‘UpFront’: Fitzgerald optimistic Senate will pass Kimberly-Clark incentives

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said he is optimistic the Senate will pass a $100 million tax incentive package to help consumer products maker Kimberly-Clark keep a plant open and retain around 500 jobs in the Fox Valley.

In an interview that aired Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” Fitzgerald said the Senate will take up the package after the Nov. 6 election because of the “tough environment” right now.

“That environment isn’t necessarily conducive to trying to bring together people from both sides of the aisle to try and pass a piece of legislation,” he said on the show, which is produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.

He said Kimberly-Clark executives, who had wanted action on the package by Sept. 30, understand the difficulty of passing legislation in the weeks ahead of an election.

“Everybody’s I think being reasonable. And as a result of that I think we’re in a good spot,” he said.

Three Republican senators have come out against the plan. Fitzgerald said he was hopeful some Democrats would vote for the package.

Fitzgerald also said Republicans would “absolutely come back in the majority” in the Senate after the election.

Republicans currently control the Senate 18-15. Fitzgerald said he thinks “we’ve got a shot at coming back with 19 seats.”

He expressed optimism Republicans would win back the 1st Senate District, which they lost in a special election in June. He also said Republicans are well positioned in open seats in the Eau Claire and Brookfield areas.

He predicted voter turnout would be “through the roof,” and said the fight over Senate confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court has increased Republican voter intensity.

In another segment, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said the national party has made “unprecedented mid-term investments in Wisconsin” and he’s optimistic about Democrats’ chances here in the November election.

“Democrats are winning everywhere in Wisconsin,” Perez said. “We’re winning everywhere, because we’re organizing everywhere.”

Perez cited the election of Justice Rebecca Dallet to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and Democratic victories in two Senate special elections as examples of how Democrats’ organizing efforts have paid off.

“We’ve never invested earlier in a coordinated campaign than we’ve done in Wisconsin this year, and that’s so we can have the organizing footprint out there early, and talk to voters everywhere, and fight for what they’re fighting for,” Perez said.

Perez called Tony Evers, the Democratic nominee for governor, a “quintessential workhorse” and predicted the governor’s race would be close.

In another segment, Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District Randy Bryce said it was a “low blow” from Republicans to run a TV ad featuring his brother supporting his opponent.

“I’ve known for many years that he’s a Republican,” Bryce said of his brother James, who is a police officer.

“We’ve always gotten along. We just haven’t talked politics. Personally, it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t bother me that he is expressing his views just the way I am able to express mine. But my mom, it took my mom by complete surprise. It really was crushing to her,” Randy Bryce said.

Gousha asked Bryce if it would have been easier to run against GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, who opted to retire after 20 years in Congress.

“What we have to keep in mind is that although Paul Ryan, his name is not going to be on the ballot, his ideas will be,” Bryce said.

He said his Republican opponent, UW Regent and Janesville corporate attorney Bryan Steil, is “somebody that (Ryan) personally handpicked to take his spot to continue his policies.”

If elected, Bryce said he didn’t know if would support California U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi as speaker should Democrats win the majority.

“I don’t think that there’s any need to slam her, but I see us having a lot of fresh new voices,” Bryce said.

See more from the show:
https://www.wisn.com/upfront

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