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WHERE I STAND

I believe in our democracy and constitution.  I would never conspire to overturn a free and fair election and block the peaceful transition of power like Mr. Tiffany has done.  I believe we should make it easier for all people to vote and would never work to suppress voting like Mr. Tiffany.  I will not despoil what previous generations have died to create and preserve.

 

I support a woman’s choice as to what happens with her body, just as I support a man’s choice as to his. We were intentionally formed as a secular nation, with the right to worship when, where and how we please. We do not have the right to force our religious views on others. The church has crept into the state on this and the situation needs to be reversed. A woman is a citizen under the constitution, not her fetus. The recent reversal by the Supreme Court of Roe vs. Wade has made women second class citizens. The government has no right intruding in the most personal decision a woman will ever make.  Perhaps one of the most fundamental rights of a woman is to choose whose children she will bear.  The wonderful thing is the vast majority of babies are welcomed into this world. I also find it contradictory that people who claim to be pro-life support capital punishment, choose the importance of the fetus over the life of the mother, and turn a blind eye to the gun violence in our schools and society. Tom Tiffany also voted against the Right to Contraceptive Act.

 

It is time to finalize the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.

 

I believe we owe our citizens quality healthcare, it is a right.  I understand that living without good health care and health insurance is not only stressful but downright scary knowing you are only one accident or illness away from bankruptcy and poverty.  58% of all American debt is medical debt. Healthy citizens make for a strong country.  Preventive care and addressing medical problems when they are small and inexpensive to cure is both a kindness and is fiscally responsible.  I will work for a functional health care system unlike Mr. Tiffany who would like to overturn the Affordable Care Act and who voted against funding to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  We are a great nation, we can ensure everyone has access to quality medical care just as we have ensured with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that people will have a lifeline as they age or face severe challenges in life.

 

I believe public education is an investment in our children and our society.  I support free community college and technical college tuition.  I support educational loans with a 1% interest rate backed by the federal government.  I believe education is the path out of poverty and educated citizens make for a strong economy and a strong country.  Every person should have access to the education they need to start their own business or find a great job that will be fulfilling and allow them to take care of their family.  I respect and admire teachers.  They do so much for our children, our communities, and our country.  I will not be a party to starving our public education system so rich Republican elites can take that money to fund their private schools.  

 

I am a big supporter of the middle class.  Huge corporations and the super- rich have used their money and bought influence with congress to rig the tax system in their favor at the expense of the middle class. Unlike Mr. Tiffany, I will not be bought and owned by anyone.  I will work for a tax system that is fair and equitable for all. Thus, I support lower taxes for the middle class, eliminating unfair tax breaks for the very wealthy, and providing for a minimum tax on big corporations such as Amazon that have historically avoided paying any federal income taxes.  I am not aligned against wealthy people.  Far from it.  Only those that use their wealth in ways that corrupt our political process to gain unfair advantages for themselves.  I admire and respect persons who use their wealth to make this world a better place whether they be Democrats, Republicans, or Independents.  They contribute to some of our greatest needs and most noble causes. 

 

I am here to fund our law enforcement officers, not defund the blue.  When I was 11 my mom remarried and my stepfather sold most of the law enforcement and firefighting equipment in the 7th District, at least as far west as Hawkins. Our closest family friends were the police chiefs, sheriffs, and fire chiefs throughout the district. One of our friends was a Wisconsin State Patrol officer serving in the Minocqua area, and I’ll never forget him mentioning how he felt every time he approached a vehicle, as he could be assaulted or shot at. I am not here to defund the Blue, I am here to back the Blue. Like every occupation there are bad apples, we need to ensure the bad apples are weeded out. Without police there would be no rule of law, gangs and outlaws would be the law of the land.  Mr. Tiffany on the other hand cares little for the welfare of our police based on his actions.  He has voted against a bill that would provide funding for community policing.  He cared not one bit that capitol police officers were attacked by a violent mob on January 6 leading to many injuries and loss of life among the officers.  Mr. Tiffany is not a friend of law enforcement.

 

I believe in a strong military and in supporting our armed forces and our allies.  I would never vote against supporting NATO or against providing aid to Ukraine like Mr. Tiffany.  His votes leave me speechless.  His tacit approval of a war where homes, schools, and hospitals are destroyed with missiles and bombs; where Russian soldiers are executing husbands in front of their families, and where these same soldiers are raping mothers in front of their children is beyond shocking.

