Three Republican candidates running in the Fond du Lac-area 41st Assembly District showed some variance in their thoughts on how to treat Wisconsinites’ mental health.
Alex Dallman, 28, currently works as outreach representative for U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah. Luke Dretske, 21 and a junior at Ripon College, is the president of his school’s chapter of College Republicans. Chuck Harsh, 59, is an educator who recently returned to teaching with Cooperative Educational Service Agency 5 after serving nine years as a principal at Montello Junior Senior High School.
Republican candidate Gary Will did not respond to three interview requests from WisPolitics.com.
All the Republican candidates running to replace current state Rep. Joan Ballweg, who is running for the state Senate in the 14th SD, were skeptical about Gov. Tony Evers’ proposed changes to police policies in Wisconsin. All said they wouldn’t support redirecting local dollars from law enforcement to other programs.
Harsh emphasized his disagreement with the call to “defund the police,” saying he doesn’t want to “live in a state of anarchy.”
However, Harsh and Dretske did express support for the idea of expanding mental health resources in the state.
“Mental health is a huge issue in this district, especially over in Adams County,” Dretske said. “I think it’s been overlooked for too long. But in terms of taking funding away from police toward this area, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that.”
Dallman said he thought mental health issues were partly the result of not having good jobs.
“If we can get people with a great job and the ability to start their lives and raise a family early on in their lives, I believe that’ll solve a lot of mental health problems we have in our society,” Dallman said.
They largely agreed on their support of law enforcement, the Second Amendment, and the importance of clean water. Dallman thought that the state did have some responsibility to help its largest city replace its lead service lines.
“I don’t believe that people who live in rural areas such as the 41st district should completely fund everything that’s going on in Milwaukee, but then again, we’re the same state,” Dallman said. “In a situation as serious as this, we should work together as a team.”
Democratic nominee Nate Zimdars, 27, currently serves on the Ripon Area School Board, but works full-time in the shredded cheese department at Saputo Cheese. He called Evers’ proposals on police common sense and said the state should consider covering the costs of replacing lead service lines.
Listen to the interviews: