US Senate candidates discuss economy in forum

Dem candidates for the United States Senate in a virtual forum have proposed solutions to the country’s economic problems, such as adding manufacturing jobs, raising the minimum wage and helping small businesses.

At the Dane County Democratic Party’s more than two-hour event last night, seven of the eight candidates offered ways to address various economic issues. All the candidates answered different questions, but most answered at least one relating to the economy and inflation. They will face off in a Dem primary next month. The winner will face US Senator Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, who is seeking a third term.

None of the contestants directly attacked the others during the event.

While many Wisconsin residents struggle with rising fuel prices, state treasurer Sarah Godlewski said she will tackle some of that inflation by going after the oil companies.

She said she would fine oil companies $2 million a day for profiting, support a gas tax exemption, and work to lower drug prices on arrangement.

“But the other thing we need to do, I will say as a mum, is see how we can make sure people can participate in the economy,” she said. “And right now, things like childcare and elder care are unaffordable. We are in the child care and elder care wilderness.

Alex Lasry, on furlough from his job with the Milwaukee Bucks, said he wants to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and repeal Trump-era tax cuts he says raised taxes on the middle class . He criticized Johnson for what he called a lack of action to fight inflation.

“He’s actually able to pass policies and try to help,” he said. “And unfortunately he’s doing nothing right now and for the last 12 years he’s just giving himself a tax cut and making it easier to send jobs overseas and raise taxes on the middle class.”

Intellectual property rights lawyer Peter Peckarsky said raising the minimum wage to more than $20 an hour would help more people afford to have children. Forcing companies to pay what he says is a fair wage would also help level the playing field for workers, he added.

“And it’s not a world where $20 an hour is enough for everyone,” he said. “If you work 40 hours a week, that’s about 2,000 hours a year. It’s $40,000. Forty thousand dollars is not enough to support two parent units and two children in any sort of normal environment.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said he wants to ensure small farms in Wisconsin maintain a strong stake in the state’s agriculture industry while other parts also grow. He said it was essential to maintain market competitiveness.

“Our industry is booming. It’s rich,” he said. “We have so many other incredible opportunities, but if we continue down this path, we continue in this direction of monopolization, the family farm will be lost forever in this state. In the same way that we need to support our small family farms that employ people, this is also what happens with small businesses. ”

Businessman Kou Lee said he also wants to keep markets competitive by holding big companies accountable and toughening antitrust laws. This would lead to lower consumer prices and more innovation, he added.

“Big corporations profit from practically billions,” he said. “And it’s just plain unfair because these companies aren’t using those profits to share with the consumer or to invest in innovation or research that would benefit us all.” Instead, they use that money to buy back their stocks to protect their companies, and also to increase CEO bonuses.

Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said better trade deals with countries like China would help improve U.S. economic security and create jobs. He said he wanted to negotiate deals “from the perspective of the American worker.”

“The Chinese ate our lunch. We had horrible trade deals,” he said. “And it’s not just because international competitors like what China is doing, but it’s what our own reps are doing and how they haven’t served us. Trade deal after trade deal, administrations Democrats and Republican administrations have hurt the American worker.

In his closing remarks, Millennial Action Project founder Steven Olikara called for putting a price on carbon emissions, adding that he wanted to ensure that clean energy entrepreneurs get the resources they need to make the United States an industry leader.

“R&D is one of the smartest investments the US government can make,” he said. “And we also need to help commercialize these technologies from Department of Energy labs to the private sector.”

–Darrell Williams, on leave from his post as administrator of the Emergency Management Division, said he didn’t expect to get a response if he dialed 911 at 3 a.m.

Williams, also at the Dane County Democratic Party event, when asked what kind of changes he wanted to see the police make, said he did not support their funding, but that they needed to work more with communities. He also said communities will need to work more with the police. But at the moment, he said police do not have the resources to respond to all calls.

“So we have to work together as one because at the end of the day someone breaks into my house at three in the morning, I dial 911,” he said. “And I don’t expect to get an answer.”

Williams did not ask a question directly related to the economy.

Melvin B. Baillie