Sections

Weather Forecast

Close

Election 2016: 30th Assembly District

Scott Nelson, Shannon Zimmerman and Aaron Taylor vie for the 30th Assembly seat.

With the 2016 Fall Election slated for Tuesday, Nov. 8, we here at the New Richmond News are providing profiles of the candidates running for office.

In addition to the 30th Assembly District candidate profiles below, you can follow the links for the 7th Congressional District here; the 29th Assembly District here; and the St. Croix County District attorney's race (View forum here)and the 28th Assembly District here ...

The following is a look at each of those candidates:

Shannon ZimmermanShannon Zimmerman

Republican

Age: 44

Address: 429 Jefferson St., River Falls, WI 54022

Occupation: Founder and CEO, Sajan, Inc.

Education: Attended Augusta High School; Chippwa Valley Technical College; UW-Milwaukee

Family: Wife, Angel; adult sons: Josh (wife Mandy, daughters Taylor and Addy); Nick (son Montee)

Civic involvement: UW-River Falls Foundation Board; UWRF Chancellor’s Advisory Committee; Rotary; served on Board of WI Department of Workforce Development; coached Youth Football for seven years

Q. The condition of our roads in this Assembly district and across the state are being questioned in light of the issues surrounding transportation funding. Do you think there should be greater funding for transportation? If so, how do tax increases or budget cuts figure into your solution?

A. Transportation infrastructure is one of the keys to our economy. It is falling behind and we need to fix it. A sustainable long-term solution will require a variety of measures. We must carefully evaluate all DOT projects and properly prioritize. All expenses should be diligently scrutinized. Once we have completed that work, we must evaluate how we fund, while reducing our historical pattern of borrowing. The solution must be met with an open and creative mind, as all options are on the table to ensure we effectively resolve this issue.

Q. The trend in education appears to be that there are fewer qualified teachers available and fewer dollars being provided for public schools. What is your stance on the funding of education in light of the competition for dollars that has come from the state’s increased funding of voucher schools?

A. Education is critical to our future in Wisconsin. This question has two distinct components. First, I favor increased funding to K-12 schools, especially our local public schools. We are fortunate in the 30th district to have some exceptional schools and teachers. As in all cases where tax dollars are applied, taxpayers should expect schools be good stewards with the funds. Next, I also recognize that other parts of Wisconsin may not be as fortunate and parents should have the right to choose education alternatives if they feel it appropriate.

Q. Western and northeastern Wisconsin historically has been an agriculture-driven economy, but with the decrease in the number of farms in District 30 and the rock-bottom prices for commodities at the present time, what measures will you take to ensure that the farming communities remain viable for years to come?

A. Agriculture is core to our great Wisconsin identity. This industry, just like many others, is in a state of evolution and change. Wisconsin should continue technology and best practices transfer to our farms from our great schools of agriculture. Marketing and export support should continue. And very importantly, agriculture benefits by keeping property tax relief a priority.

Q. Health care is a continuing issue, especially in light of our aging population here in this state. Are there specific health care issues you might champion to help your constituents here in the 30th Assembly District?

A. The topic of health care can be complex and broad reaching. Government’s role is to make sure we are providing for our poorest and most vulnerable. Those who qualify for Medicaid should obtain adequate access. Additionally, we need to continue to support programs such as SeniorCare, which provides drug assistance to our senior citizens. Proactive or preventative education measures to emphasize healthy living are one example to bring relief. Government should then give way to private sector health care solutions to avoid unnecessary or excessive burden on the taxpayers.

---

Scott NelsonScott Nelson

Democrat

Name: Scott J. Nelson

Age: 51

Address: 809 Hutton Hill Road, Hudson

Occupation: Retired firefighter, captain at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport Fire Department

Education: Associate’s fire science degree — National Fire Academy

Family: Wife, Ericka

Civic involvement: Current St. Croix County Supervisor, District 8; member of Public Protection and Judiciary Committee; Transportation Committee; Local Emergency Planning, Committee Transportation Sub-Committee; Transportation Ad-hoc Facility Committee; I-94 Corridor Committee; WIAA/MSHSL high school sports official; American Legion member; meals on wheels volunteer.

Q. The condition of our roads in this Assembly district and across the state are being questioned in light of the issues surrounding transportation funding. Do you think there should be greater funding for transportation? If so, how do tax increases or budget cuts figure into your solution?

A. Yes, transportation funding should be increased. As a member of the Transportation Committee, I see how the funding mechanisms have affected the transportation system in Wisconsin. As I have stated in prior interviews, I am a proponent of raising the gas tax (from 33 to 35 cents) with a definite sunset clause. The secretary of transportation should tell us what the needs are for Wisconsin. Also, if a legislator says that all positions are on the table, they have no plan on how to remedy this situation. As a legislator, you need to make these decisions.

Q. The trend in education appears to be that there are fewer qualified teachers available and fewer dollars being provided for public schools. What is your stance on the funding of education in light of the competition for dollars that has come from the state’s increased funding of voucher schools?

