Seven of nine Wisconsin Senate recall elections have occurred already, but two more are scheduled for Tuesday, August 16th. In the 12th Senate District, incumbent Democratic Senator Jim Holperin is facing Tea Party candidate Kim Simac.
Simac has repeatedly ducked public debates with Holperin, but she did participate with him in a moderated radio "forum" on WRJO. Listening to Simac, it's clear why she has avoided interviews and debates. She is strong on right-wing, fundamentalist Christian rhetoric, but she is completely clueless about actual legislation or the legislative process.
For example, on the simple question "How are you going to create jobs in Wisconsin?", Holperin says infrastructure. He talks about how the state can foster job creation by building and maintaining snowmobile, ATV, and biking trails to attract tourists. He mentions sensible fish and game policies to attract hunters and fishermen. He mentions a state "Main Street" program that has been helping small towns maintain their downtown business districts. Holperin says he has been very good at getting northern Wisconsin's fair share of these programs. Later he talks about a tax credit he got passed for equipment used to harvest or process woody biomass, a "one-day" fishing license provision, and a hunter mentor program.
Simac responds by stumbling through a canned, non-specific "lower taxes, reduce regulations" answer that could be heard from any Tea Party candidate anywhere in America. Then, in a bizarre follow-up, she seems to endorse the state paying for high speed internet in the North Woods region of Wisconsin, presumably because she wants high-speed internet. I happen to agree with her on that, but I wonder how she proposes to pay for it when she also wants to eliminate gas and sales taxes, and wants to reduce or eliminate business taxes.
But the true depth of her ignorance was revealed when she responded to a question asking her which specific bills in the current legislative session she would either endorse or oppose:
Simac: I'm sorry, would you repeat that?
Moderator: Sure. What specific legislation is moving through the Capitol right now that you look forward to - if elected - supporting or challenging?
Simac: Hmm, well, I think that . . . I guess I would have to say that with all of the things that I've been looking at, I think you just stumped me. All the things I've been looking at for all the last couple months here trying to get up on board as a new candidate, I've been trying to stay up with the issues, but I would have to say that I can't name you a single one right now.
It's an amateurish forum hosted by a radio group that used to air a program co-hosted by Simac and is generally hostile to Holperin. (The radio show archives have been deleted. I wonder why.)
The questioners consistently drop the ball when obvious follow-up questions are needed. At one point, they "remind" the candidates against personal attacks after Holperin quotes well-documented, anti-education statements that Simac has made. Despite the bias, Holperin crushes Simac. Let's hope the same can be said Tuesday night. You can help by visiting Holperin For Senate to donate or volunteer.