Janesville22.1°

Wynn, Jorgensen face off for 43rd Assembly seat

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Neil Johnson
October 31, 2012

The 43rd Assembly District has become a battleground as a veteran state lawmaker is trying to switch districts to unseat a first-term legislator in the Nov. 6 election.

Evan Wynn, R–Whitewater, will be defending his seat against veteran politician Andy Jorgensen, who represented the 37th Assembly District for the last three terms.

Jorgensen, D–Fort Atkinson, has chosen to run in the 43rd District, the boundary lines of which are several city blocks from his home. He would move into the 43rd if elected, he said.

Wynn and Jorgensen sounded off on their accomplishments in the Legislature, their political plans and their thoughts on Jorgensen's decision to run in another district.

The candidates answered these questions:

Q: What do you consider to be your most significant accomplishments in the Legislature?

Jorgensen: He said over the last term, he's scrutinized state spending plans to ensure they don't shortchange middle class people. One example was his effort to halt a plan he says the Republican-controlled state Legislature had to gut SeniorCare, the state's prescription drug plan for senior citizens.

Jorgensen also helped to squash a plan by some in the Legislature to shut down some state Department of Motor Vehicle centers.

He said the idea of the closures came up after the state enacted voter ID laws that would require a state ID card to vote.

Wynn: He said a keynote accomplishment in his first term was his "budget flexibility" bill.

The bill allowed public employee unions, including city of Milton workers, to re-open labor contracts and make benefits concessions without provisions of Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 nullifying the contracts.

Through the bill, the city of Milton was able to negotiate an insurance change that saved $100,000 and averted the potential layoff of six city employees, city officials said.

Wynn noted that he also sponsored four bills creating tax incentives for private businesses to hire military war veterans.

Q: What would be your priorities if elected?

Jorgensen: He said he'd work to spur job growth in small business.

He said he's pushing a bill that would make it easier to get a small businesses loan by cutting through tight lending restrictions and using a formula that ties loans to the number of jobs a small businesses would create.

Jorgensen said he wants to work to get funding restored to public education, including local schools and public colleges and universities.

Wynn: He said his overall goal if re-elected is to ensure the state doesn't deficit spend. Wynn said he's proud to be part of a Legislature that "got rid of a $3.6 billion deficit" and is in line to sock away "$108 million in a rainy day fund."

Wynn said he is working on one bill to strengthen rights of landowners in cases of eminent domain linked to state road construction projects and another bill that would require the state to conduct economic impact studies for businesses near major highway projects.

Q: What's your position on Jorgensen's decision to run in the 43rd District?

Jorgensen: He said he decided to run in the 43rd District because his district, the 37th, was carved up during legislative redistricting last year.

Under new political boundaries, Jorgensen lives about three blocks from the 43rd District. If elected, he'd move into the district, he said.

Jorgensen defended his choice to switch districts. He said his current district stretches from Cambridge to Mukwonago and includes wide swaths of territory with which he's politically unfamiliar.

On the other hand, Jorgensen said, he worked at the General Motors plant in Janesville for 12 years, and he has close family and personal ties in the northern part of Rock County and the Whitewater area, parts of which are in the 43rd District.

"What I looked at is who do I know, and who knows me. How can I best hit the ground running?" Jorgensen said. "This is a better district politically, yes—but it's also a much better district for me to represent constituents."

Wynn: He said Jorgensen's switch is opportunistic and motivated by the fact that redistricting skewed the 43rd District more Democratic by adding parts of Dane County. He has said Jorgensen seems willing to "abandon" thousands of constituents in the 37th District just to get re-elected.

Wynn wants to push legislation that would require legislative candidates to have residency within a legislative district before they can file to run in that district.

Bios

Evan Wynn

Age: 50

Address: 214 Lakeview Drive, Whitewater.

Job: 43rd Assembly District representative since November 2010, former drivers education teacher.

Education: Bachelor's degree in education, UW-Whitewater, 2009.

Elected posts: 43rd Assembly District Representative since November 2010.

***

Andy Jorgensen

Age: 45

Address: 1424 Endl Blvd., Fort Atkinson.

Job: 37th Assembly District representative since 2006.

Education: Certified in radio/television broadcast, Brown College, Mendota Heights, Minn., 1987.

Elected posts: 37th Assembly District since 2006.



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