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Candidates for US Senate Seat Answer Questions


August 9, 2018

Editor’s note: This election overview was a group project by the editors of News Publishing Company. It is the Senatorial Candidates that were not included in last week’s newspaper.

We made every effort to gather information on candidates and have included all of those that responded to our questionnaire. All of the answers have been minimally edited. All we asked of the candidates was to not bash their opponent(s). Those who were running unopposed were not included. You may only vote for one party when voting in a primary, so if your first vote is for a Democrat, all of your votes must be for Democrats.

Party Affiliation: Republican. Candidates running are George Lucia, Leah Vukmir, Griffin Jones, Kevin Nicholson and Charles Barman.

Why are you running for public office?

Vukmir: Over the last eight years in Wisconsin, we have been able to turn budget deficits into budget surpluses, turn record high unemployment into record low unemployment, and reduce burdensome regulations. We have created an economic miracle and a business environment that has put more people to work in Wisconsin than ever before. Now we desperately need someone that has a proven conservative record in Washington, D.C., to do the same for this country. We are facing dangerous budget deficits, unsustainable spending, and an unrelenting immigration problem. I have a proven conservative record of reigning in reckless spending, bringing budgets to balance and pushing leadership to solve tough problems. It is time we send someone to DC ready to work and solve this country’s problems.

Lucia: I believe that it is time for a blue-collar citizen to bring common sense to Washington. It is apparent that the professional elite politicians and Harvard educated have proven incapable of solving the nation’s problems. Concerned more with the next election, toeing the party line and the next election than legislating.

Nicholson: We are running out of time as a country. Our financial obligations have placed future generations in massive amounts of debt. We need people from outside of the political class to go to Washington to offer real solutions to these problems, to include adding price transparency, real consumer choice and the use of healthcare savings accounts. These tools can help to drive down the cost of healthcare and deal with a significant portion of our nation’s debt.

Jones: I am running for United States Senate because this country is incredibly divided right now and it needs someone to bring it back together. I plan on being that person. I intend to work on this through leading by my own positive example, actions and words, moderating positive and productive conversations on the national stage and hopefully inspire others to run for office committed to a similar agenda. I also believe I can properly articulate the problems with our Federal Government and the reasons for those problems, which mostly stem from the big money that controls it. Being someone who is not influenced by anyone’s money or agenda, I can be a true statesman and represent the people of Wisconsin and only the people of Wisconsin.

Barman: I worked in the steel mills and the construction industry…it is time middle Americans are represented for their contribution to America. Their sacrifice is what has made us great.

What top three issues are most important to you?

Vukmir: Repealing Obamacare, balancing our budget, and building the wall.

Rising healthcare costs are becoming an enormous burden on hardworking families. We need to bring healthcare back to the states and give them as much freedom as possible to operate in a competitive market, giving consumers more choices.

Our nation’s debt is also one of the greatest challenges facing our nation. As a member of the Finance Committee in Wisconsin, we turned a $3.6 billion budget deficit into a surplus and we can do the same in DC, by reducing regulations and creating a tax system that inspires growth.

Lastly, we need to secure our southern border with Mexico. Any immigration reforms must start with border security. If we cannot control the influx of illegal immigration and drug trafficking into our country, any meaningful reforms will be automatically undone.

Lucia: Immigration: Constitution amendment to solve the “anchor baby” and legal representation to non-citizens.

Legislation to add a legal representative waiver clause to all Visa applications and Visas.

Taxes: Legislation to make the income tax rates permanent.

Further reduction of corporate taxes to the lowest in the industrialized world.

Economy: Continue to review and eliminate unnecessary government regulations.

Legislation requiring oversight committee approval of any new regulation before implementation.

Nicholson: The first and most important problem is dealing with our nation’s long-term debt, and the promises we’ve made to current generations of Americans, while obligating future generations to pay for them. Unless we can effectively deal with our long-term debt, we will crush future prosperity and won’t be able to effectively defend our nation. Our debt is the single biggest threat to future prosperity and national defense and must be dealt with immediately.

The people of Wisconsin have made it clear that they want to see an end to illegal immigration. Those who advocate for illegal or unfettered immigration do so in order to take advantage of others. We must halt illegal immigration by building a wall on the southern border, and then construct a merit-based and economically sustainable legal immigration plan that allows new immigrants to come to the United States on sound legal footing, and to pursue citizenship with a full understanding of the rights and responsibilities that come with being an American.

Finally, while the recent tax reform legislation was a significant move in the right direction, we must continue to strive to build a federal tax policy that has low, broad, and consistently applied tax rates across all individuals and industries. This is the best recipe for long-term economic growth and will result in the highest revenues to the federal government.

Jones: There are so many issues that I have articulated during my campaign that are important to me but if I have to highlight three I will choose are fixing social security, helping our farmers and legalizing medicinal and recreational cannabis.

Millions of Americans rely on social security for their livelihood and the Government needs to keep promises made to them when they paid into it. Elements of social security will need to be adjusted and instead of speculating on whether that means less benefits, higher taxes, older retirement age or other solutions, I prefer to focus on the process to get to that decision. I plan on working with analysts, running millions of simulations for fixing the funding gap, providing the best options to the American people and receiving their feedback. This is not an issue that can be handled behind closed doors.

Family farms are an important part of Wisconsin’s heritage and economy. These are the people that keep us healthy and alive and we owe it to them to stand beside them as they go through this period of difficultly. I am open to any and all solutions that help to stabilize supply, increase prices and help with crop yield variability. I refuse to turn my back on Wisconsin family farms and would proudly weather any criticism in my attempts to support them.

