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Eight seeking to represent GOP in 37th Assembly District | Government

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There is likely an appealing candidate for just about every Republican voter out there in the 37th Assembly District. After all, there are eight people running in the primary for the July special election, set for June 15.

Seeking to replace Watertown’s John Jagler in the position in the primary election are William Penterman, of Columbus; Nathan Pollnow, Reeseville; Spencer Zimmerman, Janesville and Jenifer Quimby, of Waterloo, as well as Nick Krueger, Cathy Houchin, Steve Kauffeld and Jennifer Meinhardt, all of Watertown. Jagler was elected in April to the state senate.

The newspaper sent questionnaires to all of the Republican candidates to learn more about their backgrounds and their views on current issues in the state and country.Specifically, they were asked if Donald Trump’s claim that “the election was stolen” has any validity and how redistricting in Wisconsin could be improved. They were also asked how Wisconsin can make a smooth transition out of the pandemic and what its budget should include. They were then asked to provide statements of candidacy of up to 100 words.

The special election is scheduled for July 13 and the Democratic candidate is Pete Adams of Columbus. An independent candidate is Stephen W. Ratzlaff of DeForest.

The 37th Assembly District is bordered on the west by DeForest, on the east by Oconomowoc, the north by Columbus and the south by Waterloo and Watertown.

Cathy Houchin, 64, of 604 Long St., Watertown, has lived in the city and the 37th Assembly District since 1974.

She has been married to Donald Houchin, for more than 30 years. Together they raised two boys, James and Nicholas.

She has a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in education. She has also pursued numerous licenses and additional degrees to promote technology in the classroom; music technology; and science technology, engineering, arts and math.

Houchin’s professional background includes being a teacher for more than 42 years. Since then, she has spoken as a guest lecturer internationally multiple times. She has also led a committee to set the music education standards for the State of Wisconsin. She has spoken at conferences across the country on STEM topics, coding in the classroom, and empowering students with skills needed for careers in the 21st century.

She has raised more than $50,000 since 2011 in grants — allowing every student at Webster and Lebanon elementary schools to learn piano and ukulele basics. She said these schools are the only ones with keyboards at the elementary level. She also has added many other items to Webster and Lebanon that would not have been possible without grants. These grant dollars also paid for numerous field trips and educational experiences that the school could not afford to do on its own. She said that these programs were run at no cost to taxpayers.

She also discussed her membership in civic organizations.

“With over 40 years as a Watertown resident, I’ve volunteered with countless organizations and charitable causes,” she said. “I’m most proud of my roles in my local church. I have both led and assisted their music ministries over the years. I’ve also volunteered on the PTO board of my boys’ schools, helped build S-TEAM — an organization dedicated to building self-esteem and leadership skills for the area’s youth via the arts — and served as a board member for the international society for technology in education. ISTE is the leading science, technology, engineering and mathematics organization in the world, and offers numerous conferences and educational events for educators.”

Her political experience includes service as a Dodge County supervisor since 2016. She sits on the board, representing the 21st District, and also has served on the building and taxation committees.

Do you think Trump’s claim that “the election was stolen” has any validity?

“This question is a distraction from the real issues in this race. President Trump highlighted a disturbing number of election irregularities that should concern anyone who believes in democracy. Like every other state, Wisconsin owes it to our citizens to maintain a pristine voting process and prevent fraud wherever possible. I am a strong proponent of protecting our voter ID laws and banning practices such as ballot harvesting. Further, Wisconsin must devote resources to arresting all bad actors and punishing them to the fullest extent of the law.”Redistricting in Wisconsin has been controversial. How do you think redistricting in Wisconsin could be improved?

“First, we need to remember that the legislature draws our maps. Electoral maps became controversial when the Democrats asked the courts to step in — blurring the lines of separation of powers and casting doubt on the legitimacy of our government. We need accountability in this process, and courts should only become involved if there’s a legitimate constitutional issue at play. To date, that has not happened.”

