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Five vie to replace Benedict in 45th Assembly District

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ANN MARIE AMES
September 9, 2010
— Five candidates say they would bring jobs to the 45th Assembly District, help balance the state’s budget and improve education in Wisconsin.

They will face off in two primary elections that will leave two people vying to replace Chuck Benedict, D-Beloit. Benedict does not seek re-election.


The district includes most of the city of Beloit, some wards in northeastern Janesville and the rural communities on the east side of Rock County including Harmony, Johnstown, La Prairie, Bradford, Turtle and Clinton Townships. It also includes Richmond Township in western Walworth County.


The Democrats are Rick Valdez of Beloit and Roger Anclam of Turtle Township.


The Republicans are Amy Loudenbeck of Clinton Township, Jeff Klett of Beloit and Jim Reseburg of Beloit.


All five last week answered questions during a forum sponsored by the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce at Beloit City Hall.


Here is a selection of questions and responses:


-- The state is expected to face a $2.5 billion budget shortfall by July 2011. What steps would you take to ensure the deficit is not increased and that the deficit is reduced?
Loudenbeck: She is in favor of zero-based budgeting and a system of rotating line-by-line audits for state departments.

“Wisconsin can not continue to borrow or use accounting tricks to pay its bills.”


Valdez: Raising taxes is not an answer. It’s a quick fix, he said.

“Let’s review our budgetary system, start removing the redundancies and the overlap. Let’s start focusing our money where it works and have a true pay-as-you-go system.


Klett: He favors a zero-based budget and believes a good economic environment is the key to raising the money to balance the budget.

“The more we tax, the more people we lose who have the money to pay taxes.”


Anclam: He thinks the Wisconsin Department of Revenue should be responsible for covering a reported $1.6 billion tax gap that is the result of some municipalities failing to stay up-to-date on property value assessments. He also thinks the state must be careful with its spending.

“We’ve got to cut out the waste. We’ve got to scrutinize what we get out of every dollar. We have to invest in job creating.”


Reseburg: He believes in creating public-private partnerships to stimulate job growth and believes in consolidating public services.

“I drove from here (Beloit) to Milton and drove through seven law enforcement agencies.”


-- What steps would you recommend to improve the quality of K-12 education in this state?
Klett: He said Wisconsin should focus on the 80 percent of students who don’t attend college and use public-private partnerships to fund programs such as the countywide high school vocational education classes based in Beloit.

“We need to get to all of the kids, not just some.”


Anclam: He recommends engaging parents to be part of their children’s education and using public-private partnerships to pay for increasingly technical education programs.

“We’re not in a position to say you can pick up wrenches and go to work anymore.”


Reseburg: He thinks the 45th District should promote its education system, that teachers should be allowed to do their jobs and parents should be made to feel welcome in schools.

“There are parents who see this (school) as a scary place because they didn’t have the opportunity for education that I had … it was very frustrating when my children brought home homework I didn’t understand, but I had the avenue to get that help.”


Loudenbeck: She said businesses consider the number of students with post-secondary education when considering where to locate.

“Ending your education at the 12th grade shouldn’t be the end of your education.”


Valdez: He thinks Rock County Youth2Youth has a great model for reform: using children to teach other children.

“This (Beloit) school district has done some great things. We need to make sure we focus on it more. That’s where we show industry and business alike that we care about the education system.”


-- Why should voters support you and your party?
Anclam: “With my experience in local government and having created a balanced budget, I feel I am in a very good position to represent the 45th District.”
Klett: “If you believe, like I do, that we have an opportunity to elect a more responsible government, support me on Sept. 14 and Nov. 2.”
Valdez: “We need to create new jobs, not just bring jobs back. We need to create responsible incentives to attract businesses, but those incentives cannot be on the backs of our working-class people.”
Loudenbeck: “I have extensive experience in the manufacturing, agricultural and tourism industries … I consider it a legislative priority to protect and promote agriculture in the 45th District.”
Reseburg: “You trusted me for more than 29 years with your lives, health and safety. You trusted me to manage a multi-million dollar department. I have been on the state legislative council committee and testified more than 20 or 30 times on new legislation.”

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