Candidates in 45th differ on health care
Voters in the 45th Assembly District will choose between two candidates with clear differences.
The 45th district includes the city of Beloit and the southeastern corner of Rock County outside Janesville.
Incumbent Chuck Benedict, a Beloit Democrat, is trying for his third term in the Assembly. Benedict, a retired neurologist at Beloit Memorial Hospital, favors a single-payer health care system.
Benedict, 62, said his experience gives him an advantage over his opponent, Republican Mike Hahn, of Beloit and a native of Bradford Township.
“Some of the major issues are health care and energy issues and economic issues,” Benedict said. “I’ve had my career, I’ve been out in the economy … I’ve had life experience in those areas. When I was 25 or 26, I didn’t have that perspective.”
Hahn, 25, is stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, waiting orders to go to Iraq. Hahn does not favor government-run health care for all, just one of the points on which the two differ.
“The most basic difference is that time and again, when you look at Rep. Benedict’s voting records, you see a pattern of increasing government taxes and government influences over our lives,” Hahn said. “My view of government is one that should have as little intrusion in our daily lives as possible.”
Hahn and Benedict agree on one thing in part—tax incentives to entice the manufacturers of renewable energy equipment.
“We need to consider tax incentives for research and development and production of green energy,” Benedict said.
Hahn added biofuels and biotechnology to the list of jobs Wisconsin should be seeking.
“Wisconsin should be tailor-made to be a leader in those industries,” Hahn said. “Reforming the way we do, those businesses would definitely help farmers and give them another outlet for their crops.”
Both men said farmland preservation was a priority.
Benedict supports a single-payer plan and has twice worked on a bill supporting a publicly financed health plan. The bill has gone nowhere, he said, because of lack of Republican support.
Medicare is a good example of the way the government can reduce administrative costs for healthcare, although Medicare struggles from underfunding, Benedict said.
“When insurance companies get involved, there’s a lot of added costs inherent in that,” Benedict said.
Hahn said Benedict’s plan would limit patient choice and quality of care.
“I favor a health care system where there is transparency in pricing and the quality you’re receiving,” Hahn said.
Address: 3639 Bee Lane, Beloit.
Job: Retired neurologist at Beloit Memorial Hospital, retired teacher.
Education: Graduated from New Canaan, Conn., High School, 1964; bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, 1968; master’s degree from Princeton University, 1970; attended Duke University; medical degree from the University of Connecticut Medical School in 1979.
Community service: Co-founder and current member of the Beloit Memorial Hospital Medical Ethics Committee
Elected posts: Has served two terms on the Wisconsin Assembly
Address: 430 Harrison Ave., Beloit.
Job: Serves in the U.S. Army; currently stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, awaiting deployment to Iraq.
Education: Graduated in 2001 from Clinton High School
Community service: Lifetime member of Clinton Memorial VFW Post 10430 and Dairy-Paulsen American Legion Post 440
Elected posts: None