U.S. Senate candidate Baldwin campaigns in western WisconsinU.S Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) made a campaign swing through western Wisconsin late last week, including a brief stop in New Richmond.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
U.S Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) made a campaign swing through western Wisconsin late last week, including a brief stop in New Richmond.
The New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce has invited each of the candidates in the 2012 U.S. Senate race to stop by and meet its membership. Baldwin is the first of the candidates to take the chamber up on its offer.
A small group of local officials and chamber members attended the Friday afternoon event at Lola’s Family Restaurant.
Chamber Executive Director Russ Korpela used the opportunity to thank Baldwin for her support for Congressional efforts to exempt the proposed Stillwater bridge project from the Wild and Scenic Riverway Act. Baldwin toured the current bridge and heard about the project during a visit to the region over the Thanskgiving holiday.
Baldwin said it’s obvious that the bridge project makes sense for the region, both from an economic standpoint and an infrastructure standpoint.
She said the bi-partisan effort proved that things can get done in Washington, D.C. when elected officials put their differences aside and do what’s best for the public.
If elected as Wisconsin’s U.S. senator, Baldwin said she hopes to bring that same sense of cooperation to the nation’s capitol, which has seen its fair share of discord in recent years.
“Why would you do this if you didn’t think you could make a difference?” she asked. “Now it’s time to sit down again. I think there will be a window of up to two years when things will be less toxic in Washington and we’ll be able to get things done.”
Baldwin asked those in attendance how St. Croix County has fared during the national recession.
Korpela said the housing industry certainly came to a halt, but overall this part of the state has done well. And things seem to be improving, he added.
“In the last six months I feel a renewed uptick in commercial activity,” he said.
Mayor Fred Horne agreed, noting that one home builder applied for 10 permits recently.
“The housing market is coming back,” he told Baldwin. “It’s not what it was three years ago, but…”
He said inquiries from businesses interested in relocating to western Wisconsin are also increasing.
“We’re doing our dog-and-pony shows for companies,” he said. “We haven’t sealed the deal on any of them, but we’re working with them.”
Baldwin told those in attendance that her campaign has gone well so far, even though most people are focusing on Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election right now rather than other races.
“It’s obviously a very unique year to do this (run for Senate) with all the stuff that’s happening,” she said. “I’m just listening and telling people what I’m about. I’m just somebody who is trying to fight for the people.”
As she campaigns, Baldwin said most voters are concerned about two things – the apparent disconnect between those in Washington, D.C. and those struggling to make ends meet back home.
“The challenge is to get our economy going again,” she said.
People are also fed up with the political games that are played among elected officials, she added.
“We need to reach across the aisle and get things done,” she said. “It’s the way I always approach my work. I’m disinclined to participate in that partisan rhetoric.”
Baldwin has represented Wisconsin’s Second Congressional District since 1999.
She served in the Wisconsin Assembly from 1993 to 1999, and served four terms on the Dane County Board from 1986-1994.
Apart from her stop in New Richmond, Baldwin also attended campaign events in Hudson and River Falls during her visit to the region.