Democratic candidates for Senate, Assembly appeal to conservation voters in Oneida County
Van Stippen, Michalsen speak at OCLRA meeting
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Two Democratic candidates hoping to unseat Republicans who represent Oneida County in Madison were on hand at Monday’s Oneida County Lakes and Rivers Association meeting asking for support of their respective campaigns.
Bryan Van Stippen, a former Stevens Point City Council member who now lives in Deerbrook, took issue with votes cast by his Republican opponent in the 12th State Senate District, Tom Tiffany, who is seeking his second four-year Senate term after previously serving one two-year term in the Assembly.
“We need to figure out how we can actually get the legislation changed back down in Madison, so we can bring back local control,” said Van Stippen, who pointed out changes made to shoreland zoning laws as one of the examples of how local control has been taken away at the state level.
“Virtually every environmental group, every conservation group in the state is not a big fan of Sen. Tiffany with his plastered ‘F’ on his wall that he has hanging on his office from the League of Conservation Voters…,” Van Stippen said. “An individual that based his small business on tourism, on our state’s natural resources, and now he’s decimating it for everybody else or anybody else to use.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to me for him to say, ‘I’m wearing that ‘F,’ a failing grade from the League of Conservation Voters, as a badge of honor.’ My job is to make sure that he’s wearing that badge, and that people know that he’s wearing that badge.”
Van Stippen, the lone Democratic 12th Senate District candidate who will appear on the Aug. 9 partisan primary ballot, also voiced his support for one of the two Democratic candidates running in the 34th Assembly District, Matt Michalsen, a Lakeland Union High School social studies teacher who is also a Lake Tomahawk town supervisor and appeared at the meeting.
Michalsen – who faces a primary challenge from Lawrence Dale of Eagle River, an insurance salesman who ran unsuccessfully two years ago in the 7th Congressional District race as a Green Party candidate – hopes to advance to the Nov. 8 general election to face the two-term Republican incumbent, Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander.
Michalsen said voting Swearingen and Tiffany out of office will be difficult in districts where the majorities are Republicans.
“It’s going to be so difficult to unseat the establishment of Tom Tiffany and his puppet, Rob Swearingen,” Michalsen said. “But if we are doing what we have been doing, and getting out door-to-door and going to these meetings and continuing to learn and to listen, I’m starting to believe that we can do it. And I know I will win on Aug. 9, I will win the primary, but we need to win on Nov. 8 as well.”
Michalsen said Swearingen and Tiffany have supported “a quick hit or fix economic-style boom, which will not work.”
“It will p*** more people off – and as I continue to grow in this race and continue to learn – yes, we have private property rights, but this is all of our property,” Michalsen said. “What one individual does with their private property, affects drastically the next (property), and then if it’s detrimental to the groundwater and the quality of the water, then it’s detrimental to the values of the property, which in a such a rich property tax area that will then cause a domino effect to our schools as well to where we depend on the property taxes. So, I think it starts with local control and all of your efforts.”
When contacted for comment following the meeting, Swearingen said he is looking forward to defending his four-year record in office and discussing issues of concern with people across the 34th Assembly District, after the primary has concluded and an opponent has been named.