 

I believe in taking care of our veterans after they have served our country, and their family.  They literally put their lives on the line for us and they deserve special treatment for doing so.  Mr. Tiffany shocked veterans when he voted against the PACT Act which provides medical treatment for veterans who were exposed to toxic materials from burn pits and other sources.  He also voted against the Protecting our Gold Star Families Education Act. Mr. Tiffany failed to show appreciation or compassion for veterans and their families by his votes.  He appears to be out of touch with those who are willing to give their very lives for our country. Three states and 82 municipalities have announced an end to veteran homelessness. Let’s focus on replicating that success in other parts of the United States. I also believe veterans should be able to receive their medical and dental care in their local communities with the government reimbursing those local providers.

My father served in the military during World War II, an uncle was a sailor in the Pacific, another uncle was a mine sweeper for tanks for General Patton’s 3rd army, and my father-in-law was a Korean veteran who was responsible for communications in the DMZ.  I deeply value their service in defense of our nation and our democracy. To everyone who has served - Thank You for your service.

 

I am a big supporter of retired seniors.  Social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs vital to seniors are all safe with me.  I will vote to protect them in contrast to Mr. Tiffany who would like to cut or eliminate them. I recognize that today’s seniors contributed to these programs over their working years while making vital contributions to building this country and our economy.  They continue to make vital contributions to our communities through their abundant volunteer work.  I believe that taxing social security benefits is wrong.  They were never intended to be subject to federal income tax. The taxing of these benefits only started in 1984.  I find it curious that a Republican administration was able to both make drastic cuts in Federal income taxes for the wealthiest Americans yet also start taxing the hard earned social security benefits of senior citizens.  I find it amazing that despite these actions that Republicans managed to still retain the support of many seniors and still retain that support today.  This goes to show that slick talking politicians can deceive the public and convince good people to vote against their own self-interest by their charm, speech, influence over the news, and by hiding their true intent and actions from the voters. I think we should relieve seniors of paying income tax on their hard-earned social security benefits. Tom Tiffany wants to privatize Social Security and raise the age of eligibility.

 

Fixing Social Security is easy.  It makes no sense that when you make more than $147,000 a year you stop contributing to the Social Security fund. Eliminate the cap on contributions and the problem is solved immediately. 

 

 

I am a big supporter of small business owners.  I have started and owned two small businesses.  I understand the challenges of being a small business owner.  Small businesses are the engines of growth that provide the majority of new jobs that fuel our economy.  I will listen to the needs of small business owners and do my best to address them so they can flourish and thus their employees and our country can also flourish.  I am not against big business, but I am against big business using its wealth and power to suppress their competition and the passing of laws that give them favorable treatment to the detriment of small businesses and workers.  I believe both political parties have been allowing such favorable treatment for big business. I support entrepreneurship and I believe in fair competition.  I do not agree that bigger is always better.  I will not be party to facilitating big business crushing new startups, mom and pop operations, neighborhood stores, and family farms. 

 

 

Unions have been the backbone of our nation for decades.  Much of what we now take for granted — the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, health insurance, paid leave, pensions, Social Security and Medicare, work place safety standards, child labor guidelines, paid holidays, collective bargaining, anti-discrimination laws, worker’s compensation — were made possible by the hard work and dedicated struggle of America’s labor movement. For decades, Democrats have stood alongside labor unions knowing that labor unions helped build America, and organized labor is critical to fulfilling the dream that if you work hard and do your part, you should be able to get ahead and stay ahead.  Data has also shown that union participation drives up wages for the entire middle class, not just union members. I believe it should easier not harder for workers both public and private, to exercise their right to organize and join unions and will support legislation to do just that.

 

I believe in supporting family farms and in supporting sustainable agriculture.  Food independence is critical to our national security.  Healthy locally grown food leads to healthy people and lower medical costs.  I will listen to the needs of family farmers and do my best to address them so our farmers and our agricultural economy will flourish.  The Bush and Trump administrations with the support of the Republican Party have actively eliminated standards to protect the safety of the food we feed our children and ourselves in return for the support of the fast-food industry, the meat packing industry, and industrial factory farms.