What should Wisconsin do to make a smooth transition out of the pandemic?

“Wisconsin needs to re-open. We must end all city, county and state mandates related to COVID-19. Further, the legislature should engage business leaders to identify opportunities for reduced regulation and incentivize business growth. Gov. Tony Evers has caused irreparable harm the past year and a half by pursuing unconstitutional COVID-19 mandates instead of fulfilling his duties to the residents of Wisconsin. I will work tirelessly to see that the legislature does the opposite of him.”

Wisconsin is working on its budget right now. What is the most important thing to be included?

“My biggest priority is Wisconsin taxpayers. In April, Kiplinger’s listed Wisconsin as No. 6 on the ‘10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Middle-Class Families.’ This is not acceptable and reducing the tax burden on our residents is one of my top priorities. I will do whatever possible to make sure Wisconsin residents take home as much of THEIR money as possible — reducing the budget wherever I can.”

Her statement of candidacy reads:

“I, Cathy Houchin, am running for you. I am running to be a voice for the voiceless — the people’s government told them they were not essential, the forgotten men and women of the 37th. I’ve fought tirelessly, for three consecutive terms, as a Dodge County Supervisor and look forward to doing the same in Madison.

My platform is simple: Government must shrink and freedom must grow. I’m asking for your vote so we can re-open Wisconsin and bring prosperity back. To do this, we must end senseless mandates, reduce regulations and limit spending, so taxpayers take more of their paycheck home.”

Steve Kauffeld has lived in Watertown and the Town of Shields for more than 50 years and his father was pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Watertown for more than 30 years.

Kauffeld and his wife Linda have been married for 46 years and are both graduates of the Watertown Unified School District, as are their three children. Both are retired, with Steve having been a line clearance crew leader for 37 years. He also operated his own private tree care business for 20 years, retiring in 2011.

In 2012, he entered the race for the 37th Assembly District seat and came in second in the primary. In 2013, he ran for the WUSD Board of Education and has retained that position, serving the Watertown community for eight years.

Kauffeld is a member and past president of the Izaak Walton League of America, a national conservation organization. He is also and active member of Gun Owners of America, a national, pro-2nd Amendment advocacy group.

Do you think Trump’s claim that “the election was stolen” has any validity?

“Voting integrity is an issue that is being addressed for the most part, on a partisan basis with numerous claims of irregularities which are presently being investigated not only in Wisconsin, bu throughout the United States. The sanctity of our voting process is of preeminent importance.”

Redistricting in Wisconsin has been controversial. How do you think redistricting in Wisconsin could be improved?

“The Wisconsin State Legislature draws the congressional and legislative district boundaries. The Wisconsin Constitution requires that the districts be compact and respect county, precinct, town and ward lines where possible. This is all subject to signing, or veto, by the governor. As always in a census year, there is a lot of political hay to be made in the remapping of voting districts in Wisconsin so be prepared for a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the issue. Let the people make their own choices and stop the governmental/bureaucratic overreach. Coercion is never a popular methodology of governance.”

What should Wisconsin do to make a smooth transition out of the pandemic?

Kauffeld did not reply to this question.

Wisconsin is working on its budget right now. What is the most important thing to be included?

“There is no more important budget item except for protecting the financial solvency of Wisconsin which has myriad components to it.

His statement of candidacy reads:

“I am active in the promotion of the Christian lifestyle and its principles. I am pro-life. I am and have been politically active on many levels involving state, county and federal public policy dealing mostly, with the defense and promotion of our 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th amendments. My eight years of service on the school board has been invaluable.

The unfair treatment of small business has damaged our state’s economy by arbitrarily choosing who was essential. Our rights of assembly were impugned, even our ability to worship as we choose. This ought not be. As Henry David Thoreau stated, ‘That government is best that governs least.’”

Nick Krueger, 33, of 912 S. Third St., Watertown, has lived in the 37th Assembly District for seven years.

He is married to Abbie Krueger and he has a master’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has a bachelor’s degree from Ripon College.

