Good Government Council: Wisconsin Assembly District 93 Questionnaire
When: Tuesday, August 9th, 2022; polls open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Find your voting location at myvote.wi. All absentee ballots must be requested by August 4th and turned in no later than 8:00 p.m. on August 9th either by mail or dropped off in-person. In-Person absentee voting will start Tuesday, July 26th and end Friday, August 5th. You can vote early Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you plan to vote by mail, voters are strongly encouraged to mail their ballots as soon as possible to ensure their ballot is received by the deadline.
What it’s about: The Wisconsin State Assembly is made up of 99 representatives, each of which are up for election every two years and are elected for two year terms. There is not primary needed for either party but they will both be on the ballot in the November general election. The candidates for District 93 are:
• Warren Petryk, Incumbent (R-Eau Claire) Website
• Allison Page (D-River Falls)
Who can vote: The election is open to residents of the 93rd Assembly District. Click on the image to pull up a more detailed and interactive map.
Where you vote and who is on your ballot:
• Go to myvote.wi.gov
• Enter your voting address to learn which races are on your ballot and where you vote.
Why this questionnaire: The Good Government Council (GGC) is a committee of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce dedicated to encouraging voter participation and providing members of the business community with non-biased information about candidates’ positions on important issues. Although the Chamber is active in policy issues, it is non-partisan and does not endorse political candidates.
1.) Why are you running for this office, and what are the top three priorities you will emphasize if elected to the next session of the legislature?
Warren Petryk: My first priority will be to continue to invest in our State’s excellent educational infrastructure. Second, I will continue to expand access to broadband internet in our rural areas. Thirdly, I will continue my work to make sure that the values and needs of Western Wisconsinites aren’t overshadowed by other, more urban, parts of the state. Despite the challenges of divided government, I’ve proven that I was once again able to succeed and pass several reforms that benefit the 93rd. This session we had over 250 bills signed into law and over 86% of the bills that passed the Assembly did so with bipartisan support. The state is once again funding 2/3 of K-12 education, as our Technical Colleges continue to receive historic support, while we were able to get the governor to sign the legislature’s income tax cut for our families.
Allison Page: I am running for office because I love and believe in our great State of Wisconsin and want to do what I can to ensure its future. My top three priorities: 1. Wisconsin will – Attract and retain good businesses that provide job and career opportunities for our citizens and, in collaboration with other businesses, as well as local and state institutions, engage in efforts to support the long-term economic, societal, and ecological sustainability of our great state. 2. Wisconsin will – Ensure every child, to the best of his/her abilities, reaches adulthood with the emotional resilience, knowledge and skills needed to be a contributing member of society. 3. Wisconsin will – respect our water, our air, and our soil, for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.
2.) What role should state government take in supporting a vibrant business economy in Wisconsin? What specific actions or policies would you propose to accomplish it?
Warren Petryk: We need to continue to invest in our local schools and in our children’s future. That is why I voted to provide $700 million in new money for our schools, which is a third of every dollar the state collects while also securing an additional $2.6 billion in federal education funding. This session I was able to help expand Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program by advocating for and securing an additional $1 million a year for the program. In addition, I authored a bipartisan law that requires schools to annually notify parents about Y/A opportunities in their area. Also, we need to continue to pass common sense, fiscally sound budgets. Since I’ve been elected, the state has reduced the tax burden of our state’s citizens by nearly $22 billion. This includes making the PPP funds state tax free and to make sure businesses didn’t see a tax increase because of the increase in unemployment claims following the governor’s decision to close Wisconsin in March of 2020.
Allison Page: State government should work to create an environment that is attractive to good businesses looking to locate here and supportive of Wisconsin residents wanting to launch businesses here. The state can assist by: 1. Providing favorable financial support / incentives for businesses. 2. Providing excellent infrastructure – e.g. roads, internet, etc. 3. Ensuring the existence of a skilled workforce – provide excellent education opportunities from K-12, to tech school, to university education. 4. Supporting efforts to make Wisconsin a great place to live so we can attract and retain workers and families. This would include supporting good housing and access to good schools, parks another amenities younger generations seek. This would also include state support for excellent, accessible day care for the children of workers.
3.) Businesses today face several significant workforce challenges, with more jobs open than individuals available to fill them. Among these issues are demographics related to the size of the workforce; state support to recruit and retain employees to the area; housing supply and affordability; and a crisis in childcare availability for working parents. What is the legislature’s role in addressing these issues?
