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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Democrats Challenge Ryan’s Congressional Seat

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Republican Congressman Paul Ryan may feel that his southern Wisconsin district is safe. But three Democratic challengers on the Sept. 9 primary ballot disagree—not only with that assessment, but with Ryan’s support of President George Bush and presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.

All three Democratic candidates want a responsible end to the war in Iraq and sensible solutions to the nation’s domestic challenges. The Democrats feel confident that their positions on the issues are more in line with the sentiments in their district. The district includes all of Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties; portions of Waukesha and Rock counties; as well as southern Milwaukee County suburbs such as Oak Creek, Greenfield, Greendale, Franklin and Hales Corners.

The three challengers are music teacher and CPA Paulette Garin of Kenosha; Ocean Spray factory worker Mike Hebert of Kenosha; and chemical engineer Marge Krupp of Pleasant Prairie. All three answered the Shepherd’s candidate questionnaire. Excerpts are below, but the complete responses can be found at www.expressmilwaukee.com.

Paulette Garin is a small-business owner and former nonprofit executive. Garin wants a responsible plan to end the Iraq war, and supports the U.S. National Health Insurance Bill (HR 676). “It would provide coverage to every citizen regardless of pre-existing condition.

It is an expanded and improved Medicare-type plan. The free-market system has proven to waste dollars on advertising, CEO salaries and Washington lobbyists. It is time to rein in the disproportionate influence of big pharma and the insurance industry.”

Garin said she supports a “Manhattan Project” of sorts to spur sustainable sources of energy. She said the government can extend unemployment benefits when necessary and make sure that retraining programs are available to those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Garin has been endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 430; Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 4611; Racine Labor Coalition; and Teamsters Retirees Local 430. Garin’s campaign Web site is www.paulettegarin.com.

Mike Hebert is employed by Ocean Spray and is a member of the union. “I have seen the country deteriorate in the last eight years, and when a person is pushed by conviction to make the ills right again, they can accomplish miracles. Too often people complain about situations and never step up, and some times they stand and their voice is heard loud and clear.” Hebert said his independence and common-sense approach to the issues would make him a better representative than Ryan. “Paul [Ryan] is an elitist and representing a middle class district. His integrity and loyalties have been more for corporate America than for the middle-class people in his district.” Hebert said his biggest priority is improving the economy. “Livable wage jobs are being hemorrhaged out of this country at an unprecedented rate for the sake of short-term profits by American corporations and the CEO.” The solution, Hebert says, is ensuring that free-trade policies “reflect fair and reciprocal trade.”

Marge Krupp is a chemical engineer with an MBA who has worked at S.C. Johnson and Abbott Laboratories. Krupp decided to run for office because she said Ryan’s 2006 re-election without serious opposition was a disservice to the district.

“As someone who lives and breathes a middle-class way of life I was disappointed to see that someone who is so carefully and methodically dismantling that way of life was without a credible full-time challenger.” Krupp said the district has been “particularly hard hit” by the loss of manufacturing jobs. Her solution is to strengthen the dollar, draw down the national deficit and invest in “non-exportable ‘green’ technology jobs that create a skilled technology sector.”

Krupp has been endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the International Longshoremen’s Association; the American Postal Workers Union; the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers; National Organization for Women; National Women’s Political Caucus; Women’s Campaign Forum; Women’s Action for New Directions; and Citizens for Global Solutions. Her cam paign Web site is www.kruppforcongress.org.

To read the candidates’ responses in full, go to www.expressmilwaukee.com. What’s your take? Write: editor@shepex.com or comment on this story online at www.expressmilwaukee.com.