His professional background includes, from 2015-2021, being chief of staff to conservative State Rep. Terry Katsma, R–Oostburg, in Madison; 2011-2014, analyst, Institute of Land Warfare, Association of the U.S. Army, Arlington, Virginia.

He is a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Watertown, and is a member of the church council, overseeing 34 employees and a $2.5 million budget. He is the scholarship committee chairman, administering a $2 million endowment.

His political experience also includes being a Watertown Plan Commission citizen member since 2020. He touted his work as Katsma’s senior aide for nearly seven years. He also said, as an analyst for the Association of the U.S. Army, he advocated in support of a strong and ready U.S. military and for following through with promises made to seniors and retirees.

{div}Do you think former President Donald Trump’s claim that “the election was stolen” has any validity?{/div}

{div}”I am eager to receive the report, due later this year, from our non-partisan state Legislative Audit Bureau which is presently investigating several questions related to the fall 2020 election,” he said. “That work will surely help separate fact from fiction, and I hope to have the opportunity to help author some changes that are based on their findings — recommendations which, I expect, Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree upon as genuine improvements that are based upon indisputable facts.{/div}

{div}How can redistricting in Wisconsin be improved?

“It’s a good thing that the people who ultimately determine district boundaries — that is, legislators and judges — are elected officials and therefore directly accountable to the voters for those decisions. I would be deeply skeptical of taking such an important duty away from elected, accountable people and giving it instead to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. The last thing we need is another government accountability board that is supposedly non-partisan, but actually becomes a partisan weapon.”

{div}What can Wisconsin do to make a smooth transition out of the pandemic?{/div}

“Very many families have suffered setbacks over the past year and need help regaining their independence. Tens of thousands of people in our state have been added to the welfare rolls. People have armed themselves in record numbers, because they feel less safe than before. Academic achievement gaps got worse, particularly for low-income students and those with special needs. Substance abuse went up; mental health went down. Entrepreneurship got harder. Now is the time to focus on securing the peace, rebuilding trust in our institutions, encouraging families, expanding education options to help kids catch up, moving people back off of welfare and into the dignity of self-supporting work where employers desperately need them, and getting government out of the way of new economic growth.

Wisconsin is working on its budget right now. What is the most important thing to be included?

“Governor Evers’ initial budget proposal was completely unrealistic. Even though the state is in great financial shape, he proposed enormous tax hikes matched only by even more outrageous spending increases. He even tried to use this budget to repeal Act 10. So the most important step is to resist all the radical proposals that would undo so many responsible decisions that have already been made over the past decade. From there, we should carefully invest in priorities that we widely share such as in- person education and maintaining the roads we already have. And, with a historic state budget surplus, your government owes you a tax cut.”

His statement of candidacy reads:

“People’s trust in their elected leaders has been badly shaken over the past year. Folks are less sure that their leaders are even going to try to preserve the peace, govern according to the rule of law, fight for the integrity of our republic and help families get things back on track after a tough time. I am ready right away to be the steady hand that my community is searching for.”

Jennifer Meinhardt, 42, of 114 S. Monroe St., Watertown, has lived in the 37th Assembly District for seven years.

She is married to Tim Meinhardt and they have three children between the ages of 8 and 13 years old.

Meinhardt’s educational background includes a bachelor of science degree in English education, a bachelor of science degree in social studies education and a master of science degree in history.

Her professional background consists of her work as an associate professor of history at Maranatha Baptist University.

{div}She is a member of Lakewood Baptist Church and the Jefferson County Republican Party.{/div}

{div}She has never been elected, but said running for office is a natural extension of her years of teaching as she prepares to take a message of conservative values from the classroom to the capitol.

Redistricting in Wisconsin has been controversial. How do you think redistricting in Wisconsin could be improved?

“The Wisconsin constitution directs the state legislature to create and approve redistricting maps after each federal census. Additionally, federal law imposes very specific requirements to ensure that minority votes are not diluted and that each district has proportionate populations. The current system contains very important checks and balances, while also allowing voters the opportunity to hold elected officials, not unelected bureaucrats, accountable for the maps that are created.”

