Incumbent August faces Welcher for Assembly District 32 seat
Voters in Wisconsin's 32nd state Assembly District must choose Tuesday between a Republican incumbent and his Democratic challenger, an organic farmer and instructor who is new to politics.
Rep. Tyler August, R-Lake Geneva, faces a challenge from Christine Welcher of East Troy. The district includes Delavan, Lake Geneva, the villages of East Troy, Bloomfield and Genoa City and the towns of East Troy, La Fayette, Spring Prairie, Lyons, Linn, Geneva, Bloomfield, Delavan, Burlington and Wheatland.
August, a seventh-generation Walworth County resident, was elected to the state Assembly in 2010 and is finishing up his third term. He serves as the Assembly speaker pro tempore, which is the second-highest constitutional officer in the Assembly.
Welcher is running as a Democrat, but she believes government officials should meet with and listen to who they represent, regardless of their political affiliation.
Below are excerpts of interviews with both candidates.
Q: What's the most important issue in this campaign?
August: Responsible spending and a balanced budget in Madison are top priorities for August, based on his past record and what he sees in the future.
“I'm driven to ensure the budget is going to be under control, and that we're only spending what we need to spend, and that we're sending the rest of the money back to the people who earn it.”
Welcher: The first issue Welcher mentioned was how rural schools are being hit financially and how she would like to ensure schools receive more state aid.
“Education should not be a partisan issue. Education should not be a profit issue. The rural schools really do get hit a little bit harder than the rest.”
Q: Where do you stand on increasing funding for the UW System?
August: August first said he “wholeheartedly” supports the tuition freeze to help Wisconsin families know the cost of a four-year degree.
He said the UW System's recent budget request is more reasonable compared to past requests, but he added that the system should be run in a financially responsible way.
Welcher: Welcher would seek more money for the UW System “so they can get back half of what was taken from them in the last budget.”
Welcher also brought up how UW Extension was hurt by recent budget cuts, with tight finances likely forcing program consolidation.
Q: Do you think municipalities should have more or fewer restrictions when it comes to taxing residents?
August: August supports a property tax freeze, saying “the hardworking families of Wisconsin who are paying the property taxes appreciate the fact that we've been able to hold the line on those.”
Welcher: Welcher said the state is not funding local governments like it used to, so municipalities are left scrapping for money to meet basic needs.
Q: What makes you a better candidate than your opponent?
August: August touts his leadership experience and the budgets he has helped balance, allowing taxpayers to keep their money.
He added that he has a history of bipartisan work, while Welcher signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker. He described the recall process as “one of the most divisive situations we've ever had in this state.”
Welcher: Welcher said August does not spend enough time in the district he represents. She said she wants to establish a community citizen advisory board to keep in touch with what her constituents want.