50th Assembly – Ed Brooks

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 am a farmer and small business owner, and have lived in the 50th Assembly District for most of my life.  I still live on the family farm that I grew up on in the Town of Reedsburg.  For the past six years, I have been the Representative for the 50th District in Madison and I have served on the Town of Reedsburg board for the past 35 years.  Towns are the very essence of local control and this experience gives me a clear perspective of how decisions made in Madison affect us back home.  My wife and I have three daughters and five grandchildren.  I’m serving in the legislature to ensure Wisconsin continues to be a great place to live, work, raise a family, and retire. 

How are you different from your opponent?

My opponent has never been elected at any level of government in Wisconsin.  I have balanced budgets, set the local levy, own property and pay property tax, so I understand how decisions in Madison impact seniors living on a fixed budget, or the new family that is just starting out and trying to buy a home.

I am the only candidate in this race trusted with the endorsements of:

-Wisconsin Right to Life
-Wisconsin Farm Bureau
-Wisconsin Pork Producers
-Wisconsin Corn Growers
-Dairy Business Association
-Tavern League of Wisconsin
-Wisconsin Restaurant Association
-National Federation of Independent Business – Wisconsin

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 $1.8 billion figure is a structural deficit and the memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau that came up with that number, assumed that there was no growth in the economy, no changes in revenues and no changes in spending.  The most recent fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2014, had a $516.9 million positive balance. We also have the state’s largest rainy day fund with a balance of $280 million. Another misconception I would like to clear up is the claim that revenue is down for the most recent quarter.  The governor reduced the withholding tables by 10%, so the state is letting you keep more of your own money now, rather than issue you a refund next April.

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?

The first thing we need to do is pass the constitutional amendment on November 4th protecting gas tax and registration fees collected.  This amendment is pretty simple, it requires the state to spend transportation revenue on transportation projects, unlike during the Doyle Administration, when he raided over $1 billion from the transportation fund.  Today’s vehicles are more fuel efficient making the gas tax a declining source of revenue. Any change in transportation funding needs to take a comprehensive approach that evaluates our transportation needs and balances them with taxpayers’ ability to pay. 

What should the state be doing to promote job creation that it isn’t currently?

One innovative example being discussed in our area is the Juneau County Welding Skills Institute.  Western Technical College is looking to partner with Mauston High School and private industry.  WTC would train adults in the evening and the high school could utilize some of the resources in their vocational classes offered to students. 

Would you expand or repeal Act 10, the collective bargaining law?

The state has saved $3 billion as a result of Act 10, I see no reason to expand it. 

What’s one thing on which you disagree with the majority of your party?

I opposed the move of unclaimed property for the State Treasurers Office to the Department of Revenue. 

What would be the first bill you’d like to author?

My first bill will be to work with the State DNR and the Village of Cazenovia on a remedy for the Dam on the only lake in Richland County.