State Representative Dana Wachs is running for Wisconsin Governor.

Wisconsin Democratic voters will have several candidates to choose from in the gubernatorial primary Aug. 14. The candidate who wins the primary will go on to face off against Governor Scott Walker in the 2018 midterms Nov. 6.

Dana Wachs, 91st District State Representative, is hoping to be that candidate. Wachs feels his message will resonate with voters in the northern and western regions of the state where other candidates may fall short.

Wachs worked as a trial attorney in Eau Claire for much of his career. He said he would be a governor who “stands up for regular folks.”

Walker’s decisions as governor drew criticism from Wachs, who said Wisconsin is “in a race to the bottom on wages.”

Wach’s gubernatorial platform includes supporting a $15 minimum wage, reinstating collective bargaining, incentivizing new businesses to come to Wisconsin, making the state a leader in clean energy, accepting medicaid expansion and banning assault weapons.

On healthcare, Wachs feels Wisconsin needs to make progress. “We need healthcare for all in this state,” Wachs said.

Being located in Eau Claire, Wachs said it has been easy for him to see the contrast between Wisconsin and Minnesota, especially in education. Saying “you can see where our teachers are fleeing,” on how the states’ educational policies have met different results in attracting teachers.

Wachs said forgoing a high speed rail system between Madison and Chicago was a mistake. “Think where we’d be,” Wachs said.

Governor Walker’s Foxconn deal has drawn critics across the Democratic field. Wachs described the deal as “a hail mary pass attempt” on Walker’s part to boost the perception of job creation. “It’s the wrong direction to take the state,” Wachs said, describing Foxconn as “the gift that keeps on taking.”

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Wachs feels too much of Wisconsin’s politics involves “fighting with” the urban areas of the state, like Milwaukee. As governor, he said he would bring an end to that and pursue a relationship similar to that of the Minnesota state government with Minneapolis and St. Paul.

But Wachs also wants to emphasize the importance of rural Wisconsin. “I come from a part of the state that has been ignored by our legislature,” Wachs said. “We are fighting for Wisconsin’s future.”

Wachs criticized Walker for holding too many invitation-only events, where the general public is not allowed to attend or participate.

If elected governor, Wachs pledged to hold regular listening sessions where the public would be able to ask him questions.

On gun control, Wachs is open about his opposition to assault weapons. “You do not need assault weapons to hunt deer,” Wachs said. He also said he would like to close the “gun show loophole.”

Wachs emphasized the importance of quality public education as a key factor in Wisconsin’s success.

“Wisconsin has been a petri dish, functionally, for right wing projects,” Wachs said.

The Democratic gubernatorial primary is scheduled for Aug. 14.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl

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