Finally, legalizing medicinal and recreational cannabis has so many positives across the board between criminal justice considerations, healthcare, tax revenues, jobs in the industry and employability of those that are not criminalized due to use or sale, innovation and development of hemp and oil products and most importantly–freedom. Ending the Federal prohibition of cannabis can improve so many aspects of our society and we need to end the hypocrisy and legalize.

Barman: Job creation for Wisconsin residents, stop the flooding caused by Wisconsin rivers because of the water being pumped into them by Chicago Reclamation, and spending Wisconsin taxes on Wisconsin residents not DACA transients.

What experience do you bring to the table?

Vukmir: As a Certified Nurse Practitioner I was trained to listen about people’s ailments, diagnose the cause of those ailments and implement a plan to treat patients. The same process is involved in developing and creating good public policy. As a member of the legislature I have worked with Governor Walker to create $8 billion in tax cuts, balanced budgets, and created a prosperous economic environment. More people are working than ever before in Wisconsin, and you can rest assured that once elected to the U.S. Senate I will work with Ron Johnson and President Trump to continue to reduce burdensome regulations, cut taxes, defund Planned Parenthood, and eliminate wasteful government spending like we have here in Wisconsin.

Lucia: 60 years of living and working in the private sector under several administrations. An employee, business owner, family, bypass survivor, taxpayer and Air Force Veteran.

Nicholson: From the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, to the halls of Harvard and Dartmouth; from factory floors and Fortune 500 board rooms, to riding the range as a cowboy, my life experiences are varied–but they’ve all kept me grounded and have made me the person I am today. The most important experience I have is that of being a husband and a father, who has built a strong family with his wife. My adult life has been dedicated to solving problems, the people of Wisconsin know this, and that’s why we’re going to win in November.

Jones: Being successful in a role such as United States Senator requires exposure to a great number of experiences and perspectives because you are asked to work and vote on a wide range of national issues. Instead of pointing at one experience or a short list of bullet points, I focus on the totality of my experiences and how they help me relate to my fellow Wisconsinites. I’ve seen the world from a lot of angles. Half of my family are from Madison and the other half are smaller town or rural people which helps me understand and communicate with wide swaths of Wisconsinites and I’ve proved how effective I am at that over the course of my campaign. I’ve lived in America and I’ve lived abroad gaining valuable worldly experience that I can use to the benefit of American foreign relations. I’ve worked professional office jobs managing large insurance portfolios but I have also been a janitor, mailman and managed a restaurant. I’ve worked with union employees and non-union, salaried and hourly. I’m old enough to know “the way things used to be” but also grew up right along with the internet. My communication and interpersonal skills set me apart from other candidates and my supporters are excited at the idea of having a Senator who actually interacts with them regularly. Interacting positively with people all over the political spectrum is something I have a ton of experience with and pride myself on being someone that can sit on a barstool and talk to anyone in this State.

Senators are frequently criticized for missing meetings or votes and you need to be able to retain a ton of information and coordinate a lot with your staff, constituents and other Senators. I thrive by being as busy as possible and I have overwhelmingly proven I can handle a massive workload by maintaining a full-time job, being my own campaign manager and candidate running hard all over the State including responding to all of my own voter inquiries myself. Looking at where the investment is going in the business world, you can see how important data and information have become. Things have changed in the information age and it is very important how quickly you can acquire, summarize, interpret and use data. Through my various educational experiences, in combination with my natural analytic skills, I have developed a skill set to do this in a way to efficiently handle the high volume of content required to be successful in this role.

Barman: Hard work and respect for my follow workers.

Personal information:

Vukmir: I am a nurse, military mom, and conservative with a proven record of reform. As a daughter of Greek immigrants and lifelong Wisconsinite, I graduated from Brookfield East High School, received a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Marquette University and my Master’s Degree from UW–Madison. I grew up in a family filled with many cousins and constant activity—a real-life big, fat Greek family. I quickly realized that if you want to be heard, you have to speak up and not back down. My parents also taught me the importance of a relentless work ethic. I worked my way through high school and college, from stocking at a sporting goods store, to announcing blue light specials at Kmart, to working overnight shifts in an emergency room while studying to be a nurse. I raised two successful children, Elena and Niko, in Wauwatosa, where I lived for 30 years as a member of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, and recently moved to Brookfield. Niko is now a First Lieutenant in the Army and Elena works in finance on Wall Street.

Lucia: I live in DePere, Wisconsin. High school graduate, some college, Military Electronics and non-formal 60 years on the job.

Nicholson: I live in Delafield, Wisconsin.

Education: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Bachelor of Arts; Harvard Kennedy School, Master of Public Administration; Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, Master of Business Administration.

Jones: I grew up on the east side of Madison and currently live on the southwest side of Madison.

My formal educational background includes undergraduate degrees in Finance and International Business from the UW-Madison School of Business, and a graduate certificate in Applied Statistics from Penn State. I indicated that is my formal educational background because I believe education is so much more than just what diplomas you have but rather the combination of your schooling, parenting, personal interests and studies, era of development, influences, experiences, triumphs, failures and your reflection on those things. With respect to that perspective, I have an educational background that far exceeds my diplomas.

Barman: Delavan, Wisconsin, is home and my educational background is trade school and learning it on the job with my co-workers. It is called a brotherhood or a neighborhood. Simply put, we all win together. As a construction superintendent my jobs had budgets of $50 million. We got it done.


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