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Bewley, Deutsch run for Jauch’s 25th Senate District seat in Wisconsin

Starting next year, for the first time in nearly three decades, Poplar Democrat Bob Jauch won't represent Wisconsin's 25th Senate District. Two candidates are vying to fill the seat soon to be vacated by the longtime senator -- Democrat Janet Bew...

Starting next year, for the first time in nearly three decades, Poplar Democrat Bob Jauch won’t represent Wisconsin’s 25th Senate District.
Two candidates are vying to fill the seat soon to be vacated by the longtime senator - Democrat Janet Bewley and Republican Dane Deutsch.
Bewley, a former Ashland city councilor, has spent nearly four years representing the 74th District in the state Assembly. Deutsch, who challenged Jauch for the seat four years ago, owns three small businesses in Rice Lake and is a veteran U.S. Air Force commander.
Bewley said her goal is to build on the relationships she’s made in the Capitol to make sure that Northwestern Wisconsin doesn’t get left behind.
“You have to build those relationships slowly, and they have to be based on trust,” Bewley said. “You have to be honest; you have to be willing to work your tail off.”
Deutsch said if the Legislature is constantly divisive and partisan, it isn’t going to get as much done for the people as it could.
“I’m all about teamwork,” he said. “I spent my time in the military, and it’s all about team. … That takes a lot of work. You have to build relationships, and you have to cross those boundaries.”
Mining and jobs

Mining - and the proposed Gogebic Taconite mine in particular - has been a divisive issue in the district. Deutsch said that until the mine’s application - along with the scientific data sampling it provides - is filed, recent legislation passed by the state to support the project doesn’t mean the mine will come to fruition. Several agencies, including the
Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, have oversight before it’s approved.
“If any one of them says ‘cease and desist’ once a permit is actually issued, it’s going to stop,” Deutsch said. He said those agencies are there to help Wisconsin be a good environmental steward.
“They don’t want to harm the air, water or the land,” Deutsch said. “We need to be responsible, but we can be environmentally responsible and still use our resources to prosper in the Northland.”
Bewley said the area should be open to any industry that is going to bring good outcomes for the region - family-
supporting jobs that are going to be there for the long haul, that also protect the way of life that is important to the people.
“I don’t think anybody wants to see our environment damaged, but I do think there are some people who are willing to risk it,” Bewley said. “I want to make sure there is no risk involved. I don’t want people to have to strike that bargain.”
Bewley said she doesn’t believe it’s necessary to choose between a job and a clean environment; however, she said, the state’s mining laws were changed in a way that good outcomes can’t be assured.
School vouchers

Bewley said she anticipates this election cycle will give a good indication on how people feel about school vouchers, and the challenge they pose for public schools - and rural schools in particular.
“Rural schools are so challenged by complicated funding formulas, by varying property values, so there is a different amount of property value behind every student and so much public land up here,” Bewley said. They are issues the rest of the state doesn’t face, she said, and the reduction in funding to pay for private schools in other parts of the state becomes a bitter pill to swallow.
“It feels unfair because it is unfair,” Bewley said. “I am not in favor of voucher schools. We should probably keep the schools that are functioning well under this program in Milwaukee and Racine because I don’t want to punish anybody, but I do not want to see it expanded.”
Deutsch said vouchers are about choice in education.
“First of all, I’m a teacher, and that’s a big differentiator from a lot of candidates,” Deutsch said. “I don’t think the Republicans are trying to solve any school problem - their goal is to allow parents to have a choice for their children’s education. It’s not about schools. It’s about educating our children.”
After all, he said, school choice gives parents
options when their child isn’t flourishing in the public school system, which doesn’t equate to failing schools, he said.
“There can be a collaborative partnership … they’re going to empower communities,” Deutsch said. It allows parents to stay responsible for their child’s education, he said.

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