I have farming roots as both my parents were raised on farms. In my youth I spent time one summer on my aunt’s and uncle’s farms doing chores such as milking cows and bailing hay. I also enjoyed playing hide and go seek in the cornfields and walking through the cow pies in my bare feet (mom’s suggestion, I have the letter).

 

I am a fiscal conservative.  I have been a business owner and have had to meet a payroll.  I could not afford wasteful spending and keep the business afloat.  Growing up for years in a family with a widowed mother and 6 kids, I never felt poor with all the love in our house, but we didn’t have money to buy things on a whim. I will look after your tax dollars with care and respect.  I will never vote for huge tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations paid for with borrowed money that creates more and more government debt that will have to be paid off by our children and grandchildren.  President Clinton was the last president to balance the Federal budget and I believe that is a worthy goal.

  

There is no room for hate. We are all human, we are the same except for our various cultures and economic circumstances. We should be comfortable being who we are without fear of being considered a lesser person by someone else. Those who instill that fear need to understand why it is wrong. 

 

I believe in social programs that support and strengthen families in times of need.  My family was down and out after my dad died unexpectedly and we would not have survived as a family without some assistance along the way.  Just because the bread winner in the family is lost tragically is no reason that his or her children should have to go to bed hungry at night and wake up hungry in the morning.  I strongly feel that way because I was one of those children.  Our books of Faith are filled with examples of people showing love for others by helping them in a time of need.  Helping others is a blessing to ourselves and you never know when you will be the one in need.

 

I believe in the second amendment.  I own different types of guns.  While I grew up fishing and hunting to put food on the table, it has been some time since I have hunted.  However, I still enjoy shooting clay pigeons and target practice to test my skills.  I believe we must address our epidemic of gun violence and killings of children and adults.  I will work with anyone to reach agreement for reasonable gun safety legislation that will stop many of the mass shootings that have tragically killed so many innocent people.  Our children deserve to go to school free of fear and the parents deserve to know that their children are safe at school.  Everyone deserves to attend church, attend a concert or movie, shop for groceries and carry out every day activities without fear of being the next victim of gun violence. Otherwise, we rob everyone of the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  There are four things we can do that would immediately help to solve this problem: 1)  gun clips do not need to hold more than 5-6 bullets; 2) there needs to be a database so when someone is purchasing a firearm anywhere by anyone, we can ensure they are entitled to purchase a firearm; 3) if someone has been legally deemed a danger to themselves or others we need to remove their firearms until they are legally deemed not to be a danger to themselves or others, and 4) If someone is purchasing a firearm for the first time they need to take a gun safety course. Amongst other things, not knowing there is a thing called a safety, that you don’t leave a bullet in the chamber, and that you carry a firearm with the muzzle pointed down are basics everyone should know.

 

I believe the climate crisis is real.  I will be a strong supporter of actions that move our nation toward a 100% clean energy economy while providing good paying jobs. I support science-based policies to stabilize the climate.  I believe in science contrary to Mr. Tiffany who is in the anti-science camp of Republicans that falsely claim the climate crisis is a hoax.  It will not be a hoax when climate induced crop failures cause mass starvation. It will not be a hoax when rising temperatures cause millions to migrate from southern states to Wisconsin seeking a more livable environment. It will not be a hoax when more and more super storms and out of control forest fires destroy even more lives, homes, and communities.  This is already happening.  I will not condemn our children and grandchildren to such a dark and miserable future.  The best science has shown there is still time to save planet earth but we must start those actions immediately.  What choice do we have, after all, planet earth is our only home. 

 

I value our lakes, rivers, and wetlands.  I am so fortunate to live in a water wonderland in northern Wisconsin.  While it’s not often, I enjoy fishing with my brother, he always offers to clean the fish and that makes him the best fisherman in my book.  I will always stand with those who love to cast a fly to a rising trout, who love to feel the strike of a lunker while trolling along the drop off, or who love to see their bobber sink below the water surface knowing a feisty bluegill is at the other end of the line.  I understand these times spent on the water in quiet solitude or with our best friend or young child are what memories are made of.  I will never be party to gutting laws protecting our waters and subjecting them to be fouled by pollution like Mr. Tiffany has done.

