf in the Nov. 4 general election.