In the Senate District 10 race, incumbent Democrat Patty Schachtner is challenged by Republican Rob Stafsholt, who is seeking a shift from the Assembly.
Why do you want to serve in this position?
What will be your primary focus if elected?
What issues are forefront in our western Wisconsin region?
The country has seen widespread protests following the cases of police shootings, including those of Jacob Blake in Kenosha and George Floyd in Minneapolis. How should the issue of police reform be addressed at the state level?
What role should the government play as the COVID-19 pandemic continues?
Address: 1064 201th Ave., Somerset
Occupation: State senator and chief medical examiner of St Croix County
Education: Somerset High School, 1978; Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (EMT, EMS adult educator)
Family: Married to Joe for over 40 years; six children, 12 grandchildren
Civic engagement: Former health care provider, Somerset High School; medicolegal death investigator, St. Croix County; EMT, New Richmond Ambulance and Rescue; Town of Star Prairie supervisor (2010-14); Turningpoint Wisconsin board; Somerset Community Food Pantry board; Somerset School District School Board (2015-18); Rotary Club of New Richmond; Wisconsin Coroners and Medical Examiners Association; former member of Western Saddle Club Association; former member of St. Anne’s Parent Group; St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice member; former president Championship Pulling Series; former director Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce; co-founder Suicide Prevention Task Force of St. Croix County.
1. I am running for reelection to the state Senate because I have been serving our community for my entire adult life and I’m committed to continuing to do that. I work to help people in my community find solutions to the challenges we are facing. It is clearer now than ever before that we need people bringing common sense ideas to the table, instead of playing politics, and I know that I can do that for my community.
2. My top priorities include ensuring access to health care, supporting great public schools and tech programs, and keeping our water clean for generations to come. As a former EMT and health care provider, I know firsthand how important it is to have access to affordable, high quality care for every stage of life. I will continue fighting for the Medicaid expansion and coverage for pre-existing conditions. I will also keep reaching across the aisle as I have my entire career to bring more mental health resources to northwestern Wisconsin.
3. Access to health care, a strong educational infrastructure, and clean water. These are issues that matter to communities here in western Wisconsin, and they are the issues that I’ve been working on for years. We have unique challenges here as a border community, and a diverse region of suburbs, college campuses, and rural, agricultural land. As your Senator, I’ve worked to address our needs by authoring legislation like the Interstate Medical Compact which helps ensure access to high quality health care providers on both sides of the border. I also authored legislation to support testing of rural wells because I believe that folks like me should have the
same access to clean drinking water as those living in bigger cities. I’ve been putting western Wisconsin’s issues first since I was elected, and I’m not going to stop now.
4. We need to approach these conversations of police reform with compassion and empathy. Law enforcement has been asked to deal with more than they are trained to handle, and marginalized communities haven’t been given enough support outside of the criminal justice system.
I also know from experience that with more mental health care resources, we could reduce both the burden on law enforcement and incarceration. Most people in our jails have a mental illness, and they are not being helped in jail nor is our society improved without treating them. I’ve done this work before, and I am fighting to do it again. As medical examiner, I worked with then-District Attorney Eric Johnson to implement MRT, a therapy proven to reduce recidivism and got trained in mental health first aid to support our entire community. We can begin to address this as a state if we bring everyone to the table.
5. The Legislature needs to get to work to address this pandemic and support local governments in their work. I’ve heard time and again from school board members, town supervisors, and city council members, that they are swamped under the burden of this pandemic. They need legislators to show up for work and take a vote to provide the funding, flexibility, and other resources they need to keep our communities afloat. We have to do more to support small businesses, stock food shelves, distribute PPE, and keep schools safe. I’ve been ready to come into work and vote on these bills since April, and now it’s up to the legislative leadership to hold a session.
Address: New Richmond
Occupation: Farmer, small-business owner, state representative Assembly District 29
Education: New Richmond High School graduated; attended both University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and UW-River Falls
Civic engagement: New Richmond Chamber of Commerce member; lifetime member of the NRA, Richardson Sportsman Club, and Balsam Lake Rod &Gun Club; member of St. Croix County Farm Bureau, member of the Wisconsin Property Taxpayers Inc.; served on the Town of Erin Prairie’s Planning Commission; has been a member of sportsman clubs like the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Safari Club International, National Wild Turkey Federation, and Sportsmen’s Alliance.
1. As a father and small businessman, I understand the challenges hard-working families are facing. That is why I’m running for state Senate. I am committed to delivering a bright future for all our families. I believe that together we can protect our communities, safely rebuild and move our economy forward, and secure our future. I’ve been honored to represent the 29th Assembly District and I would be honored to earn your vote for Senate.
2. Jumpstarting our rural economy. As a small-business owner and father, I’ve seen first-hand how the pandemic has affected our local economy and families. It is vital that our economy remains safely open, our kids safely learning and that we keep our most vulnerable protected. Keeping this in mind, I will continue to work to deliver common-sense solutions for northwestern Wisconsin.
Connectivity has never been more important. Whether you are a student, a small business, or simply trying to maintain contact with family and friends; access to the internet is important. This past session I voted for $44 million in rural broadband expansion. I’ve worked to bright the state broadband director to Assembly District 29 to work with the local communities on applying for broadband grants. I want to continue to build on the successes we’ve had and ensure northwestern Wisconsin sees its fair share of these resources.
3. The pandemic – I think it’s the top issue cross the state. However, we must begin to safely move forward. In doing so there are several issues important to our area that I would continue to work on. Improving access to health care. I’ve voted to cover those with pre-existing conditions and will continue to do so. As previously mentioned, access to broadband. Expanding mental health services, I worked with my colleagues to include over $15 million in the state budget for a crisis center in our area. This would keep those needing mental health services closer to home and their families. Unfortunately, Gov. Tony Evers redirected these funds to Madison.
4. I have been encouraged by the dialogue I’ve seen in our communities. We have seen a healthy and safe expression of individual’s First Amendment rights. I hope that continues. I support our law enforcement. Several sheriffs and district attorneys across the 10th District have endorsed me and I’m honored to have their support. We have worked closely on mental health initiatives, keeping our communities safe, and combating the drug epidemic. I will continue to support and stand up for law enforcement.
Keeping our families and communities safe is extremely important to me, and this is an issue that I’m continually working on. That being said, it is an important conversation to have and my door is always open to hear from all perspectives.
5. COVID-19 has posed a unique challenge to both our health care system and our social safety net. In the COVID relief bill I voted for earlier this year, we guaranteed cost-free testing for everyone and ensured that a COVID-19 diagnosis wouldn’t stop individuals from getting health insurance.
One thing our government must do better is handling unemployment claims at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. People who were without work due to no fault of their own have waited months to receive their unemployment.
Sadly, the governor has largely ignored the cries for help from those still waiting on their unemployment. The calls I’m getting are tough and there’s no good explanation as to why their UI is being hung up. This issue must be immediately dealt with.