8 Republicans and 2 Democrats face off in tight race for lieutenant governor
The office of lieutenant governor of Wisconsin has few official duties, but in this election cycle, it is among the most contested races.
Eight Republicans and two Democrats are running for lieutenant governor. The primary role of the elected candidate will be to be available to take over in the event of the death, resignation or removal of the governor.
Former lieutenant governors have used the position as a political springboard: former lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch is running for governor and current lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes is running for the U.S. Senate.
During the Republican debate last week, David King, pastor and founder of Wisconsin God Squad, said he was running because the state needed leaders who would make “tough decisions for the people.”
“For too long we have forgotten about the average person,” he said. “So I’m in this race to make sure we won’t be forgotten again.”
King said he wanted to close loopholes in the abortion ban to ensure the state holds doctors accountable and doesn’t want to use state resources to support mothers. He also wants to bring more police to the streets by repairing the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
“Right now it’s been destroyed because of the media,” he said. “And you’re never going to get anyone from the community wanting to be a police officer until that relationship is worked out.”
Will Martin, CEO of Wisconsin Diversified Investments, served in state government in several capacities under former Republican Governors Scott Walker and Tommy Thompson. He said he decided to run because Wisconsin was “on the wrong track.”
“I believe I am ready to serve with the next Republican Governor to reduce the size, costs, taxes and regulation of state government, to end the taxation of retirement income and to crack down on the crime,” he said during the debate.
Martin said he supports the current abortion ban and will push to expand the WIC, the Women, Infants and Children’s Program, which helps families get adequate food and connects them. with health and community services. One of his top priorities is to reduce “the overall tax burden that affects Wisconsin families and businesses.”
Current state senator Roger Roth, who represents the 19th district and is a military officer in the Wisconsin Air National Guard, said he was running because “Wisconsin can’t afford four more years of Tony Evers. “.
“People are frustrated,” he said during the debate. “I see it all over the state. And I look forward to helping our next governor on education reform and on tax reform to move our state forward.”
Roth supports Wisconsin’s abortion ban and said he wants the state to fund pregnancy centers in times of crisis. If elected, he said he would work to eliminate state income tax and push for universal school choice, which would allow the money to go to school. state to be paid to private schools and homeschooling families.
Current State Senator Patrick Testin, who has served the 24th District since 2016, said he is running to “enact a new era of conservative reforms that will propel the state forward.”
“We can talk about tax reform, education reform, a whole host of things we can do,” he said during the debate. “But none of that happens unless we have a Republican governor, and I was in that race to help whoever is at the top of the ticket to make sure we get Tony Evers out in November.”
Testin said he supports the current abortion ban and wants the state to invest in pregnancy centers in times of crisis. One of its main priorities is to attract workers to the state.
“It’s so critical with our aging demographics that we’re doing more to build our future workforce,” he said.
David Varnam, a former alderman and former mayor of Lancaster, said he was in the running because he had the experience to lead the state at a time when the stakes were high.
“We are at a pivotal moment, I believe,” he said. “Inflation is high. Gas prices are high. People are looking for help from their government, and I think we need everyone on deck.”
As part of his faith, Varnam said he is staunchly pro-life and wants to streamline the state’s adoption process. In office, he said he would work to implement universal school choice and lower taxes.
“We need to be bold to lower our taxes on our businesses, our families and our individuals,” he said. “Because we have to be competitive in the Midwest.”
Werner is a state ambassador for the conservative public policy organization, the Frederick Douglass Foundation. She said she was in the race to steer the state away from the division.
“I’ve seen statues being torn down, and our… current lieutenant governor had the opportunity to speak out and talk about the issues that divide us,” she said. “He didn’t do anything. I’m in this race to have these critical conversations to help whoever the governor is to move Wisconsin forward.”
Werner said she is “pro-life without exception,” supports criminal prosecutions of people who reject unimplanted embryos from in vitro fertilization, and believes the state should make adoption easier.
A top priority, she said, would be to push for universal school choice and expand opportunities for students interested in careers that don’t require a college education. It would also work to get rid of the current electoral machinery and eliminate voter registration on election day.
Jonathan Wichmann, a small business owner, said he was in the race because the executive branch “needs a lot of help.”
“We need a lieutenant governor who will complement the governor, to pay attention to blind spots and to set the overall vision for Wisconsin, especially when it comes to our economy and our jobs,” he said. “As a small business owner, I believe I have that skill set.”
Wichmann said he’s pro-life, but isn’t sure how the state should support parents who need help caring for a child.
Wichmann said he supports certifying Joe Biden’s presidency, but “we need to focus on the election laws that were broken. The people who broke them need to be held accountable. I only support the ballots paper, and we need to get the results on the same night.”
Kyle Yudes, an Eau Claire insurance agent, said he was running to protect the freedom of Wisconsin residents.
“In March 2020, our freedom was stolen from us. And no one stood up for us,” he said during the debate. “I’m running to hold those responsible for the past two and a half years to account. And with the Governor’s help, we will.”
Yudes said he is pro-life and supports criminal charges against those who reject non-implanted IVF embryos. He said he would use the office to cut taxes, invest more in rural areas and shrink government.
“We can cut a lot of buildings…that we don’t need, where we can save a lot of money and take that tax burden off,” he said.
During the Democratic debate in mid-July, Peng Her, founder of the Hmong Institute who served on Governor Tony Evers’ transition team in 2018, said the governor needed a partner with experience. leadership that “will listen to people”.
“I am running for lieutenant governor to uphold our shared values,” he said. “To protect our reproductive rights, to end gun violence, to improve access to health care, to work on an economy that works for everyone.”
She said he supports raising income taxes for the top 1%, expanding broadband access and increasing funding for schools. One of his top priorities, he said, is child care.
“We need to invest in our childcare system, make sure it’s affordable and of high quality so people can get back to work,” Her said.
As a father of two daughters, Her also said he is pro-choice and will fight for “a woman’s right to choose”.
Rodriguez is a member of the State Assembly representing Waukesha County and the western suburbs of Milwaukee, a district she flipped in the last election cycle. His re-election chances dwindled under new Republican-drawn district lines.
During a debate last week, she said she was running to be the voice of the people of Wisconsin in a high-stakes political era.
“There are so many things at stake today,” she said. “Whether it’s a woman’s right to choose, environmental issues…fully funding our public schools,” she said.
As a former nurse and healthcare executive, she said she was ready to “fight like hell” to restore access to abortion.
Among his top priorities are expanding child care across the state, supporting small businesses and preventing a major victory for Republicans this election cycle.
“I have over 60 endorsements statewide,” she said. “The lieutenant governor is going to need a wide network to make sure we can lift other candidates so they don’t get a supermajority in our gerrymandered state.”