Rucker, Schmidt seek GOP nomination in 45th District
ORFORDVILLE Orfordville village trustees Russell Rucker and Beth Schmidt are facing off in the Republican primary Tuesday, Aug. 14, for the 45th Assembly District seat.
The winner of the primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary between 80th District Rep. Janis Ringhand and Beloit City Council member Sheila De Forest.
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, is the incumbent in the 45th, but redistricting puts her into the 31st District for the fall elections. Under the new district lines, the 45th Assembly District includes Orfordville, Evansville, much of the city of Beloit and the towns of Beloit, Avon, Magnolia and Newark.
Rucker and Schmidt responded by email to these questions:
Q: What qualities make you stand out from your Republican opponent?
Rucker: "In my first term on the village board, I joined with other members to stop a tax increase and have voted "no" on a number of spending issues in order to save the village money.
"I asked for a tour of our sewage treatment plant because of update issues; looked at a paint sprayer when I was told it needed replacing; looked at different points in the stream where our sewer plant empties that is more like a 2-foot stream, which the state Department of Natural Resources calls a navigable waterway. I have studied issue after issue and have been on hand well before each meeting to discuss the issues and ask questions," he said.
Schmidt: "I am energized working with people, and I am a very good listener and communicator. I love to problem solve, and I look forward to meeting with people at village and town meetings, in coffee shops or going door to door so that we can collaborate to achieve common goals.
"I will be an effective legislator by bringing the voice of our district to Madison," she said.
Q: What would you do to promote civility and work across the aisle?
Rucker: "I believe I have acted in a non-partisan fashion trying to develop communication with others on the board to get the job done," he said.
Schmidt: "I will have in-depth communication with the residents of the 45th District so that I am able to ardently but respectfully advocate for them. My goal will be to promote policies to enable the communities in my district to be self-sufficient yet do not interfere with the rights of other communities. Having that respect for yourself and for others fosters civility," she said.
Q: How would you increase economic development and bring more jobs to the area?
Rucker: "I have written an economic plan, which would establish a three-tier tax plan at 5 percent, 6 percent and 6.5 percent, and lower corporate taxes from 7.9 percent to 6.5 percent so there would be no penalty for business owners filing as an individual," he said.
He also would end personal property taxes and not change most deductions.
"Combined with spending cuts, this would fuel the economy, as this money would flow back into the private sector, putting more people to work and increase revenue as more people started pulling the wagon," he said.
Schmidt: "I believe business will come and stay where it feels welcome and can expect a stable, balanced political environment. The events of the last year were not inviting to businesses, and we have to work twice as hard to make up the lost ground.
"Government does not create jobs, people do, and we need to provide an environment that encourages people to invest their capital and take the risk of starting or locating and growing their businesses in Wisconsin. I believe the solution is a combination of incentives, making it easier to do business and a stable supportive political environment," she said.
Q: Do you think the mining legislation could be revised to gain bipartisan approval? What should be changed?
Rucker: "I am for the mining bill presented this past session.
"Due to Democratic concerns, I believe it's their duty to recommend changes and talk with us about what they would support. I am sure we could work together to get the job done," he said.
Schmidt: "The citizens of northern Wisconsin wanted to have some assurance their water supply would not be contaminated. This is a reasonable concern, and it is also reasonable to expect an agency to take no longer than one year to deny or grant a permit.
"It would be worthwhile to reintroduce the mining bill because some legislators who voted against it might have a change of heart after seeing the immediate loss of 2,500 jobs. These jobs were lost not because the DNR determined the project to be environmentally unsafe but because the company could no longer afford to wait for an answer," she said.
45TH ASSEMBLY—REPUBLICAN PRIMARY
Address: 110 S. Wright St., Orfordville.
Job: Server at Applebee's in Janesville for 15 years
Education: Associate's degree in accounting from Blackhawk Technical College
Community service: School activities, Cub Scouts, March of Dimes and the Care Ministry and Day of Hope event through Beloit Central Christian.
Elected posts: Orfordville Village Board trustee, spring 2011-present.
Address: 311 N. Mowe St., Orfordville.
Job: Painter for Schmelzer Paint
Education: Trade courses at Blackhawk Technical College
Community service: Serves on Orfordville police committee, board of review and planning commission.
Elected posts: In his second term as Orfordville Village Board trustee.