Democrats and others who vote in the Democratic primary have until Aug. 14 to decide which of the Democrats they want running for governor.
One of the candidates, a state senator named Kathleen Vinehout, spoke to about 40 people at the Hilltop International Pub on Tuesday.
Vinehout has this recommendation for those trying to figure out which of 10 Democrats to support: Go to the candidates’ websites and look at the solutions they propose to the state’s problems.
“The question to ask is how—how the candidates will fix the problems they are posing,” she said.
Vinehout said she’s been proposing solutions for years. She started producing alternative state budgets when Gov. Scott Walker proposed his first budget in 2011.
There was a lot of talk about a lack of money, Vinehout said, but her budgets were balanced, and they didn’t take money from schools and other needed services as Walker’s did, she said.
Vinehout’s priorities include health care, education and public transportation, she said, and she would cut things such as tax credits for families that send children to private schools, the school voucher program, and a large number of tax cuts to corporations enacted under Walker.
She also would expand Medicaid, which would free up $286 million in state money because the federal government would pay for things the state is not buying, she said.
The Medicaid savings would pay for statewide, community-based mental-health and addiction-recovery services, she said.
Vinehout gave a fiery speech in a hot bar room, contrasting what she called the Foxconn-promoting ways of Walker to the needs of a single mother who works full time at minimum wage and needs mental-health treatment for her son.
She called the woman Rachel and contrasted the $3 billion in state incentives for the Foxconn development to Rachel’s income.
Vinehout said she wants to invest in people “because when we lift up the Rachels of this state, we lift up all of us.”
Vinehout, of Alma, has been a state senator since 2007, winning three rather close elections to keep the seat. She ran against Walker in the 2012 recall election, coming in a distant third in the primary.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Vinehout has taught health-care administration in Illinois and ran her family’s organically-certified dairy farm near Alma.