What should Wisconsin do to make a smooth transition out of the pandemic?

“Wisconsin’s vaccination program is rolling out and businesses are reopening. However, our children have just experienced a year of disrupted education. The projected economic fallout from this is staggering. As successive waves of graduating classes enter the workforce, their lifetime earning potential could drop as much as 5% according to the Brookings Institute. Schools across the state need to identify those students who are not at grade-level and provide them with the support they need.”Wisconsin is working on its budget right now. What is the most important thing to be included?

“It’s a great opportunity to expand school choice options for Wisconsin families. After a year of schools failing them, families are looking for schooling options that will empower them to provide an education for their children. Each child is both a present reflection and a future promise of families and communities. Investments in our children are a commitment to the hope that these children will reflect our values and take them further.”

Her statement of candidacy reads:

“As a conservative mom, as someone who has never held office, and as an associate professor of history, I’m joining in the great work of representative government to uphold the rule of law, protect religious freedom, value all life, and ensure that the inalienable rights of each of us are protected. My platform is based on the principles of ‘strong families, strong communities.’ I believe that the culmination of conservative policies is to reach a specific objective: the ability to live in a free society so that the people can practice their faith, raise their families, and engage with their communities.”

William Penterman, 25, of 247 S. Water St., Columbus, has lived in the 37th Assembly District for three years and is married to Abby Penterman.

His educational background consists of a bachelor of arts degree from Ripon College.

His professional background consists of being an MP in the United States Army for four years. He is currently a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.

His political experience includes his work at the Wisconsin State Capitol as a staffer for two years, during which he served as the chief of staff for Rep. Ron Tusler and served as the committee clerk of the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections during the Dec. 11 election investigation hearing.

Do you think Donald Trump’s claim that “the election was stolen” has any validity?

“The election certainly had numerous irregularities. For example, billionaire Mark Zuckerburg dumped millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s five largest and most liberal cities to ‘help run their elections.’ There should be no private money allowed to run Wisconsin’s elections, especially out-of-state money. I think it is also important to clarify what ‘ballot harvesting’ means, and ensure that all of Wisconsin’s clerks follow the law.”

Redistricting in Wisconsin has been controversial. How do you think redistricting in Wisconsin could be improved?

“Legislative maps should be drawn in accordance with the guidelines of the Wisconsin Constitution and stare decisis from the courts. This means legislative maps should be compact, contiguous, they should preserve communities of common interest, counties and the core of prior districts.”

What should Wisconsin do to make a smooth transition out of the pandemic?

“Get rid of the extra $300 unemployment incentive. It is clear from businesses and business owners that their No. 1 complaint is that they cannot find enough people to work. It is time to get back to normal and get Wisconsin working again.”

Wisconsin is working on its budget right now. What is the most important thing to be included?

“A balanced budget. It is imperative that this budget fund necessary priorities, but it should not raise taxes. The last thing Wisconsin needs coming out of a pandemic is a tax increase.”

His statement of candidacy reads:

“I am a lifelong conservative Republican dedicated to serving my community, my church, and my country. My background on the farm and my time in the Army taught me the value of hard work and instilled in me a heart for service. In Madison, I will fight to protect the unborn, ensure Integrity in our elections, preserve our 2nd Amendment rights, get Wisconsin back to work and safeguard our communities from criminals.”

Nathan Pollnow, 38, of N3863 Frank Road, Reeseville, has lived in the 37th Assembly District for almost 25 years.

He is married with two children and is a graduate of Columbus High School.

His professional background includes his operation of an auction company since 2000.

He has volunteered for many civic organizations, including the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Wings over Wisconsin, The Gathering Source Rural Resource Center, St. Stephens School in Horicon and many more fund raising organizations.

He has no political experience.

Do you think Trump’s claim that “the election was stolen” has any validity?

