Five men are seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for the 1st Congressional District seat.
Paul Nehlen, Nick Polce, Jeremy Ryan, Kevin Steen and Bryan Steil are hoping to replace Rep. Paul Ryan, who is retiring after 20 years in Congress.
A sixth candidate, Brad Boivin, will be on the ballot, but he has withdrawn from the race and endorsed Steil.
The campaign took some odd turns. First, Twitter banned Nehlen for racist statements, and some Republicans, including Paul Ryan, denounced him as racist.
County Republican parties did not invite Nehlen to their candidate forums. They also didn’t invite Jeremy Ryan, an enthusiastic marijuana smoker, whose ideas, for the most part, are liberal.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary election will face the winner of the Democratic primary Nov. 6.
The candidates responded to these questions:
Q: Will you support a path to citizenship for people brought to this country illegally as children? What about their parents who have lived here and paid taxes for many years?
Nehlen: “We have a legal path to citizenship now. I do not want laws relaxed or changed. In every instance, every illegal alien should be deported and must get in line just as every legal immigrant who came before them.”
Polce: “At this point, I do not support a pathway to citizenship for those who came here illegally.
“Immigration reform needs to begin with border security and improve the laws that are part of our broken immigration system. ...
“We can begin by funding a wall. The next step is to increase, if necessary, funding for border enforcement ...
“Then we modify or remove existing immigration law to end loopholes ... (including) addressing family migration and ending the visa lottery system. ... closing the H1-B loophole and taking action on the H2-A/B visa shortcomings that do not address the needs of businesses that require year-round labor support in industries like dairy.”
Ryan: “Allow people who are here to be here legally. If they commit crimes, they’re gone.
“After a certain number of years paying taxes here and contributing to our society, they can be allowed citizenship, which could be revoked if they start committing serious crimes.”
Steen: “Build a wall, fast-track workers, register families and remove criminals.
“There is already a path to legal citizenship for people to come to America; the laws in America need to be followed.”
Steil: “Most Republicans and Democrats can agree that our current immigration system is broken and in need of reform. Our first step must be to secure the border.
“After we have secured the border, we need a comprehensive reform of the legal immigration system that also addresses the individuals here. Part of the solution is matching legal immigration to our workforce needs here in Wisconsin.”
Q: Name the three greatest threats to the United States right now.
Nehlen: The absence of a well defended wall or double fence to secure the future existence of our people and a future for our children; the absence of a national bank of the United States as opposed to the Federal Reserve, which ought to be abolished; the “hostile elite” who have taken perch in the highest levels of government, media, banking, entertainment and in policy think tanks antithetical to the strength and sovereignty of this nation.”
Polce: National debt/profligate federal government spending, skyrocketing health care costs, China.
Ryan: “Our debt is constantly climbing, and we can’t afford that. This allows foreign nations who control our debt to control us at least partially.
“We need to do away with the Federal Reserve and finally take control of own our own money. All the Federal Reserve does is charge us money so that the elite can continue controlling us. We need to have a central bank owned by the people.
“Both the Democratic and Republican parties don’t care about people. They only seek to control and divide. ... They keep us focused on where we disagree so as to keep us in shackles.”
Steen: “Too much government spending and the enormous debt load. Or in other words, tariffs/inflation.
“A China/Russia partnership.
“Lack of energy sources/stability in oil market.”
Steil: “Health care costs are too high. I will work to lower costs, protect coverage for pre-existing conditions and put individuals and doctors in control of health care decisions. I will also protect Social Security and Medicare for current recipients and future generations.
“Southeast Wisconsin’s economy is beginning to grow again. ... (I will) fight for affordable, high-quality education to prepare students for the jobs of the future.
“Washington spending is out of control. I’ll use my private-sector background to work to cut government spending, reform the budget process and implement more oversight of government programs.”
Q: What actions (no more than three) should lawmakers take to improve federal taxing and spending and why?
Nehlen: “Lawmakers ought to embrace tariffs on the funding side, and President Trump correctly leverages tariffs to protect industries, as tariffs and excise taxes funded the federal government up until 1913 with the ratification of the 16th Amendment establishing income taxes.
“On the spending side, we have to dramatically shrink the size of the federal government, eliminating many departments (spending and salaries) redundant to state-level departments, thereby eliminating redundant spending and associated taxation.”
Polce: “End the use of the omnibus (spending bills). Each spending bill that funds the different departments of the federal government ... should come before the floor for an up or down vote. ...
“The spending through the omnibus bill process is one of the reasons we have a $21 trillion national debt. Our debt makes our kids and grandkids poorer and can cause national security challenges.
“Stop raising the debt ceiling. By law, Congress sets the limit for how much the federal government can borrow to fund its operations. Congress should not authorize another future increase in borrowing. ...
“One way to get a handle on our spending is to prevent the federal government from borrowing and force Congress to focus on the excess spending.
“Stop raiding the Social Security Trust Fund. ... Because of this, we will shortly face a funding shortage in Social Security. ..
“We must address this spending instead of taking money from Social Security.”
Ryan: “Legalize cannabis. Allow billions upon billions in extra tax revenue and even more billions in prison and enforcement savings.
“End Citizens United. This will make it harder for corporations to buy tax breaks and politicians. The current system is pay-for-play; donate thousands, receive millions. ... That’s why I’m the only candidate not taking any donations.
“Shift tax breaks from giant corporations to small- and medium-size business. This will keep money more local and allow far more jobs.”
Steen: “We need zero-based budgeting in departments of Education, Labor and Housing and Urban Development.
“We need to freeze all non-essential programs from the budget.”
Steil: “Lower taxes, so the hard-working people of southeast Wisconsin can keep more of their own money. We also deserve a government that spends our money wisely and efficiently. I will work to reform the budget process and focus on more oversight of government spending. I will also fight for legislation that cuts needless government regulations to help create high-wage Wisconsin jobs.”
Steil cited an example of such regulation: “A provision, known as R2T4 governs aid when students withdraw from school. This provision has 213 pages of instructions and guidance alone. ... These types of rules and regulations need to be streamlined to reduce administrative costs and ultimately keep education affordable.”