A debate Wednesday night exposed sharp ideological differences between the two candidates competing in a key Senate recall. The most pointed jabs between Representatives Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Donna Seidel (D-Wausau) came as the two veteran lawmakers discussed collective bargaining limits imposed on most public union employees last year.
“Those weren’t easy choices, but they were choices that needed to happen,” Petrowski said, adding that massive layoffs would have happened had unions not agreed to pay more toward their pensions and health care costs.
But the reforms “had nothing to do with solving the budget,” Seidel said. “The intent was to bust the public unions and Jerry supported having that happen in Wisconsin. It was not necessary.”
Seidel said she would work toward restoring collective bargaining rights, if elected.
The candidates also sparred on a wide range of issues, including:
Seidel: “Slice it or dice it any way, Wisconsin is dead lost in job creation because of the policies put in place by Jerry Petrowski, his Republicans and under Governor Walker’s leadership have not worked.”
Petrowski: “I can tell you within the job market, we are at 6.7 percent. The amount of people working is up, the amount of people on unemployment is down.”
Seidel: “The voter ID bill…was unnecessary, was a solution in search of a problem. It does disenfranchise the most vulernable.”
Petrowski: “Why should some people vote not count because someone else is fraudulently voting? I think this is common sense and I think we’ve come to a time where almost everybody has an ID.”
Seidel: “I voted against the most extreme mining bill not because I’m opposed to mining, I’m opposed to a bad bill. I wanted to be absolutely sure that air quality would not be compromised, that drinking water would never be contaminated by lead or arsenic.”
Petrowski: “This would be dramatic for the state – 5,500 jobs, up to $2 billion of commerce. And as this would work through our economy, it would make it tremendously different for the state of Wisconsin. Reason this was a bad bill was because they didn’t want to see Scott Walker have a win on the mining issue.”
Voters will decide June 5th which candidate should represent the 29th Senate district. Wausau Republican Pam Galloway held the seat until March, when she resigned citing family health reasons. Galloway left office in the face of a recall effort by voters upset, in part, with her vote in favor of collective bargaining limits.
Seidel defeated Antigo resident Jim Buckley in a primary this month. Petrowski did not face a primary challenge.