15th Senate – Brian Fitzgerald
Questionnaires were sent to candidates in the following races:
State Senate Districts 11, 13, 15
Assembly Districts 37, 39, 42 ,43, 44, 47, 49, 50, 51, 79, 81
All candidates received the same questions. The candidate’s answers have not been edited.
What is your background and why are you running for office?
I was born and raised in Janesville. My first job as a teenager was pumping gas in Janesville. I have a degree in Business Administration from Regis University in Denver. I inherited my father’s entrepreneurial spirit which led me to a 30 year career in several different types of business including the cable television, computer and software industries. This has given me a very broad perspective in business and I know what it takes to attract jobs and new business. Currently, I serve on the Janesville City Council. I am running because I want to see the same prosperity and opportunity that I had growing up for my children and grandchildren. Also, we need to bring real change to Madison and make Wisconsin stronger and more attractive to business. To do this requires new ideas and new faces, not career politicians. I am not part of the problem in Madison but I can be part of the solution.
How are you different from your opponent?
My opponent is a career politician. She always does what her party tells her to. We need more independent and pragmatic thinkers in Madison rather than more ideologues. We need a fresh perspective not more of the same.
The state is potentially facing a $1.8 billion budget deficit next year. What areas would you cut to balance the budget? If no cuts, how would you raise revenues?
The state is facing a possible deficit at the end of the 2017 budget which is three years from now. This projected deficit assumes no increases in revenue and no reductions in expenses. It has also been produced BEFORE the 2015-2017 state budget has been passed. At this point we have no idea what other assumptions were made to produce this “projected deficit”. The state always runs a deficit or surplus. A small uptick in the economy could go a long way in reducing this. This projected deficit will be closely examined when the 2015-2017 budget is discussed in the Senate.
Transportation funding will likely be an issue the next legislature will grapple with. Do you think the state should change the funding source for road projects? If so, how should they be funded?
I think the state needs to segregate funds for transportation projects so they can’t be used for other purposes. This would prevent “raiding” the fund to balance the budget as happened under Gov. Doyle.
What should the state be doing to promote job creation that it isn’t currently?
We need to target specific industries that pay well and aggressively pursue them. Right now we are too passive and wait for them to come to us. We have a great workforce here and now it’s time for our leaders to step and put our district back to work. Some people don’t realize we are competing with surrounding states for these jobs. After we bring these jobs in, then we can focus on retraining and/or educating our workforce.
Would you expand or repeal Act 10, the collective bargaining law?
From an economic perspective, Act 10 is an unqualified success taking the state from a $3.6 billion deficit to a $500 million surplus. From a political perspective it was a disaster. Many in Madison harbor bad feelings and deep resentments. My opponent was right in the middle of it. I can go to Madison with a clean slate eager to aid the healing process, move forward and work across the aisle.
What’s one thing on which you disagree with the majority of your party?
I would like to find a way to redistrict with non-partisan citizens in charge, not politicians.
What would be the first bill you’d like to author?
I would like to author a bill to limit interest rates to help the middle class. Many people have taken short-term loans and have been taken advantage of by predatory interest rates.
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