Incumbent James Edming will face Michael Bub in the Republican primary on August 9 for the seat in Wisconsin’s 87th Assembly District.
The winner will challenge the Democratic candidate Elizabeth Riley on November 8 as she makes her fourth bid for the seat.
The 87th Assembly District includes all of Rusk and Taylor counties, most of Sawyer County, and neighboring communities in northwest Marathon County and northwest Clark County.
To learn more about registering to vote and finding your voting location, visit My Vote Wisconsin.
The Wausau Daily Herald asked each of the candidates to address important issues in the district and why they believe they are the best candidate for the position.
Here are the candidates and their answers:
Profession: Former Senior Information Business Manager, Religious Education Coordinator
Campaign website: https://www.facebook.com/michael.bub.315
Profession: Entrepreneurs, state officials
Campaign website: https://www.facebook.com/Rep.Edding/
Why are you running for office?
Boy: I feel like our government is broken and no longer doing what is best for the people of Wisconsin. I feel like rural Wisconsin is often overlooked. After eight years of the same agent, I believe it’s time for a change. With nearly 30 state assemblymen and state senators not running for re-election, we have an opportunity in Madison for real change. I asked a lot of people during the election campaign if they thought our government was a bit broken? In most cases, they replied, “A little?” The 87th Circuit needs a new representative to help Northern Wisconsin.
editing: As I often tell people, ministering to the people of the 87th District in the congregation is the best job I’ve ever had. I want to serve the people of the 87th Precinct for two more years because my work is not done yet. In the last four years, many good political ideas and reforms have been stopped by Governor Evers’ veto. I want to come back to Madison because hopefully when Wisconsin elects a new governor this fall, we can get many of those ideas signed into law and make a difference for the people of the 87th District.
What makes you the better candidate in this race?
Boy: I think I’m the best candidate for this race because I’m looking for new solutions to problems. The Madison government keeps trying the same old solutions and getting the same failed results. We must explore new solutions. When it comes to rigging our elections, improving our education system, or bringing broadband to rural Wisconsin families, I refuse to just stand by while we continue down the same old path and try the same failed solutions. If we send the same people back to Madison year after year, do you think the government will change?
editing: I’m a problem solver, not a politician. During my tenure, I have focused on addressing issues that are important to the people I represent. When local officials in Rusk County needed help cleaning up the hazardous waste left behind by 5R processors, I worked with Senator Petrovsky to pass legislation to make it happen. Since my first day in office, I’ve strived to give a voice to people from across the 87th Precinct. I have a proven track record of getting things done for the Northwoods and the people I represent.
What is the most pressing issue in Wisconsin and how would you address it?
Boy: wow, a problem? Election issues, financing of roads in northern Wisconsin and education to name a few. But one issue that concerns me is mental health. I serve on the Taylor County Human Services Board. We are seeing a dramatic increase in people asking for help with mental health issues and people in crisis. The really remarkable increase comes from the students. I think when we closed our schools we had a very negative impact on the social development of our youth. In the next state budget, we need to look at providing more funding for the mental health of the people of Wisconsin.
editing: The labor shortage is a concern for employers across Wisconsin. My wife and I experienced this first-hand in our own company. As Chair of the Labor and Integrated Employment Committee and a member of the Workforce Development Committee, I was proud to work on the Stronger Workforce Package in the past session to help resolve this issue. Unfortunately, this package was rejected by the governor. I will work to bring these and other ideas back into the next session when hopefully we have a new governor to sign them into law.
Do you support the dissolution of the Wisconsin Electoral Commission?
Boy: The electoral commission needs to be revised. Having a board where votes often end 3-3 doesn’t work for Wisconsin. People must have confidence in our elections. Some of the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court rulings I believe will be helpful in future elections. We must create a process in which electoral laws are clearly defined. We must ensure that our district secretaries and election officials all follow the same rules and guidelines. We must prevent money from private organizations from influencing the conduct of our elections.
editing: Election integrity is important, so I voted for nearly two dozen election integrity laws to fix election issues we found. First, we must ensure that the laws are enforced on the books. Recently, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned an Electoral Commission policy that encouraged the use of ballot boxes. Government agencies have a responsibility to ensure that their guidance is consistent with government law. I believe changes are needed in the Commission, but we need to make sure that we don’t solve old problems by creating new ones.
Would you vote to repeal Wisconsin’s abortion ban or add exceptions to the law?
Boy: i am for life I feel that every life deserves a life. We should value all lives. When I was in second grade, my parents lost a daughter in childbirth. The pain inflicted on my parents was unbelievable. From a young age I couldn’t understand why anyone would end a child’s life through abortion. Years later I met a wonderful young lady. Lisa, my wife, is adopted. Without a person choosing to choose life over abortion, I wouldn’t have my 42-year-old wife. Now with three children, four grandchildren and the fifth at the end of July.
editing: Throughout my time in the Legislature, I have prided myself on speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves and stand with the unborn. I support Wisconsin’s current abortion law and believe we need to do more to support women who are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. That’s why I recently joined with several congregation colleagues to send a letter to Governor Evers asking him to provide $10 million in federal funding for pregnancy resource centers in Wisconsin. These centers help women cope with pregnancy, whether through medical services, financial support, pregnancy/parental support, or adoption assistance.