 

I will always vote to protect our water resources and the economic benefits that flow from clean water. I will work to protect our invaluable water resources that are critically important to the quality of life in the 7th Congressional District and to our economic wellbeing.  Angling and water sports attract millions of vacationers that are the lifeblood of Wisconsin’s $200 billion dollar tourist industry that provides 200,000 jobs.  Mr. Tiffany, in utter disregard for our water resources, tourist industry, and tourism dependent jobs, worked in concert with out-of-state and foreign mining corporations while in the state legislature to bring metallic sulfide mining, America’s most toxic industry, back to Wisconsin with his Industrial Acid Mining Bill.  The passage of this law which endangers our lakes, rivers, wetlands, and ground water landed Mr. Tiffany a spot on the conservation dishonor roll of the Wisconsin Conservation Voters, the State affiliate of the League of Conservation Voters.  It represented a tragic reversal of many years of progress in improving water quality in the state.  And all for the profits of out-of-state and foreign mining companies! 

 

 

I value clean drinking water.  Water is life.  I understand that ground water pollution and contamination of wells by pollution from factory farms and other bad actors is a major problem in the 7th Congressional District.  Unlike Mr. Tiffany who has a long track record of voting against clean water, I will work with Federal, State, and Local officials as well as business interests to address this problem and protect our invaluable and irreplaceable ground water resources. 

 

I will focus on bringing Federal dollars home to the 7th Congressional District.  I will never vote NO like Mr. Tiffany did on legislation like the Great American Outdoors Act which was passed with over-whelming bipartisan support despite his NO vote.  He voted NO against this landmark piece of Federal legislation that benefits both conservation and our economy!

The Act permanently authorizes $900 million per year in spending on conservation and recreation projects and created a new $9.5 billion fund for deferred maintenance projects in national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and on other federal lands.  Conservation projects on federal, state, local, and even private lands are eligible for funding.  Recreation projects such as parks, trails, boating access sites, and others are funded through matching grants to state, county, and local units of government.  If you partake in outdoor recreational pursuits of any kind this act will be a definite benefit to you.  The funds also come from offshore oil and gas leasing revenues and not from your income taxes which makes this legislation a double win.  Unlike Mr. Tiffany, I will never vote against your interests on such beneficial legislation.  The only opposition to this legislation came from the mining industry, so once again Mr. Tiffany shows by his votes who he really represents, and it is not his constituents in the 7th Congressional District.

Equally as bad, Mr. Tiffany later voted against the bipartisan “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act”!  Voting against good paying jobs that will repair and build critical infrastructure needed for economic development and quality of life is Mr. Tiffany saying he does not want any Federal tax dollars to be spent on jobs and infrastructure for his constituents. 

Unlike Mr. Tiffany, I will fight for funding of programs essential to the rural 7th congressional district like repair or replacement of roads, bridges, rail lines, water systems, and expanded broadband access.  This bill passed with bi-partisan support despite Mr. Tiffany’s NO vote against this bill.  It is bringing $5.5 billion to Wisconsin for critical infrastructure needs.   

 

This is just another example of Mr. Tiffany voting against the best interests of those he was elected to represent. This clearly shows that Mr. Tiffany does not really consider folks like you and I who live in the district to be his real constituents. Instead, his true constituents live outside the district and even outside the state like the owners of Koch Industries.  That is why “Americans for Prosperity”, the political arm of Koch Industries, gives Mr. Tiffany a 100% rating on his voting record.  Because he always votes for them and their corporate welfare, and unfortunately against the rest of us.  

 
 

MY FINALS WORDS FOR VOTERS

 

I ask for your vote to represent your interests in the U.S. House of Representatives.  It is time to stop playing the blame game and cool the radical rhetoric that divides us as a people.  It is time to move back towards a more traditional moderate center of the road pro-American approach where we are united as neighbors for our common good. 

As your representative, I will be consumed with improving the life of citizens in the 7th Congressional District. I will be a “different kind of representative” than you presently have. My first loyalty will be to you the voters; not to big business, not to big donors, not even to the Democratic Party. My first loyalty will be to you!


 

Please put me to work for you with your vote on November 8th!

 

Best regards and On, Wisconsin!

 

Richard “Dick” Ausman