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GOVERNMENT PROFILE Name: Gordon Hintz (D) – Incumbent Residence: Oshkosh Job: Public administration consulting Political experience: Currently in third term in the Wisconsin Assembly, elected in 2006. Education: Bachelor’s in political science - Hamline University, St. Paul, Minn.; Master’s in public affairs from the LaFollette School at UW Madison Web site: I would have voted in favor of the mining bill had I represented the 54th Assembly District and I hope if I’m representing the 54th in the next term I have the chance to support it then. 2. Hintz: Efforts to change mining regulations were a disaster. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (12.19.2011) reported that Assembly Bill 426 was drafted by Gogebic Taconite (GTAC). Not a single member of the Assembly was actually identified as authoring the bill. Changing mining regulations statewide for one company requires caution. Former CEO and business writer John Torinus summarized the failed process: “[Gogebic] Mining “President Williams needs to take a look in the mirror before doling out a lot of blame….Yet any seasoned CEO would take a step back after such a flop of a major initiative and ask where he or she went wrong. Ditto for the Republican leaders in the legislature. “Williams decided on a unilateral strategy of teaming up with the Republican majorities to pass a law that would streamline the mining permitting process. Democrats had no voice in the process. Environmental groups were also excluded.” “He issued what amounted to be ultimatums, which is a risky negotiating tactic seldom employed by seasoned CEOs.” (3.12.2012 I recently had breakfast with Governor Walker and suggested that it was a mistake for mining advocates to not even meet with me to answer questions my constituents had. I told the Governor I was interested in helping pass meaningful changes to mining laws, including environmental protections and public input, and encouraged him to provide leadership in the next session. Changing mining rules are significant decisions with very long-term consequences for generations to come. Legitimate questions were raised about the proposed mine that were never answered. 3. Hintz: Tort law is very complex and very contentious and the issues go well beyond controlling frivolous lawsuits. If we are talking only about controlling frivolous lawsuits, then the first question is how do we decide that a civil claim for damages in a lawsuit is frivolous. In medical malpractice cases, the most common tort claim, considering the Minnesota model might be effective in eliminating frivolous lawsuits. Minnesota requires two actions by the plaintiff before the lawsuit can go forward. First, the plaintiff’s attorney must provide a sworn affidavit to the court that he or she has reviewed the

PROFILE Name: Paul Esslinger (R) Residence: Oshkosh Job: Advertising sales representative for Hometown Broadcasting Political experience: Mayor for City of Oshkosh from 2009 to 2011; elected to the Oshkosh Common Council from 2000 to 2009 Education: Bachelor’s in marketing – Marian University, Fond du Lac

case with a medical expert and that the expert agrees with the foundation of the malpractice case. Not providing this affidavit quickly ends the case at very little cost to anybody. Second, a more detailed affidavit is required within 180 days that must identify the medical experts being used by the plaintiff along with their qualifications. It also must answer the questions of “what are you going to prove happened and how are you going to prove it?” The prima facie claim must be established or the suit will be thrown out before a trial or any hearing. The Minnesota approach has proven to be affective as malpractice claims have diminished and there is little controversy about malpractice liability. This model can be applied to other types of tort claims. I believe that this is a better approach than threats of default judgments. 3. Esslinger: We have all heard of court settlements that have raised an eyebrow. A robber slipping and falling while attempting to rob a residence and the owner of the home is at fault, or someone suing the weather person because it rained on their picnic. I support tort reform and injecting common sense into the rules so frivolous lawsuits are not encouraged and baseless claims are discouraged because the law doesn’t reward court system abuse. This abuse has driven up costs and has resulted in lawyers collecting obscene amounts of money. I find it interesting how those that disagree with this position don’t have a problem with lawyer’s collecting legal fees up to 30 percent of the settlement amount but have such an issue with businesses charging enough to generate a modest profit. And of course the business will just raise the cost of their product/service to pay for the attorneys. So the ultimate cost is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices for products and services. I would support some form of “loser pays” for lawsuits that are suspect. I know judges now have the ability to pass on attorney fees in summary judgments. Maybe a mandatory “loser pays” if a judge were to award a summary judgment would be appropriate. 4. Esslinger: I served nine years on the common council and two years as the mayor of Oshkosh. I feel it is important to engage the constituents on these important decisions and I would hold town hall meetings to go over a list of areas that would need to be sacrificed as a result of a budget shortfall. This would be a question of priorities and I feel the residents of the district I hope to serve would provide the necessary guidance on what areas should be cut. I will say however, NEW NORTH B2B l OCTOBER 2012 l 37

October 2012  
October 2012  

Regional business magazine