The La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce invited candidates in the 94th assembly district and 32nd state senate district to take part in a business forum this morning.
Candidates introduced themselves and took questions from the audience with a focus on how to balance regulations between small and large businesses.
Representative Steve Doyle says while all businesses should at least have a chance, smaller local businesses will have his support.
"We have to look at balancing it out, making it a fair and level playing field. But when we have Main Street versus Wall Street for example, it's easy. For me, that is always going to be Main Street because that's really where more of our jobs are being created these days,” says Doyle.
Doyle's challenger Julian Bradley also believes a balance needs to be created between large and small businesses. But Bradley also emphasizes the role of the government within private businesses.
"The best way to keep that fair is by remembering the role of the government within that balance, and the role of the government is strictly to create the atmosphere, and then the role of the government is to make sure that everybody has opportunity. So we want to make sure that the playing field is equal. From there it's up to the market to go,” says Bradley.
Wisconsin's State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling says state leadership should focus on providing help to would-be entrepreneurs.
"We need to look and provide the tools to small businesses and entrepreneurs, if it's capital, if it's resources, if it's mentors, for these small businesses to develop into medium-sized businesses, and for entrepreneurs who take this risk to be able to feel that they can do that because there is support out there for them,” says Shilling.
Shilling's challenger Dan Kapanke agrees small businesses and entrepreneurs should be a focus within the state. He says Wisconsin already has the ability to sustain start-ups though.
"We have a lot of startups, 52-thousand I believe so far this year, of small companies. This is a good thing, and this is the climate that we want for the tax base, for the worker, the wage-earner. We need jobs here in Wisconsin and we have the climate to do it. We need to market that,” says Kapanke.
Shilling and Kapanke will appear at another forum in Onalaska Tuesday.