Rep. John Nygren and his 89th AD GOP primary opponent Andi Rich don’t agree on much.
Nygren, R-Marinette, insists that’s because the challenger is really a Dem.
Rich, an insurance adjuster, says she supports Gov. Tony Evers’ call to overhaul police policies to make deadly force a last resort, backs redirecting local funds for police to things like mental health services and would accept federal money to expand Medicaid.
“I’m running as a Republican, and I keep hearing that the Republicans have a medical plan, but I have yet to see it,” Rich said in an interview. “I don’t know if my position on this would change if there was some sort of actual, comprehensive medical coverage plan that would help the state that this would no longer be necessary.”
Nygren, meanwhile, said he’d support a discussion about statewide standards for police procedures, but would want to make sure the state isn’t taking needed tools away from law enforcement. He supports funding to address substance abuse and mental health, but won’t back diverting funding from the police to boost that aid.
And the Joint Finance co-chair remains opposed to accepting federal money to expand Medicare, arguing the move would put more people on government assistance, which doesn’t reimburse the full costs of services provided. That, he argues, would offset any savings to the state by increasing costs to those on private insurance by driving up their rates to offset healthcare providers not being fully reimbursed for serving those on Medicaid.
The main reason Rich, an insurance adjuster, says she decided to challenge Nygren is over his position on cleaning up PFAS, which have contaminated local waters.
She charges Nygren “adamantly refused” to do what was needed to address the issue.
Two bills cleared committee earlier this year to take additional steps to address PFAS contamination. But the Assembly approved a more modest proposal as an amendment to a different bill.
“We have a contamination crisis here in my community, and we went to our current representative for help and not only did he not help us, he actively fought against us,” she said.
Nygren countered he has been a leader on the issue, first working with the Walker administration and the DNR on the issue and then educating his colleagues in the Legislature about the seriousness of the issue.
“When you’ve got something like that, it’s difficult to start from the 1-yard-line and get it all the way to the end zone,” Nygren said.
Listen to the Nygren interview:
Listen to the Rich interview: