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Vinehout and Pittman compete for Senate

October 17, 2014

The Wisconsin 31st District Senate election is well underway; which candidate do you support to be your voice in local and state government?

The Democrat incumbent is Kathleen Vinehout. She was elected as State Senator in 2006 and again in 2010, from a mostly rural part of Wisconsin. Prior to getting into government, she has worked on a dairy farm and taught health administration to college students.

In the Senate, Vinehout has worked to make health care affordable and create health insurance exchanges for individuals, farmers and small businesses. She has been fighting hard to bring more equity to school funding, keep consumer protection provisions in telecommunication laws, and improve the efficiency of state government operations.

“[My number one priority if elected] has to be the schools,” said Vinehout at a forum in River Falls on Oct. 9, 2014.

She also said that the state isn’t paying its share of the money that the schools need, so most of the burden ends up on the shoulders of the property tax payers. Vinehout would like to change the ways that schools are funded. She states that education needs to come first.

Mel Pittman is the Republican candidate running for opposed to Vinehout. He has served as county board supervisor for 10 years and also runs a dairy farm. Pittman has also served on numerous other boards and committees as a way to be involved and help the public. He prides himself as a family man.

“My number one priority is to help get more people back to work,” said Pittman at the Oct. 9 forum in River Falls.

He said that unemployment numbers are down because people are still on government assistance. In order to get people back to work, Pittman wants to change the incentives. He said that right now it is not financially better for someone to go to work part-time and get off of government assistance; the benefit costs are way too high. Pittman said that it needs to be financially better for people to be working than be on government assistance.

“[The voter ID law] was intentionally made extremely restrictive,” Vinehout said. “We should be opening wide the doors of voting. We should not be closing them.”

Vinehout said that the state needs to use money to educate voters because they are very confused.

“It’s good sense to have voter ID in place,” Pittman said.

He said that he thinks it is important that we have as honest an election as possible. Pittman said that it might restrict some people, but it is the voters’ responsibility to be prepared.

Pittman supports drug testing for those on government assisted programs such as unemployment and food stamps. He said that people that need the help from the programs need to be using the resources to better themselves.

Vinehout has said that the discussion about drug testing for government assisted programs is pure election year politics. She said that the money that will be spent drug testing these individuals will outweigh the savings in taking drug users off the program.

Both of these candidates are very supportive of small businesses.

For more information on both candidates, visit their websites: kathleenvinehout.org and melpittman.com.