FOND DU LAC – Two Republican candidates in the 59th Assembly District race will face off Aug. 9.
Ty Bodden and Vinny Egle are on the ballot for the primary, and with no official Democratic candidate, the winner will be uncontested on Nov. 8.
Both are hoping to replace Rep. Timothy Ramthun, who is running for governor.
The 59th District covers the east side of Fond du Lac County, west side of Sheboygan County and portions of Calumet and Washington counties.
Members of the Wisconsin Assembly serve a two-year term and are paid $53,000 annually.
Each candidate was provided a list of questions and were limited to a 100-word response. Answers were lightly edited for style, grammar and length. For more information on your polling location, how to register to vote and what’s on your ballot, visit myvote.wi.gov.
- Address: 419 N. Military Road, Hilbert
- Age: 28
- Occupation and highest education level: Legislative researcher; master’s degree.
- Relevant Experience: Four years on the Stockbridge Village Board, chairman of the Republican Party in Calumet County. Spent three years running a nonprofit organization, Cristo Rey Ranch, in Mount Calvary.
- Address: N188 U.S. 45, Kewaskum
- Age: 44
- Occupation and highest level of education: local small business owner; 12th grade
- Relevant Experience: I served on the Board of Directors of the Tavern League of Wisconsin for the past five years and was an influential part of the Tavern League suing Governor Evers to reopen small businesses throughout Wisconsin on May 13, 2020. Small business owner in rural Kewaskum 10 years. My wife and I have raised funds for: Honor Flight, the 98 fund-Alaska Project, Vets Roll, Hogs for Heroes, food pantries and Shining Stars Dance Team. I have been called on by fellow community members to listen, research and speak on their behalf when it comes to topics that directly relate to small business.
Why are you running for office, and what makes you the best candidate for this race?
Bodden: I have a young family: a three year old daughter and a newborn at home, and I am worried about what their future will look like. We can’t trust our elections and what is going on in our schools. It is time to step up and do something about it.
Egle: In 2020, many small businesses were deemed non-essential and forced to shut down to then open with extreme mandates and restrictions on capacity. Even today we continue to struggle with supply and work force shortages. This whole tailspin comes from extreme government overreach by Andrea Palm and Tony Evers, who has never had the best interest of small business owners in mind. His blatant overreach has slowly strangled out many small businesses during his administration. I decided that something had to be done! I want to be a “go-to” person to make changes and have a common middle-class voice heard in Madison.
What are residents telling you are their greatest concerns, and how would you address them?
Bodden: The people do not trust our elections and we need to restore election integrity in this state. People are concerned about the economy and the cost of living. We need to pass legislation making our election safe and secure again and we need to lower taxes and put more money back into the taxpayers’ hands.
Egle: Voter integrity, lack of staff and protecting our Second Amendment. We need to restore faith in the election process by enforcing a proven accurate form of identification of all voters. We must keep non-profit organizations out of elections. We need to revive Wisconsin’s workforce by implementing a fast and effective reporting system of abuse and fraud of unemployment. Business owners/managers don’t have a lot of time to turn in people that are not showing up for interviews or jobs that they were hired for. As for the Second Amendment, I will do everything possible to protect “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
What is the most pressing issue facing Wisconsin, and how would you address it?
Bodden: There are many issues that people care about, but addressing the problems with our education system, election integrity and the cost of gas are serious issues. We need to get back to the basics and stop the indoctrination in our schools and push for universal school choice.
Egle: We need to make Wisconsin a safe place to live. Judges and district attorneys need to be held accountable and put a stop to the soft sentencing. With that being said, we need to look at the structure of pay and benefits of our prison system employees as they continue to be forced to work overwhelming schedules that not only effects their mental and physical wellbeing, but their home lives too.
Would you vote to repeal Wisconsin’s ban on abortions, or to add exemptions to the law?
Bodden: I would not repeal Wisconsin’s ban on abortion and I do not believe in exceptions to the law. Rape and incest are terrible and tragic acts, but murder is murder. I am proud to be the 100% pro-life candidate in this race. I am endorsed by Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Right to Life and some of the most pro-life members of the state legislature. We need to make adoption easier and cheaper. Reforms need to happen. We need to work closer with our pregnancy centers to give moms the resources they need.
Egle: I absolutely will not repeal Wisconsin’s ban on abortion; however, I feel there should be exemptions for incest or rape, but only within the first six weeks. Incest and rape aren’t Godly acts and only if the woman feels the need to term the pregnancy, she has an option. Please note that just because there is an option in these cases that not all women who are confronted with this situation will abort.
What are your views on gun violence and what can the Legislature do to address it?
Bodden: As a long-time NRA member and someone who has received an AQ rating from the NRA, I can say that guns are not the problem. The constitution gives us the right to keep and bear arms. We have a mental health problem in this country, which is leading to all of the issues that we are facing in society. Fifty-six percent of adults that have a mental illness do not receive treatments. We need to address mental health and find ways to secure our schools. I would like to see our state become a constitutional carry state and a Second Amendment Sanctuary.
Egle: Our Constitution states, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” I am for Constitutional Carry. With Constitutional Carry, like the situation in Greenwood Park Mall, Elisjsha Dicken saved many people’s lives. With more people able to carry, we can defend ourselves even when there are no police present. We understand that police can’t be everywhere all the time. The Legislature needs to raise the minimum bail for defendants with previous gun violence, bail jumping, or have a record. Judges and district attorneys also need to be held accountable and stop with the soft sentencing.
What would you do to make voting more accessible in Wisconsin to people with disabilities and others with transportation challenges?
Bodden: Every legal adult citizen has the right to vote and that should not be taken away. However, we do need to make some election reforms by auditing and eliminating the indefinitely confined list. We need to get back to enforcing our voter ID laws, ban ballot harvesting, and make sure that the person that’s voting is returning the ballot. We need to make sure voting is easy to do, but hard to cheat.
Egle: Voters can be put on the indefinitely confined list which they will then have a ballot mailed to them if they vote in each election to stay on the list. My definition of indefinitely confined means that the person isn’t physically able to get to their polling station due to a short- or long-term limitation.
Do you support dismantling the Wisconsin Elections Commission?
Bodden: The Wisconsin Elections Commission needs to be abolished. There are several ideas floating around out there, but the power needs to go to an elected position like the Secretary of State’s office. We also need more legislative oversight and power over the election process. If the power goes an elected official or elected officials, there is more accountability.
Egle: Yes, the Wisconsin Elections Commission is not following the letter of the law and should be dismantled. I believe all election processes should be handled by an elected position like the Secretary of State. The Legislature then can have open communication with the Secretary of State to know how the processes are handled. There would then be accountability throughout the whole process.