“I don’t know for certain, but plenty of evidence does exist to render an investigation into what happened. A thorough ballot count needs to happen. Also a few simple changes could be made to ensure less questions in the future.”Redistricting in Wisconsin has been controversial. How do you think redistricting in Wisconsin could be improved?

“I believe we need to follow the state constitution on all issues and this one is clearly laid out. A ‘non-partisan’ board has never existed, so we might as well follow what we have and be able to hold someone accountable.

What should Wisconsin do to make a smooth transition out of the pandemic?

“We should end pandemic unemployment. No extra pay or time without proof of a job search verified by a rejection letter.”

Wisconsin is working on its budget right now. What is the most important thing to be included?

“A tax cut would lesson the load on those who were truly harmed by the pandemic. It would also bolster the economy by putting more money in the hands of the consumer.”

His statement of candidacy reads:

“I am running for the common people. I have grown up in rural Wisconsin. I have been successful in business there and it’s time we send someone to Madison who does not already have the big connections there, but has the backbone to stand up for our shared best interests.”

Jenifer Quimby, 59, of 790 Lexington Way, Waterloo has lived in the 37th Assembly District her entire life.

She is married, with three boys and one granddaughter, and her educational background includes a BBA in operations management in 2010, when she graduated magna cum laude.

Her professional background includes 27 years in purchasing/supply chain and operations management.

Her political experience includes serving on Waterloo’s city council from 2008 to 2019, Waterloo School Board from 2011 to 2019 and as Waterloo’s mayor from 2019 to the present.

Redistricting in Wisconsin has been controversial. How do you think redistricting in Wisconsin could be improved?

”I believe in fair elections, so there should be fair and unbiased districting, done in a logical, non-partisan way. I will be addressing this task in our city soon, clearly on a much smaller ward scale, so I will have a more educated answer one day on this subject. However, my recent experience with circulating nomination papers proved to be quite challenging. Some areas were oddly shaped and split in as many as three different assembly districts. I have no first-hand knowledge of why they were drawn this way and I’m sure there were some flaws in prior designs as well, but communities grow and things change. So should districting.”

{div}What should Wisconsin do to make a smooth transition out of the pandemic?{/div}

{div}”I’m not sure why this isn’t as simple as when the state was closed? Doesn’t the opposite hold true, that you simply remove all the mandates and reduce or eliminate the extended unemployment benefits and extra money to stay at home? Although we can all look back and learn from this experience, there are several states that never closed or reopened much sooner than Wisconsin – so there are examples to follow, and it’s time we do.”{/div}

Wisconsin is working on its budget right now. What is the most important thing to be included?

“Well, looking through the budget, I am disappointed by a lot of what our governor is proposing. It would be a better question to ask what should be ‘excluded.’ However, at a minimum, include funding for infrastructure (road, sewer and water) and the services the state and local governments provide, specifically the police and fire departments. Police departments, more than ever, deserve to be fully funded, and we certainly don’t put as much emphasis on funding smaller communities that rely on mostly volunteer fire and EMS personnel to provide these important, life-saving jobs. With the amount of training needed, there is a huge time commitment, with little to no monetary return. Communities are having a hard time recruiting help. More funding is needed in these important roles.”

Her statement of candidacy reads:”I’m tough-minded and passionate about Wisconsin and America. I’m a moderate Republican who believes in limited government, personal choice, and responsibility. The government’s role is to service the needs of the citizens, ensuring a safe, clean environment and quality educational opportunities. I support term limits, the 2nd Amendment, election integrity, Police and Fire departments, and I know first-hand our health care is anything but affordable for all. My experiences in local government have always dealt with different political views, backgrounds, beliefs and we’ve been effective working together to solve issues and serve our citizens — as is expected of us.”

Spencer Zimmerman, 41, of 462 S. Randall Ave., No. 3, Janesville, said that, prior to running for public office, he lived next to the old Jaeger Rye Mill in the town of Elba for approximately one year, where he wrote and published a novel titled, “The Epoch Point.”He is single and his educational background includes an associate degree in information systems technology from the Community College of the Air Force and bachelor of business administration degree from Edgewood College.

