79th Assembly – Dianne Hesselbein

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?

Elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2012, I served on the Dane County Board of Supervisors from 2008 to 2014, the Monona Terrace Board of Directors 2010-2014, and on the Middleton-Cross Plains Area Board of Education from 2005-2008. I received my Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 1993, and earned a Master of Arts from Edgewood College in 1996. A lifelong Wisconsin resident, I am running to continue representing the citizens of the 79th Assembly District.

How are you different from your opponent?

I am a Progressive Democrat, and my opponent is a Tea Party Republican. I also differ by having a solid record of service within Dane County, and possess a reputation for listening to my constituents and representing their Wisconsin values and priorities. Important in this time of strong polarization, I am known to work in a bipartisan manner to achieve effective legislation that benefits all Wisconsin citizens.

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 first thing I would do is eliminate the “Las Vegas” tax code loophole that was reopened by Governor Walker. I would also cut funding for unaccountable private voucher schools.

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?

This is a common challenge facing the federal government and every state, not just Wisconsin, and a common solution must be devised. Presently 87% of state funding comes from gas taxes and vehicle registration fees, and like the federal government who shares the cost of transportation funding, fuel efficient vehicles have reduced both gas consumption and fuel tax revenues. Changing the funding source for road projects may require an expansion of revenue sources beyond the current state model.

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

The state must improve how we attract employers to Wisconsin. Cutting education and transportation funding is not the way to convince potential employers that Wisconsin values the technical knowledge needed to design, manufacture and transport goods. We need to fully fund our technical and University campuses, and build and maintain our highways and rail system.

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

I would repeal Act 10. Governor Walker acknowledged he was doing it to “divide and conquer” the opposition, and it worked. I represent the people of Assembly District 79, and they made clear their appreciation of collective bargaining by voting for a non-binding referendum on this issue. My constituents are opposed to Act 10, and I support repealing this sorry legislation.

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

A few members of my party were advocating for larger campaign contributions. Currently the limit is $500 per individual contribution, and some voiced support for an increase to $1000. I do not support that change, feeling our democracy needs less money in politics, and more campaign finance reforms.

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

I hope to advance a nonpartisan redistricting bill.