Democrat Ann Groves Lloyd says her second attempt to win the District 42 Assembly seat won’t look much like her first, which was four months ago.
Her campaign, she said, isn’t paying for any TV ads.
“Too expensive. I am running a very grass-roots campaign,” Groves Lloyd said last week, when she and her opponent, Rep. Jon Plumer, R-Lodi, met at Lodi High School in their only joint appearance of the campaign.
The campaign is a rematch of the special election in June, which Plumer won by a 53-45 percent margin.
Several things have changed since the first campaign, said Groves Lloyd, who will turn 57 this week.
For one thing, she’s retired, as of June 30, from her job as an academic adviser at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
That gives her time, she said, to campaign in the way that she thinks is most effective – by knocking on doors, and meeting District 42 voters face to face at community events and festivals.
As she travels through the mostly rural district, Groves Lloyd said she gets a firsthand look at an issue that voters often bring up – the condition of roads.
“Driving on Highway 60 toward the interstate is like playing dodgeball,” she said. “Can you get around a pothole without hurtling into oncoming traffic?”
Yet, she’s hesitant to suggest a particular source of revenue to pay for road repairs and replacements.
A gas tax won’t raise revenue, she said, if people switch to driving electric cars that don’t burn gasoline.
And, when a Lodi forum attendee suggested that farmers who drive large machinery should be assessed extra for the wear and tear such implements cause for rural roads, Groves Lloyd said she thinks a new tax is the last thing struggling family farmers need.
“We have a lot,” she said, referring to revenue. “We just need to figure out a way to do the right things we need to do – things like infrastructure and health care.”
Health care is a right, not a privilege, Groves Lloyd said.
“And once profit becomes a factor, patient care is no longer a factor,” she said.
Groves Lloyd said she favors continuation of the Affordable Care Act, a federal law commonly known as Obamacare, to ensure not only the coverage of pre-existing health conditions, but also the requirement that health insurance cover things like wellness, preventive care, maternal health and mental health.
There is one health crisis that is rearing its head throughout the 42nd District, Groves Lloyd said, and that’s addiction to opioid drugs, including not only illegal drugs like heroin, but also legal prescribed painkillers.
However, she said, there’s “a fine line” between treating chronic pain and putting patients at risk for addiction by prescribing opioid painkillers.
That’s one reason why all people should have access to health insurance that covers alternative treatments for pain, such as massage therapy, she said.
As she campaigns, one of the issues Groves Lloyd said she hears about most – an issue that was barely raised at the Lodi forum – is public education.
Groves Lloyd said Wisconsin taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to support what she characterizes as a dual school system – private schools supported in part by vouchers paid for with money that she said should go entirely to public schools.
“I hear from parents about all sorts of fees they have to pay, and how much teachers have to spend on their own classrooms,” she said.