US Representative Ron Kind stopped in at Log Cabin Deli & Cheese in Mauston Oct. 16.
Kind met with 50th Assembly District Candidate Art Shrader, Mauston Mayor Brian McGuire and other local officials. Kind also stopped in Elroy to visit areas damaged by the recent flooding.
Kind represents Wisconsin’s third congressional district in the western part of the state, including the southern half of Juneau County.
“We have a crisis in our democracy. It’s really bitter right now. It’s way too polarized it’s way too partisan,” Kind said.
Legislatively, Kind said he is focused on ensuring the US economy is working for rural areas.
“There are areas that are being left behind economically with the growth that we’ve had as a nation,” Kind said. “I’m trying to think outside the box here on what spark we need so no community is being left behind, especially in rural Wisconsin.”
He pointed to opportunity zone legislation designed to help support businesses and infrastructure in rural areas as a positive sign.
Mauston Mayor Brian McGuire said, like Kind, he was in attendance officially in support of the Democratic candidates.
“I’ve been supporting Art,” McGuire said. “He seems to have a good plan… and I’m supporting Democrats in general because I’m looking for balance in our government.”
McGuire said Shrader’s background as a community banker was beneficial to the responsibilities of a representative.
Kind also feels balance is necessary for a functional government, and by being too partisan, elected officials “have a whole wealth of intellect on the other side that (they’re) not tapping into.”
Kind suggested drawing congressional districts to be more competitive. He feels competitive districts produce more moderate candidates.
“Politicians shouldn’t be choosing their voters, it’s the other way around,” Kind said. “And yet, because of gerrymandering and the way the system is rigged, there are overwhelmingly Republican and Democratic districts and so there is no incentive to compromise or cooperate with each other.”
He supports having the state delegate the task of drawing districts to a nonpartisan commission, as Iowa does.
McGuire also voiced support for more competitive districts.
Kind said he feels both Art Shrader and State Senate District 17 Candidate Kriss Marion are “great candidates,” who will be “very responsive to the needs of people back home.”
Shrader’s Republican opponent, Tony Kurtz, also ran against Kind in 2014.
Kind also voiced support for Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Tony Evers and his platform of increased funding for education and infrastructure.
“We’ve got to start building Wisconsin again,” Kind said. “Instead of all this bonding and moving $4.5 billion to one Taiwanese company (for a Foxconn factory) in southeastern Wisconsin. There’s the rest of the state that also needs help and assistance, and they’re not getting that right now under the current administration.”
As a US Representative, Kind feels having regular contact with constituents is vital.
“I’ve found the best ideas, the most common sense ideas, are from folks right back home here in Wisconsin that I can take back with me to Washington,” Kind said. “And yet, I see so many of my colleagues in congress not having any listening sessions, not taking time to even listen to people on the other side of the aisle… they have a voice that needs to be heard and considered as well.”
Voters in Juneau County and throughout Wisconsin will make their voices heard for the candidates of their choice Nov. 6
“The largest message that can be sent is on election day,” Kind said. “But even afterwards, it’s important for citizens to remain engaged.”