Neumann stumps for conservative voteThe last time U.S. Senate candidate Mark Neumann was in New Richmond, he was coaching the River Falls seventh grade basketball team in a game against the Tigers.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
The last time U.S. Senate candidate Mark Neumann was in New Richmond, he was coaching the River Falls seventh grade basketball team in a game against the Tigers.
That was in the late 1980s, when Neumann was a middle school teacher and completing his master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
His visit to the community on May 2 was under completely different circumstances. The former member of the U.S. House of Representatives is running to become Wisconsin’s next U.S. senator, replacing retiring Herb Kohl.
Neumann said his campaign has been going very well of late. He’s pleased with recent endorsements from conservatives like Jim DeMint and Rand Paul.
“Our state is very conservative right now,” he said. “We have a strong conservative base.”
Neumann admitted that Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election has overshadowed the U.S. Senate race of late, but that’s the way it should be.
“The recall will likely set the tone for the fall,” Neumann said, adding the results of the gubernatorial election on June 5 will impact the presidential race as well.
As for his campaign, Neumann faces some strong competition from within his own party. Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and hedge fund management firm CEO Eric Hovde are all in the race as Republicans.
“I’ve actually outraised Tommy Thompson so far,” Neumann reported. “That’s pretty amazing.”
Neumann said he feels like the most electable candidate of the Republican bunch.
He has Congressional experience from his terms in the House (1995-99), helped to balance the federal budget at that time, and was a conservative voice during a time when the nation’s economy was booming, he said.
He said he also has a business background that gives him a different perspective on government and what needs to be done to spur on the economy.
“I’m a home builder by trade,” he said. “Have been for 25 years … creating Wisconsin jobs all the while.”
Neumann said he has also helped to co-found Christian choice schools in Milwaukee and Phoenix that gives him a solid understanding of the business of education.
If elected, Neumann said he pledges to work with his colleagues to balance the federal budget within five years. Neumann said he plans to create a payment plan that will help to pay off the $16 trillion national debt within 30 years.
“That’s the big picture vision,” he said. “I come from the business world. We need a good, solid business plan to get it done. We have it all laid out.”
Neumann indicated he also supports the repeal of President Barack Obama’s controversial health care act. His campaign has also published 150 specific budget cuts that he would support if he is elected senator. On the list are such items as a three-year freeze on pay and bonuses for federal employees, a reduction in the federal contractor workforce by 15 percent, and an end to foreign aid to countries with more than $10 billion in U.S. treasuries.
“It’s unique to have a plan of line item entries,” Neumann said. “It shows how we’re going to do what we’re setting out to do.”
Neumann also mentioned that he’d represent this part of the state well as senator, having lived in this region for several years.
“We understand that this is an important part of Wisconsin,” he said. “We have an understanding of what this part of the state is all about, and we have a lot of good memories from our time here.”
If elected, Neumann noted, this might be the first time Wisconsin has had two conservative U.S. senators in office at the same time. Newcomer Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) defeated long-time senator Russ Feingold in 2010 and has become a conservative leader in Washington, D.C., Neumann said. He said he would back Johnson for a Senate leadership position if given the chance.
On the Democratic side of the aisle, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin is the front runner in the race to replace Kohl. Gregory Paules, a social worker, is the other announced candidate at this time.