32nd Senate District candidates share views on reopening Wisconsin

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – As Election Day narrows in an important issue looms over the heads of 32nd Senate District candidates Brad Pfaff and Dan Kapanke – reopening Wisconsin.

Republican candidate Dan Kapanke shared his thoughts Thursday on crucial issues facing the state’s small businesses, farmers, and the local economy during a roundtable with Main Street Alliance and Wisconsin Farmers Union.

One of his main messages is the importance of reopening Wisconsin businesses and helping them get back on their feet.

He touched on the Paycheck Protection Program and said if relief like that becomes available again he would change how funds are distributed.

Kapanke argued many businesses that were able to stay open are flourishing and shouldn’t get as much financial relief as those that had to completely shut down.

And despite the increase in COVID-19 cases and overwhelmed hospitals statewide, he said reopening is his priority – citing a survey by the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) that was conducted in April, and argued that getting COVID-19 is like any other risk people face each day.

“The rules and regulations have been too severe, and that’s why we have 35% of Wisconsin businesses responding in a survey are going to close. Well is that better? We have to deal with this, it’s real. Cancer is real. Traffic accidents are real. All these things happen. We walk outside of our house and there is a chance for something negative to happen every single day,” Kapanke said.

Kapanke did say the state should protect the vulnerable, but healthy people need to be able to go on with their lives.

Meanwhile, his opponent, Democratic candidate Brad Pfaff, made a stop in La Crosse Thursday during the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s “What’s at Stake” bus tour.

He argued that controlling the spread should be the first priority if the state wants to safely reopen, and small businesses are looking for leadership that would make that possible.

“I hear over and over how much [businesses] are looking for leadership. They recognize for their businesses to continue to grow and survive they need to make sure we stop the spread of this virus. They want that done, and there are three simple things we can do. Wash our hands, socially distance, and wear a mask,” Pfaff said.

Kapanke argued that restrictions made by Governor Tony Evers are taking away Wisconsinites’ First Amendment rights.

But Pfaff said this shouldn’t be a political issue that divides us; it’s a health crisis that can only be controlled if everyone does their part.