Keith Ripp: Farmer, Owner of Small Trucking Business
Paula Cooper: Iron Worker, Teacher

Where they stand

The 42nd is among the most rural districts in south-central Wisconsin, made up of trees, farmland, and small towns.  News 3 anchor Eric Franke asked the candidates to outline the issues they felt defined their districts.

Paula Cooper: “I'm running on the four main issues of we need family supporting jobs, quality health care that everyone can afford, education, we need decent quality schools, and our environment.  If we don't protect our environment, we have absolutely nothing.”

Rep. Keith Ripp: “Priority number one is the same, doors, talking to the people of the district, getting input from them, seeing what hot topics are.  A lot of it is jobs.  Young people, you know we're concerned.  Once they're done with school, they're in the job market now.  They're having a hard time finding a decent paying job, and something to support themselves with.”

Franke asked the representative what he’d do to try to bring jobs to the district.

Rep. Keith Ripp: “Well I think everyone looks at the state level and national level.  On the state level, the government, first of all, it's very hard for the government to create jobs and it's really not their place.  But last session we did create an environment for employers and employees to make it more friendly as far as business friendly environment, and that's all we can do.”

Franke asked Cooper, who has been vocal against cuts to education funding, what she saw as alternatives in a tight budget time when “the money just isn’t there”.

Paula Cooper: “The money is there in the last budget.  Governor Walker took away the enforcement of the combined reporting.  Otherwise known as the Las Vegas loophole.  That's millions of dollars that Wisconsin is owed that we are not getting.  I'm not opposed to tax cuts either.  But there has to be accountability for it, which the Republicans are not doing.”

Franke asked Ripp for his response on education funding.

Rep. Keith Ripp: “I think the numbers we're seeing now, the budget surplus, we can take a look at that, directing some of those funds there.  Education is always a priority for a lot of us.  Funding source formula that we're using in the state is not working anymore, but we have to come up with a bipartisan agreement.  The last one that was done was done basically by a government agency probably 20 years ago.  And it's difficult to get people interested then to try to do something about it, because it is a big challenge.”