Democratic Dem lieutenant governor candidates Rep. Sara Rodriguez and Hmong Institute CEO Peng Her participated in a July 20, 2022, debate at UW-Milwaukee. Photo by Elora Hennessey, UWM Photo Services.

Dems running for lieutenant governor today debated topics from elections to the economy, focusing their ire on Republicans rather than each other.

Rep. Sara Rodriguez, of Brookfield, and Hmong Institute CEO Peng Her are vying for Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes’ post as he pursues a bid for U.S. Senate. Neither candidate directly attacked the other during today’s Spectrum News 1 debate co-sponsored by WisPolitics.com.

Both candidates slammed Republicans for casting doubt on the legitimacy of elections. Her said Republicans have tried to drive a wedge between the parties by doubting election results.

“Let’s call that out for what it is because our elections were not stolen and they are safe, secure, and they will always be and have always been,” Her said.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez slammed Republicans for former Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman’s 2020 election investigation.

“The Republicans are supporting a disgraced former justice who is peddling lies and conspiracy theories and suggesting unconstitutional interventions that even Robin Vos knows are unconstitutional, yet he continues to support this ridiculous investigation and waste taxpayer dollars,” Rodriguez said.

When asked whether the state should suspend the gas tax until prices go down and delay roadwork to compensate for the loss of revenue, Rodriguez said nothing should be off the table.

She slammed Republicans for stripping down Gov. Tony Evers’ budget, which she said made it impossible to both invest in infrastructure and return money to taxpayers.

“I know that the increase in prices, our people are struggling with that, but with the lowest unemployment rate we’ve ever had in Wisconsin, I know that Wisconsinites are going to bounce back from that,” Rodriguez said.

Her agreed that all options should be considered given the state of the economy.

He added Evers did a good job with his most recent budget to help repair roads and expand broadband.

“We really need to look also at how do we strengthen our economy so that it’s a healthy and equitable economy so that everyone can succeed,” Her said.

Candidates were also asked if hosting the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee would be a good thing for the state.

Rodriguez said she is happy Wisconsin Republicans “despite their rhetoric, are now acknowledging that Milwaukee is a world-class city.”

But she expressed some skepticism about the event.

“I do get a little worried when you hear stories from other cities. I just hope the Republicans will pay their bills at the end of the day,” Rodriguez said.

Her applauded the convention potentially coming to the state, saying it is “a great thing for Wisconsin” that will boost revenue.

“It’s an opportunity for us to shine as a state and as a city to show what we’re about,” Her said.

When asked if he wanted President Biden to run for reelection, Her said yes.

“I want Joe Biden, he’s been a great president,” Her said.

In response to the same question, Rodriguez said that decision is up to primary voters. She added that Biden has done “a fantastic job” as president.

“As we move forward, we’re going to see what happens,” Rodriguez said.

Watch the debate here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email