Warren Petryk: As Chair of the Workforce Development Committee, I know that one of the key issues for businesses is having access to the talent they need to hire. That is why I continue to support programs like Youth Apprenticeship, which has been very successful in our area to get young people access to real-world skills before they graduate, and allow them to learn the importance of soft skills. Also one of the bills I authored would help get people off the workforce sidelines and back into a job by reforming Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance program into an actual workforce program. The sooner these individuals get access to retraining, the less time they spend on UI. In addition, Wisconsin continues to have a workforce housing shortage. That is I voted and co-authored a number of bills to make housing more affordable by creating a loan program to help upgrade older housing stock. We also passed a workforce housing tax credit to incentivize new construction of needed housing stock in our state.
Allison Page: I think the legislature can, and should, do many things to support Wisconsin businesses as they face these challenges. The bottom line is we need to retain the workers we have and recruit workers from other places / states. We do that by making Wisconsin a great place to live and raise a family. Workers will move to Wisconsin if they see a bright future for themselves and their children. For example, what if we (state and local partnership) created affordable, sustainable (and therefore lower operating cost) housing for communities with a pathway to ownership for the worker relocating to our state? What if we supported “community daycare” as part of our infrastructure? We need to use our imagination to figure out how to best compete for workers our businesses need to survive and thrive. I am not suggesting these are the only, or the best ideas. I am saying we need to think outside the box and engage in creative solutions. FYI – I served on the board of directors of the Workforce Development Board of Western Wisconsin for several years.
4.) The 2019-21 State Budget included funding for the first phase of the new Science and Health Sciences Building at UW-Eau Claire to replace aging and obsolete Phillips Hall. The University is now awaiting the second phase funding so that it can begin construction. What level of priority will you put on ensuring that funding is included in the state’s 2023-25 budget, and what steps will you take to make that happen?
Warren Petryk: This important workforce education project will continue to get my support! I was one of the primary original authors to make sure we got this project into the State biennial budget. I will absolutely make this a priority again to keep it moving forward. I was disappointed that it wasn’t positioned as a higher priority by UW-System recently, but I have already begun to advocate for this project to move up, as the longer the project waits to break ground, the more expensive it will become. I know that this building will help continue bringing a massive “knowledge boom” to our area and to my alma mater. My experience and positive relationships with Legislative and Joint Finance Committee leaders will prove invaluable to the eventual success of this project. The exciting workforce, research, and educational possibilities, especially with Mayo Clinic collaboration, make this a truly paradigm-shifting project for the economic future of not only UW-Eau Claire, but all of Wisconsin.
Allison Page: I will support our educational institutions across the board, including our university system. You can count on me to be a vocal advocate for the allocation of resources to support the educational institutions in our region. Specifically, regarding the new Science and Health Sciences Building at UW-Eau Claire, I will serve as a credible advocate for funding. My entire working career has been in healthcare. For the past 13 years I have served as the CEO of Western Wisconsin Health in Baldwin, and thus am keenly aware of the need for regional education of healthcare professionals. (FYI – I recently retired). I would start by meeting with leadership at UW-Eau Claire to understand the situation. Then, I would identify other stakeholders who would align in support of the effort (e.g. the Wisconsin Hospital Association, professional groups, regional healthcare leaders, etc). We would establish an advocacy plan and get to work.
5.) Why should a business person in the Chippewa Valley vote for you to represent them in the state legislature?
Warren Petryk: As a 93rd Assembly candidate who is a lifelong resident of our area and a business owner in Western Wisconsin for over 50 years, I know and understand the importance of strong and smart fiscal management of our state finances. It is now more important than ever that we make prudent and wise fiscal decisions that help keep people healthy while continuing to provide our businesses with the support which they need to succeed. As your State Representative, I will continue to make sure that our state supported pro-growth strategies will help our local businesses expand and thrive. That is why my work continues to be recognized over the years by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Wisconsin Realtors, Independent Business, Counties and Towns, Dairy Business Association and many other pro-business organizations. I look forward to seeing my fellow Eau Claire Chamber members at the Chippewa Valley Rally again next year!
Allison Page: As a lifelong resident of River Falls, I know and understand Western Wisconsin. I have run a fairly large business (Western Wisconsin Health in Baldwin – 400 employees and 50-60 million in revenue). My husband and I have owned and operated a dental business in River Falls. I understand the synergistic relationship between business and community. One does not exist without the other. I have time, energy, and skill that could be put to good use as your representative in Madison.
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Posted by Danya Morman, Governmental Affairs Intern