FIVE VIE TO REPLACE BLACK
Outgoing state Rep. Spencer Black was a driving force behind the so-called “Clean Energy Jobs Act.”
So it’s no surprise the Dems seeking to replace him in the district representing Madison’s west side and its near suburbs largely support the proposal.
The lone exception is former Middleton Mayor Doug Zwank, who argues any move toward green energy should be accomplished through incentives rather than state mandates.
“I think the state has a reputation of being anti-business,” Zwank, 62, said. “I think it’s legislation like that that creates that image.”
The other four Dems in the primary are: Dane County Supvs. Diane Hesselbein, 39, and Brett Hulsey, 51; Jon Imes, 49, executive director of the Wisconsin Environmental Initiative and owner of an environmental inn; and Fred Wade, an attorney.
Much of the attention in the race has focused on Hesselbein and Hulsey, along with Imes.
Hesselbein made her way to the county board after serving on Middleton-Cross Plains School Board and said she wants an overhaul of the state’s school funding formula.
“People in the 77th Assembly District really expect a proven progressive that is strong on education and a strong advocate of the university, our technical colleges and K-12 and equality, whether that would be immigration or women’s issue or economics and bringing jobs to Wisconsin,” she said.
Hulsey said he wants to take the CEJA “to the next level” with a “clean jobs, clean energy, clean air” plan. Still, his top environmental policy is cleaning up Dane County’s lakes. Doing that will require more manure digesters to clean up waste and create energy, clean up sewers that dump straight into lakes and restore 4,300 acres of wetlands, among other things.
“Cleaning up the lakes is my top environmental priority, and we need more state help to do that,” Hulsey said.
Imes said he was inspired to get into the race after a delegation trip to Germany that focused on the green economy. He said after seeing the potential of things like “big wind,” he came home to see the CEJA die because of “politics as usual.”
“When you don’t move the ball forward, it just sends a signal that the state’s not ready for prime time,” Imes said.
Zwank calls himself the fiscal conservative in the field and advocates a constitutional amendment to return the state Legislature to a part-time status and implement term limits. He complains the state pays lawmakers a full salary for part-time work and that legislators seem primarily focused on raising money for their re-election as soon as they get into office.
Wade said he's concerned about the governor’s expansive partial veto power.
“That’s a violation of the very idea of democracy,” he said.
*Listen to the Hesselbein interview:
*Listen to the Hulsey interview:
*Listen to the Imes interview:
*Listen to the Wade interview:
*Listen to the Zwank interview: