At the first televised debate for the eight Democratic candidates running for governor, most of the candidates took aim at Republican Governor Scott Walker and what they say is his failure to put the people of Wisconsin first.
The debate was held at UW-Milwaukee. Candidates were asked different questions, but geared towards the same topic. All agreed they do not support the Foxconn deal as it stands today. Candidate Matt Flynn stood out from the rest saying he’s the only one who can kill the deal, an idea the rest of the contenders don’t think is possible.
“We are paying a foreign company $4.5 billion to pollute Lake Michigan and I’m going to go in and shut them down,” said Flynn.
Madison’s Mayor Paul Soglin echoed a similar message.
“The governor does not know what he was doing. I want to know what the governor was smoking when he made this deal,” said Soglin.
Criminal justice was also at the forefront with all agreeing the state should reinstate an early release program to reduce the prison population.
“That begins with making certain people are not going to prison who don’t have to go to prison, like low-level offenders,” said Josh Pade.
“We’re imprisoning twice as many people and warehousing them. The way Wisconsin has not reduced crime, it’s just doomed us to a state budget that spends more money on prisons than the university system,” said Mike McCabe.
When questions were raised about education, State Superintendent Tony Evers was the only one to not not support free tuition for the first two years for those enrolling in a technical college.
“Any student that is in poverty that they can’t go to college, they’re going to get some grants, but I think there should be some skin in the game,” said Evers.
Contenders did not attack one another during the debate, instead they shared a common goal by taking shots at Gov. Walker.
“We have two Walkers, one who governors and the candidate Walker, who’s acting like a moderate Republican. The people of Wisconsin will not be fooled again,” said Mahlon Mitchell.
“I’ve written many alternatives to the governor’s budget, where the money should have gone if the governor put the people first,” said State Senator Kathleen Vinehout.
“We’re not going to win it with talking about all the failures of the last eight years. We’re going to win it with our positive and optimistic vision for Wisconsin,” said Kelda Roys.