His professional background includes being active Duty Air Force from 2000 to 2004, received the Joint Service Achievement Medal for Meritorious Service in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In 2010, he was a recipient of the Dane County Republican Party Lyman F. Anderson Local Government Public Service Award. In 2015, he received the highest rating from the National Rifle Association and was endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin.

Zimmerman is founder of the Trump Conservative Party and 12 political action committees, including one in support of the Keystone XL pipeline, and served as its treasurer from 2012-2015.He listed his political experience as being a Madison College student senator; candidate, Wisconsin State Assembly, District 46, 2008; candidate, Stoughton Common Council, District 1, 2009; candidate, Dane County Board, District 34, 2010; candidate, Wisconsin State Assembly, District 48, 2010; candidate, Dane County executive, 2011; candidate, US Senate, Nebraska, 2012; candidate, Wisconsin State Assembly, District 99, 2015; candidate, Janesville Common Council, 2016; candidate, Rock County Board, District 24, 2016; candidate, United States House of Representatives, Wisconsin, District 1, 2016; candidate, Janesville Common Council, 2017; candidate, Wisconsin State Assembly, District 58, 2017; candidate, Wisconsin State Assembly, District 42, 2018; candidate, Wisconsin Secretary of State, 2018; candidate, Wisconsin State Assembly, District 64, 2019; candidate, Rock County Board, District 24, 2020; candidate, Wisconsin Senate, District 13, 2021.Redistricting in Wisconsin has been controversial. How do you think redistricting in Wisconsin could be improved?

“Before we can address redistricting, we need to make sure our elections are secure and we can all be confident in the results. Ending election fraud is central to my campaign, we need to make sure our elections are secure and we can all be confident in the results. Before the 2020 election, we were warned of cyberattacks aimed at overturning the legitimate results by Russia, China and Iran. Cyber security and preventing future rigged elections would be a priority of mine. My experience as a computer systems operator for four years and my degree in information systems technology from the Community College of the Air Force have prepared me well to address cyber security challenges. In 2018 Wisconsin recorded about 2.5 million cyber attacks per day, and the worldwide cost of hacking is estimated to reach $10.5 trillion a year by 2025.”

What should Wisconsin do to make a smooth transition out of the pandemic?

“Vaccination should be available to everyone, but must not be mandatory. Unconstitutional lockdowns and mask mandates must end. At the same time Biden has opened America’s borders in the middle of a pandemic when we really should move faster to build the wall and secure our borders. Since my first campaign in 2008, I’ve supported ending all sanctuary city policies and called for the deportation of all illegal immigrants, with the spread of the China virus this is more important than ever.”

Wisconsin is working on its budget right now. What is the most important thing to be included?

“Enemies like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea all have, or will soon acquire, the capacity to deliver unimaginable destruction in minutes, with little or no warning. Our water utilities, energy grid, emergency and transportation system must be prepared to withstand an electro-magnetic pulse caused by a high-altitude nuclear detonation that would cripple electrical circuits and cause a nationwide blackout. Transportation must be a priority, both local road aid and highway maintenance is essential for national defense. The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was created during the Cold War and provides a way for quickly moving troops across the country and of evacuating cities if the United States is attacked by atomic bombs. Highways also provide a straight and flat place for airplanes to land during emergencies and in times of war.”

His statement of candidacy reads:

“I’ve always wanted to serve our American nation. That’s why, after graduating from high school, I enlisted in the Air Force for four years. On duty during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I received the Joint Service Achievement Medal for meritorious service. I believe in term limits; they are my No. 1 priority and I have fought for them in previous campaigns. No one should remain in one elected office for more than two terms or eight years, a precedent intentionally set by our first president, George Washington, after we gained independence in a revolution against a king who ruled for life.”

* This story has been condensed due to space avialability. A full version of this story appears on The Courier website at www.courierenews.com.



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