Leah Vukmir said polling data used by her campaign has her team energized and ready for November.
Vukmir is challenging U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin for her seat in the Nov. 6 election and said a recent Marquette University poll that showed her trailing by 10 percentage points should not concern supporters.
“The Republican Party of Wisconsin has its own internal polling that has it and it’s the same polling that was used in 2016 that shows we were right in it,” Vukmir said Oct. 26 during a campaign stop at the The Voyageur Inn and Conference Center Ballroom in Reedsburg. “And we feel really good.”
About 40 residents from Sauk, Dane and Grant counties attended the afternoon rally. She also traveled to Wisconsin Dells where she spoke to a gathering of the League of Municipalities before continuing on to Mauston, Black River Falls and West Salem.
The Brookfield native serves in the Wisconsin Senate from District 5, a position she has held since 2011, and is the assistant senate majority leader. She previously served in the Assembly representing the 14th District. While traveling around Wisconsin, she said she’s heard people who want a “common-sense leader” who understands the struggles of middle-class families.
A registered nurse, Vukmir has held jobs in the nursing industry and now teaches nursing assistant students in Wauwatosa. She said she understands challenges many Americans face and the importance of having a balanced budget at the state and federal level.
Baldwin and Vukmir have clashed on numerous topics, but Vukmir specifically addressed the differences between the two candidates on healthcare, immigration, taxes and veterans.
Vukmir criticized Baldwin for supporting a “one-size-fits-all government approach to healthcare” by supporting a Medicare for all proposal. She said such a program would dismantle several types of insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, and cause longer waiting periods for patient care. Vukmir said she supports a patient-centered and free-market approach to healthcare and a consumer-driven approach to healthcare that “brings the power back to the states.”
On immigration Vukmir, the daughter of Greek immigrants, said she watched her aunts and uncles learn English and follow a legal path toward naturalization. She said those who seek asylum in the country must follow the laws. She compared her position to Baldwin, who she said believes in open borders and sanctuary cities.
“It is to me a privilege to be an American and you have to go through the responsibility of becoming an American,” Vukmir said. “That means you need to take that seriously and not just skip over the lines.”
Vukmir also criticized Baldwin for voting to raise taxes and not addressing a report detailing the overprescription of opioid drugs at the Tomah VA Medical Center, which lead to the death of a patient at the hospital. Vukmir said she would stand behind veterans and “have their back” if elected to the U.S. Senate.
Baraboo resident Bob Wood said he attended the rally to learn more about Vukmir. He had done research on her before the rally and believed her experience as a nurse and in the state Legislature made her a good choice for the position because of the tough decisions required in those fields.
“I would hope she could apply those skills of decision making to represent us in Washington,” Wood said before her speech.
After her speech, he said he is more likely to vote for Vukmir.
“All of these issues I like her viewpoints,” Wood said.
Current 50th District Assembly Rep. Ed Brooks, who will be retiring at the end of his term, was present as a supporter of Vukmir. Brooks has known Vukmir during her time in the Legislature and said he believes she is a good choice for U.S. Senate.
“I think she would listen to us,” Brooks said. “For that reason I would totally support her.”