95th Assembly candidates differ on role of government

LA CROSSE, Wis. — The election to fill the open State Assembly seat left vacant by State Sen. Jennifer Shilling is getting closer. The seat opened after Shilling defeated Dan Kapanke this summer in the 32nd Senate recall race.

As Democrat Jill Billings and Republican Dave Drewes get ready to square off for that open Assembly seat, a big distinction emerges between the two of them. And that difference is their views on the role of government.

Billings sees government as a positive force in people’s lives, one that should be working with private industry. But Drewes thinks the powers of government need to be reigned in– limited to things not easily done by private industry, like schools and roads.

“The government’s not the solution, the government’s the problem,” said Drewes.
And those views on the role of government flavor where they stand on the make-or-break issues in this election.

One example: Billings says the key to job creation is increasing government funding to our technical schools.

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“You’ve got a bottleneck of not enough class space, not enough instructors, not enough money to provide the classes. And then on the bottom here, you’ve got these businesses who want to hire trained, skilled people,” said Billings.

But Drewes says government regulations are the biggest hurdle to job growth.

“You must get the government out of the way and keep taxes as low as possible or tax credits to businesses that want to consider expanding,” said Drewes.

Another big issue in this race is the collective bargaining reforms. We asked both candidates if they support the changes made earlier this year.

“I think what Walker has done is good and should be followed through,” said Drewes.

Billings sees things differently.

“If there were an opportunity to vote to reinstate collective bargaining, I would vote for that,” said Billings.

Not surprisingly, the candidates also have very different views on the push to recall Governor Walker.

“Oh, I think he’s just done a fantastic job,” said Drewes.

“If someone would put a petition in front of me, I would sign it,” said Billings.

The last three people to hold this assembly seat have been Democrats, dating back to 1976. The election is set for this Tuesday, Nov. 8.

You can look up your polling location on the Wisconsin Voter Public Access website: https://vpa.wi.gov/.