Scieszinski seeks nine debates ahead of Senate primary

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Jim Leute
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

JANESVILLE—A Democrat running for the 15th Senate District has called for a series of nine debates with the other candidates who will join him in the Aug. 12 primary election.

Austin Scieszinski said public involvement is important in campaigns.

“If I am given the honor of serving as the state senator for the 15th Senate District, I plan to remain as open and transparent to constituents as possible,” he said in a news release. “Actions speak louder than words, so today I have asked my fellow candidates to join me in a full and robust debate schedule to ensure that all residents of the 15th Senate District have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about issues that matter to them.”

In a letter to fellow Democratic candidates Janis Ringhand and Mike Sheridan, Scieszinski said constituents deserve to hear candidates discuss the issues they care about.

He called for debates in Whitewater, Edgerton, Milton, Oregon, Janesville, Beloit, Evansville, Orfordville/Footville and Brodhead.

“Voters deserve to hear us and see us unfiltered,” he said in his letter. “Radio ads and shiny brochures do not provide full details of how we would address the difficult issues Wisconsinites face.

“… As we approach the Aug. 12 primary election, we owe it to the voters to give them the chance to hear directly from the candidates to gain a better understanding of our positions on many important issues.”

Both Ringhand and Sheridan said they're willing to debate, but both questioned the logistics of scheduling nine debates before a primary election that is now 10 weeks away.

“I certainly will attend any that I can, if my schedule allows,” said Ringhand, who said she's already had extensive campaign interaction with the public since announcing her Senate bid in October.

“I've got a fairly full schedule of events, and it will be difficult to pull off nine, but I will attend if I can.”

Sheridan said debates could be productive for the public and the candidates.

“It's an opportunity for people in every community in the 15th Senate District to hear from the candidates, to hear about their experiences and their records of accomplishment,” he said. “Logistically, I'm willing to take a look at it and see what we can figure out.”

Scieszinski is a lifelong Janesville resident and has worked in the past as a legislative aide for Sen. Tim Cullen. He has a degree in finance and accounting from UW-Madison, and he is currently employed by his family's real estate business.

Ringhand has served in the state Assembly since 2010. A lifelong resident of Rock County, she lives in Evansville and is a former member of the Evansville City Council and former mayor.

Sheridan was in the Assembly from 2005-10, serving the last two years as speaker. Since 2012, the former president of United Auto Workers Local 95 worked for the AFL-CIO. He quit to run for the Senate.

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