Democratic voters in the newly created 62nd Assembly District will choose between political newcomers on the primary election ballot on Tuesday.
, a 47-year-old iron worker, who lives in Caledonia will face , a 30-year-old public health educator and researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who resides in Racine. The top vote-getter will all but certainly take on Republican candidate Tom Weatherston of Racine in the November election. Weatherston is unopposed in Tuesday's primary.
The district, which had its boundaries redrawn as part of the redistricting process, now includes Caledonia, some of Racine, and some of Mount Pleasant.
Here's where the candidates in the Democratic primary stand on several key issues:
Would you keep Act 10?
Randy Bryce: I support repealing Act 10. I support workers being allowed to vote in order to certify as a union. If the vote does not favor organizing into one, that decision should also be accepted.If the majority wants to become a union, then that should be recognized, and if they vote not to become a union, then that needs to be recognized, too — whatever the majority wants to do.
Melissa Lemke: From one side we saw people talking about the need for good-paying jobs and the other side spoke about budget issues. I understand that it’s important to have a balanced budget, but we also need to treat workers well. Employees should be able to negotiate things like workplace safety, classroom sizes and caseloads.
How would you focus on jobs and education?
Randy Bryce: Small businesses need to have access to loans to increase their businesses and right now the banks aren’t lending money. And I have a problem with all of these banks that got bailed out that aren’t lending money.
I’d like to put more money into education. I have a problem with corporations being invited in and before they give back to the community or even promise to give back to the community just providing jobs, they get all of these tax breaks. We’re just giving them keys to the store and saying, help your self.
Melissa Lemke: Racine has been devastated by job losses and we are one of the cities in Wisconsin that has the most unemployment in the state. What I’m hearing is that there is a disconnect between employers who have job openings and employees that don’t have the training they need.
When people leave high school, technical college or even college — we need our young people to be prepared whether it’s someone who can fix a car or be a teacher. I don’t blame the high schools, but maybe this needs to be done in a more systematic way and we need to connect employers and young people to get on the job training.
How would you control the costs of health care?
Randy Bryce: Health care is an issue for small businesses. It would be nice if (Republican Gov.) Scott Walker had something put in place or would at least have a plan, but he’s just going to wait until November to see who is elected, then he’ll do something.
Until something else comes into place where it is more affordable, I’d like to see smaller businesses be able to form groups so that they could get better rates. I think it increases the need for jobs.
Melissa Lemke: There’s a lot to be said for prevention. We need to be putting a lot more of our energy into preventing health (problems) by using nutrition and exercise programs. Studies have shown that it’s easier to prevent chronic diseases, and less costly, than to cure people who have chronic illnesses.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Randy Bryce: I’ve worked as hard as I can to get what I have. And I want to work hard so that other people can get as much as they can out of working hard as I have.
Melissa Lemke: I think the most important issue that I’m running on is to make sure we have reasonable paying jobs. Education is key to attracting employers and we need an educated workforce to attract those employers.
Patch asked each candidate to complete a biographical questionnaire for voters.