A. I am a strong advocate for Wisconsin’s public education and UW System. I will work to restore funding to help return our education system to one of the best in the nation. The voucher system is another divide-and-conquer program to attack public schools by the current administration. Funds are being taken from public schools and given to private schools. The state taxpayers will be supporting these private schools.

Q. Western and northeastern Wisconsin historically has been an agriculture-driven economy, but with the decrease in the number of farms in District 30 and the rock-bottom prices for commodities at the present time, what measures will you take to ensure that the farming communities remain viable for years to come?

A. At the county level, we have had to wait and see how the state will, or will not, fund the UW Extension programs in each county. Should they choose not to fund, that will be yet another issue the county has to decide how to fund, another shift of funding from state to local without any financial assistance. I advocate for the return of state funding for the UW Extension programs to prior levels to assist farmers and the community. I would also ensure a well-maintained transportation system for farmers so they can operate their business without so many restrictions.

Q. Health care is a continuing issue, especially in light of our aging population here in this state. Are there specific health care issues you might champion to help your constituents here in the 30th Assembly District?

A. I would champion continued access to rural health care, funding for planned parenthood programs and other positive wellness programs. As vice chair of the Transportation Sub-Committee, our current feasibility study is looking at ways to assist with transportation needs for residents to get to health care facilities.

Q. Are you in favor of raising the minimum wage in the state of Wisconsin? Please explain your stance.

A. Yes. A good paying wage helps the employee and the community. The employee is able to establish and maintain a good quality of life which in turn supports the local economy.

Q. Are you in favor of raising the minimum wage in the state of Wisconsin? Please explain your stance.

A. I was raised in a lower income family and began working for the minimum wage. I know how hard it is to make ends meet at that pay level. That’s why we need to focus on the array of options and alternatives for people to rise above this wage. Automatically raising the wage will create an adverse ripple into the economic system, which won’t result in a long-term solution. It may look or feel good to those at that wage now, but it’s not sustainable. Instead, worker training in all forms and at all levels is a real long-term solution.

---

Aaron TaylorAaron Taylor

Age: 28

Address: 1119 State St. #251, River Falls, WI

Occupation: Analytical chemist

Education: Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, UW-River Falls

Family: Single

Civic involvement: River Falls City Council (2014-2016), Volunteer at River Falls Community Food Pantry, Alumni Board Theta Chi Fraternity Zeta Sigma Chapter

Q. The condition of our roads in this Assembly district and across the state are being questioned in light of the issues surrounding transportation funding. Do you think there should be greater funding for transportation? If so, how do tax increases or budget cuts figure into your solution?

A. Before I will support any tax increases, better fiscal management of taxes that are already collected will have to occur.

As for funding of our roads and all the infrastructure needs that connect us, that is one of the government’s primary purposes. I would support making it easier for local and county infrastructure needs to be partially covered by state revenue as well as having the state controlled infrastructure be managed the best it possibly could.

Q. The trend in education appears to be that there are fewer qualified teachers available and fewer dollars being provided for public schools. What is your stance on the funding of education in light of the competition for dollars that has come from the state’s increased funding of voucher schools?

A. There are still plenty of qualified teachers out there, but they chose to work elsewhere because they know they will not be paid a competitive salary in most Wisconsin districts. Which leads into funding of public education. Public school districts are funded mostly by property taxpayers in the school district.

The state should increase its funding to these districts to lessen the burden on the residents before funding what can be viewed as private schools. This increase in funding could be used to attract the highly qualified teachers.

Q. Western and northeastern Wisconsin historically has been an agriculture-driven economy, but with the decrease in the number of farms in District 30 and the rock-bottom prices for commodities at the present time, what measures will you take to ensure that the farming communities remain viable for years to come?

A. I will support our farmers by continuing the trend of encouraging big grocers and chains to buy locally produced meat, dairy, produce, etc. that we produce around here.

Creating incentives and working with the companies to understand the value in our supplies will ensure that our family farms can sustainably stay family farms.

I don’t know what type of incentives would be offered as of yet, but I will be thorough in whatever incentives are offered favor the taxpayers and farmers of Wisconsin more than the corporations.

Q. Health care is a continuing issue, especially in light of our aging population here in this state. Are there specific health care issues you might champion to help your constituents here in the 30th Assembly District?

A. I will encourage the Wisconsin government to fully adopt the Affordable Care Act so we can enjoy the financial support it will bring.

This along with taking a harder line with hospitals, which are “non-profit,” at charging closer to actual cost of treating patients will decrease the burden on many of our residents.

This will reduce the financial strain that happens when our residents need treatment.

I will also champion the use of medicinal cannabis seeing the benefits of this non-addictive treatment option through acquaintances using cannabis where it is legal.

Q. Are you in favor of raising the minimum wage in the state of Wisconsin? Please explain your stance.

A. I am absolutely in favor of raising the minimum wage.

Where it is at currently is not even on the same planet of being able to support oneself in the most basic of living conditions when working America’s standard work week of 40 hours.

This will be part of a whole plan that will be devised to control the cost of living and eliminating poverty completely.

Economic reform is one of my biggest passions since I am part of the generation that has, so far, been worse off economically than the previous generation since the Great Depression.

Advertisement