District 15 candidates disagree on education system

Janis Ringhand, Brian Fitzgerald fight for Senate seat
District 15 candidates disagree on education system

Democrat Janis Ringhand and Republican Brian Fitzgerald will be on the ballot Tuesday fighting for the state Senate seat in the 15th District, which along with Rock County, also covers parts of Dane, Jefferson and Walworth counties.

As Tuesday’s election comes around the corner, Janis Ringhand was out knocking on doors Thursday.

Ringhand survived a three-way Democratic primary in August to get to this point, but it’s her experience in the State Assembly she hopes will help her cross the finish line.

“Knowing how to treat people and listening is really an important aspect of the job,” Ringhand said.

Her first goal, if elected, is to bring job growth to the area.

“Education is really key to bringing in the businesses that are willing to come here,” Ringhand said. “We have a really strong work ethic. We just need to advance ourselves technologically to meet that challenge.”

Republican challenger Fitzgerald’s cable and Internet ads are not what you would expect from your typical politician, highlighting the importance of job growth in an alternative way.

“What we wanted was name recognition and to catch people’s attention,” Fitzgerald said.

And much like his unique ads, Fitzgerald said his approach to government could also bring a new perspective to the Senate.

Both candidates agree their first priority is creating job growth, but they stand divided on the state’s education system.

“The vouchers take money right off top the funding pool, and they go to private schools that are not accountable and public schools are held accountable to certain standards,” Ringhand said.

“I think we need to continue to use the voucher system and expand it. If you live in a bad area, you need some choice so that your child doesn’t go to a bad school, and I think the voucher system is a start for that,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t think it has all of the answers, but it is certainly part of the solution.”

Their differing views will be put to the test Tuesday.