GOVERNMENT PROFILE Name: Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R) – Incumbent Residence: Fond du Lac Job: Former Lutheran school teacher for 22 years Political experience: Currently in his first term in the Wisconsin Assembly; City of Fond du Lac Common Council from 2005 to 2010 Education: Bachelor’s in elementary education Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Web site: fightingforthe52nd.com is holding back a huge bonus for the economy of our state. The rejection of the mining legislation sent a message to investors of all types that political victories were more important than creating opportunities for Wisconsin families. I am eager and willing to support more mining legislation next session. The current mining laws in Wisconsin are so onerous that they act as a de facto veto to those with the capital to invest. New legislation must allow for a more compressed timetable and a tax structure that benefits the state, compensates the local community for infrastructure and still allows a healthy profit for investors. Preserving the natural beauty and quality of life in the area around the mine was fundamental to the 2012 bill, and will be vital to any new legislation as well. 3. Thiesfeldt: Yes, it is too easy to attempt to exploit “deep pockets” in Wisconsin. Too often, successful individual business owners or corporations are easy targets for excessive lawsuits and financial judgments. Unfortunately, these types of lawsuits are often driven by attorneys encouraging clients to file suit for unscrupulous reasons seeking disproportionate dollars. It is reasonable to set limits on financial judgments as well as to discourage irresponsible use of the court resources by allowing “loser pays” provisions. Wisconsin statutes currently provide this for filing appeals that attempt to delay court proceedings. Other states, such as California, take further measures to protect the integrity of the courts. 4. Thiesfeldt: Recent projections have shown a positive change in revenue. The reforms put in place in the 2010-11 legislative session are proving effective, and if left in place will benefit our state for generations. Rather than propose new cuts, it is more important to emphasize the continuation of seeking efficiencies and flexibilities of state programs to ensure the people’s dollars are maximized. We should not be proposing additional spending, rather we need to be controlling the size and scope of our government. The positive side of the ledger sheet needs to be applied to the “rainy day fund” to avoid requiring taxpayers to cover future shortfalls on short notice.
Assembly District 54
(Includes Oshkosh) 1. Hintz: Wisconsin needs to take a long-term view of its economic strengths and weaknesses, rather than seeking quick fixes. There is a growing skills gap between what 21st century jobs require and what skills are possessed by the next generation of workers. The Road Ahead report by former Bucyrus Erie CEO Tim Sullivan identifies the skills gaps as the biggest 36 l NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2012
long-term challenge for Wisconsin businesses. Sustained technical education and improved private-public partnerships can narrow the gap. Wisconsin has excellent university research facilities and we are beginning to see more start up businesses generated from basic and applied research. After failing to pass venture capital legislation last session, it is important we get effective and accountable legislation passed. According to Zach Brandon, director of the Wisconsin Angel Network, if the state were receiving a percentage of the venture capital proportionate with its population, it would have 259,215 venture-created jobs rather than the 60,156 venture-backed jobs he estimates it has. Regulatory reform must balance many legitimate and competing interests. Some of the business frustration with regulations is more with the state agency handling of the regulation rather than the regulation itself. I believe that (1) all regulations should be periodically reviewed, (2) all parties, including businesses, should be treated with a “how can we help you resolve your issue” attitude, and (3) regulatory review should take place within a reasonable period of time. If agencies cannot conduct regulatory reviews in a timely manner, they should be given better staff resources and stricter deadlines. 1. Esslinger: My top two priorities are: creating jobs and eliminating/reducing the debt. I would propose the legislature provide leadership on job creation and work favorably with Governor Walker and get Wisconsin on track to create 250,000 new jobs within his term. I have heard far too many times that businesses want to move out of Wisconsin because of its tax structure and regulatory burden. I also believe that we need to get aggressive on retaining jobs in Wisconsin. Again, I have heard far too many times about the excessive rules and regulations that are not conducive for business. Even in the short amount of time I ran a small business I was frustrated with the fees and taxes that were levied on me. That is the primary reason that I gave up the business. 2. Esslinger: I think the commentary that came from this situation is that we have politicians that talk out of both sides of their mouths. I know my opponent talks about wanting to create jobs, and then when presented the opportunity to accomplish that, he impedes the Walker agenda and votes “no” on the mining bill that was projected to create thousands of high paying jobs and inject billions of dollars into Wisconsin. He voted no because of “environmental concerns.” I believe the environmental concerns were addressed and the jobs would have provided relief to an economically depressed portion of the state. I believe the mining bill was sympathetic to the concerns of the environment. How many times do we have to hear that potential family-sustaining jobs were thrown out because of “environmental” issues? Is the spotted owl more important than families that desire to have an opportunity at the American dream? I think part of the problem may be that some politicians receive money from environmental political action committees for their campaigns and they don’t want that revenue source to go away so they vote how the PAC wants them to vote. It’s time elected officials start representing their constituents and not political action committees.