Izzy Hassey Nevarez is the Democratic challenger is this year’s 39th State Assembly district election, challenging four-term incumbent Republican Mark Born.
Hassey Nevarez, a banker who lives outside Juneau with his husband John and dog Max, said he is running to protect the safety nets that helped him and his family gain a foothold in life. Hassey Nevarez was born and raised in Illinois after his parents immigrated from Mexico. He said he doesn’t think everyone in the district is getting the representation they deserve in Madison and wants to represent all of the 39th, bringing an ethic of hard work, persistence and kindness to the State House.
Hassey Nevarez grew up in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago, and said that his parents came to the United States to start fresh. They didn’t speak much English and worked in factories. His family lived in a poor neighborhood and moved from place to place. However, he said, his family didn’t end up in deep poverty because of public housing, and were able to lift themselves up with that extra help. Hassey Nevarez also has great admiration for his public school teachers, who taught him English and helped him gain the skills to get a job and take care of himself.
“I want to continue to focus on those things, those safety nets, for other people, for other kids like me, and to add to those safety nets,” Hassey Nevarez said.
Hassey Nevarez married his husband, a Wisconsin native, in 2017 and they moved to Wisconsin after living in Chicago, finding a home in the tight-knit community of Butternut Island on Sinissippi Lake. He has served as the community engagement coordinator at Thrivent and volunteers with the Playground Movement in Beaver Dam and the Second Harvest Food Pantry.
Hassey Nevarez said that, in his conversations with voters, the number one issue he hears about is the COVID-19 pandemic. Making contact with voters has itself taken a twist during the pandemic.
He said the situation is scary since Dodge County has reverted back to Phase 1 of its re-opening plan, which recommends limiting occupancy at indoor establishments and attendance at private indoor events, as cases continue to rise. Hassey Nevarez said that officials at all levels are sending mixed signals, and they need to instead work together and take responsibility for following health guidelines instead of shifting blame. He also said businesses are going to need additional financial support and individuals need to take their own steps to reduce spread of the virus, like wearing masks.
Hassey Nevarez said he will push to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin under the Affordable Care Act. The state has not accepted federal support under the law to cover additional people under Medicaid. Hassey Nevarez said the state needs those resources to cover more people, especially with the pandemic.
He also said the state should look to a new source of revenue: legalizing marijuana.
“Why aren’t we doing it?” he said. “We need the money.” He said people should not be going to jail for small-time marijuana charges.
On policing, Hassey Nevarez said Gov. Tony Evers’ nine-bill reform package is a good start. The bills, which the Republicans in the Legislature have not acted upon, includes changes like banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants and requiring annual training for de-escalation techniques.
He said there’s a lot more to be done, like diversifying police departments to reflect the communities they serve and being stricter about who can become a police officer. He said there needs to be stronger punishments for law enforcement officers who commit malpractice, like any civilian who commits a crime.
Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said he focuses on hiring the best deputies that he can an…
Hassey Nevarez said he supported raising the state gas tax in line with inflation to help pay for road repairs. He also supported implementing tolls, noting that people traveling in from surrounding states would then be helping to fund the roads they use.
The election for the 39th Assembly district will be on the ballot Nov. 3. Absentee ballots have already been mailed out and people are already voting.
The 39th district includes several municipalities across Dodge County, including Beaver Dam, Horicon, Mayville and Juneau.
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