‘UpFront’: Roth urges Senate to pass Kimberly-Clark incentives

Senate President Roger Roth said the Senate needs to act fast on a $100 million incentive package to help keep Kimberly-Clark in the Fox Valley, and Democrats should “do what’s right” and vote for the package.

“I feel that the Senate needs to act quickly,” Roth, R-Appleton, said Sunday on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Kimberly-Clark has said it wants to see action on the package by Sept. 30, but Roth said he is working with the company is see if there is any flexibility “in the case that we can’t secure enough Democrat votes” by the end of the month.

The votes of Democrats will be necessary to pass the package, because two Republican senators, Chris Kapenga of Delafield and Steve Nass of Whitewater, have said they oppose the deal. Republicans have an 18-15 majority in the Senate.

Roth said big tax incentive packages historically have passed with bipartisan support. He cited the incentive plans for Mercury Marine, Foxconn and the Milwaukee Bucks arena as examples.

He said hundreds of jobs are on the line.

“I don’t think it’s too much to ask that in a scenario like this, where we’re trying to save 500 good family-supporting union jobs, that again Democrats and Republicans come together,” Roth said.

“I’m just pleading with Democrats to do what’s right here,” Roth said.

He said there is “significant” support within his Republican caucus for the package.

Roth also said the “political environment,” with an election looming on Nov. 6, is complicating the situation. He said he hasn’t yet seen anything from Democrats that shows they are willing to work with Republicans on the K-C deal.

“The simple fact is that it’s not going to pass if Democrats don’t come to the table,” Roth said. “In any other circumstance, this would have been a done deal.”

In another segment, Dem congressional candidate Dan Kohl of Mequon, running for the 6th District seat, said term limits for members of Congress would help “eliminate a lot of the dysfunction and make Washington work better.”

“I think eight years is enough to go to Washington and make a difference for people and then come home,” Kohl said.

Kohl, who is challenging GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman, also said he would not support California Rep. Nancy Pelosi as leader of House Dems.

“Everywhere I go, people are looking for new leadership, leadership that is focused on solving problems,” Kohl said.

“They’re looking for leaders who want to work to get things done, who aren’t just rubber stamps for their party,” he said.

Also on the program, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Washington Bureau Chief Craig Gilbert discussed Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s struggle this year with independent voters, a group Gilbert said Walker has carried handily in past elections.

Gilbert said current polling has shown Walker down some 10 points with independent voters. He also said polling shows some “soft partisans” defecting from Republicans.

“In a state like Wisconsin, where there’s equal numbers of Republican and Democratic voters, and those hardcore Democrats and Republicans are all voting for their own party, it’s the more independent voters who decide elections,” Gilbert said.

“He’s got some real challenges,” Gilbert said of Walker.

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

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