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Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008

Four Democrats Vie for North Shore Assembly Seat

Wasserman’s Senate run opens up an opportunity

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State Rep. Sheldon Wasserman’s decision to run for the state Senate seat currently held by Republican Alberta Darling created an opening for Democrats. Not only does Wasserman have a shot at turning a Republican district Democratic, but the Assembly seat he’s vacating allows an up-and-coming Democrat to serve in the Legislature.

The 22nd District currently represented by Wasserman—which encompasses parts of Milwaukee and Glendale, and all of Fox Point, River Hills, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay—had once been a Republican stronghold. But shifting demographics and little enthusiasm for Republicans at the state and national levels mean that this district will almost certainly remain in Democratic hands in November.

Four candidates will be on the Sept. 9 Democratic primary ballot—Andy Feldman, Guy Johnson, Dan Kohl and Sandra Pasch—and the winner will face Republican Yash Wadhwa in the November general election.

Below are excerpts from questionnaires filled out by the four Democrats; their full answers will appear on ExpressMilwaukee.


Andy Feldman was a Clinton administration-era staffer at the Council of Economic Advisors and earned his doctorate at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “The biggest challenges District 22 faces are what our entire state is facing: cuts in education funding, a slowing economy, a looming health care crisis, and an environment that needs continuous attention and protection,” Feldman says. Feldman said that rising health care costs need to be reduced through a comprehensive reform plan such as Healthy Wisconsin, introduced by Senate Democrats last year. Feldman would like to promote green jobs in the area. “We have the infrastructure as well as the workforce that could enable us to become a leader in exporting environment-related products.” His campaign Web site is www.andyforwisconsin.com.

Guy Johnson is village president of Shorewood and the director of the Executive MBA Program at UW-Milwaukee’s Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business. Johnson said that the state’s structural deficit must be addressed head on. “In Shorewood, our board took up many of these topics while I was president: passing a smoking ban, creating a shoreland ordinance protecting the river bluff and finding creative ways to fund special school projects. But at the state level, none of this can occur unless legislators sit together and fix the structural deficit.” He says high-quality transportation including “full intra-regional service, fast trains in the Chicago-Milwaukee-Twin Cities corridor and a focus on energy efficient transportation” are high priorities and would stimulate job growth. Johnson’s Web site is www.electguyjohnson.com.

Dan Kohl is Wisconsin director of New Schools Development for The SEED Foundation. Kohl’s top priorities are high-quality education, accessible and affordable health care for every Wisconsinite, environmental stewardship and regional economic growth. Kohl said he would fight for Milwaukee’s fair share of state aid, promote UWM as a world-class research institute and try to attract “start-up companies and knowledge-based businesses to improve Greater Milwaukee’s global competitiveness.” Kohl says taxpayer funds should not be spent on any private school that does not meet high standards and credentials. “I favor increased transparency and accountability of any such school, and I wish that the recent move to expand the program had included more meaningful accountability measures.” Kohl’s campaign Web site is www.kohlforassembly.com.


Sandra Pasch is an assistant professor at Columbia College of Nursing and a founding member of the Milwaukee Mental Health Task Force. “Health care concerns loom large in this district. Many constituents have difficulties paying for insurance, especially those who are self-employed or work for small businesses. Others have deductibles so high, they are omitting yearly screening tests. Young adults, especially recent college graduates, are not finding jobs with benefits.

Another issue is the high property tax rate, with many aging residents fearing they cannot afford to live in their homes.” Pasch said the area should create more jobs in the fields of new transportation and green technologies. Pasch’s Web site is www.sandrapasch.com.

To read the candidates’ responses in full, go to www.expressmilwaukee.com

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