Representative Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) is running for re-election in Wisconsin Assembly District 99 in November. He’s also running for the Republican nomination for State Senate Dstrict 33 in the September primaries. Under Wisconsin state law, Kapenga can legally run for both seats at the same time. The question I have for voters in AD 99 is, do you want to elect someone whose focus seems to be on the advancement of his political career, or do you want a representative who really wants the job?
If voters in Assembly District 99 want a representative who is looking out for their best interests and not his own, they might want to consider electing Tom Hibbard (D). Hibbard is only running to represent the people of the District 99 because, well, he only wants to represent the people of District 99.
Tom Hibbard is not a political newcomer. In fact, he ran for the AD 99 seat once before; he ran against Don Pridemore in 2010. Due to redistricting, Pridemore is no longer in the district.
But the political landscape in 2010 was different than it is now. As Hibbard told me, “We have our problems because of the strong current of Republican ideologies that have caught on in recent elections.”
Like the belief that “right-to-work” laws are good for Wisconsin workers.
According to workers’ rights advocates, “right-to-work laws” have been used to bust unions and lower wages for employees, often resulting in unsafe working conditions, which is why these laws are often referred to as “the right-to-work-for-less laws.”
Just recently Representative Chris Kapenga told attendees at a Delafield Town Hall, “We have right-to-work legislation in (three) different offices ready to go. If we had done it earlier, when we wanted, then Prosser would not have been elected. Right now is not the right time. We have to wait until it is politically feasible.”
As a Democrat, Hibbard is pro-collective bargaining and pro-workers’ rights. Like others, he drove through snow storms to take part in the protests at the Capitol after the Walker administration forced through union-busting bills.
Hibbard understands the importance of jobs that pay a living wage, and sees that as the biggest issue facing AD 99. “First of all , we need jobs, and we need them in the district rather than just in Milwaukee for us to commute to them. We need to concentrate on the district itself. It’s important that we don’t forget that we are an area to ourselves and not merely or not at all a suburb of Milwaukee. “
He’s also focused on environmental issues, and his campaign has earned the support of the Sierra Club. “We have a state forest in our district, county parks, many lakes. I definitely want to bring these characteristics out and point us away from thinking that urban sprawl is the direction we have to take. I want to preserve our farms, our natural resources and natural beauty and our small towns… “ said Hibbard. “It’s a matter of becoming more conscious of land use.”
Hibbard’s campaign is off to a slow start, and he knows he faces an uphill battle against the extremely well-funded Chris Kapenga, but he remains optimistic about the future of Wisconsin progressives.
“I thought we did well in the recall elections to regain a majority in the state Senate. I’m hopeful that out of what we are doing a new generation of Democratic candidates will emerge on the level of Gaylord Nelson, Pat Lucey, Ruth Doyle and William Proxmire,” he said.
“I want to contribute to the going forward with a new generation of Democrats and Progressives.”