Tag Archives: Rick Gundrum

Gundrum for the 58th

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Incidentally, I voted absentee yesterday and there were a surprising number of people there. There were 6 other voters in the 5 to 8 minutes I was there. Obviously, one can’t extrapolate turnout based on such an anecdotal experience, but it does make me wonder if there is an unexpected surge of interest in this race. In any case, here’s the column:

The voters of the 58th Assembly District will decide on who will represent them in Madison after the unexpected death of Representative Bob Gannon. After a spirited, if abbreviated, primary election, Republican Rick Gundrum and Democrat Dennis Degenhardt will square off on January 16th in a special election. I had the opportunity to speak with both candidates, and fortunately for the voters, we are able to choose between two fundamentally decent men with starkly different perspectives.

Dennis Degenhardt recently retired from being the CEO of Glacier Hills Credit Union after a career spent in financial services. He and his wife have been married for 22 years, have four children, six grandchildren, and have been residents of the 58th for many years. Degenhardt has been active in the community as the Vice Chair of the Washington County Democratic Party, President of the Washington County Campus Foundation, involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and several other community organizations. This is Degenhardt’s first run for political office.

Rick Gundrum owns his own audio and video production business after spending years as in the radio industry. He and his wife have been married for 25 years, have two children, four grandchildren, and is a 5th generation resident of Washington County. Gundrum has been active in the community as a Trustee on the Slinger Village Board, Chairman of the Washington County Board, and various county committees.

When people idealize about self-governance, this is the kind of election they envision: two good people with decades of experience and service to their community stepping forward to represent their neighbors in the legislature. The voters of the 58th do not have to hold their noses and choose the lesser of two evils or stomach a scoundrel for political goals. Instead, the voters of the 58th get to truly choose their next representative based on the candidate’s views on the issues and the role of government in their lives.

Dennis Degenhardt wants a larger, more robust, more comprehensive government to manage our economy, healthcare, education, and other aspects of life. He thinks that Governor Walker erred in rejecting the Medicaid expansion that was part of Obamacare and believes that Wisconsin could lead on healthcare with its own healthcare exchange. Degenhardt supports vigorous regulations on business to fight against potential abuse.

Degenhardt would like to see more taxpayer money send on education, but believes that School Choice siphons off too much money from the public school system. On transportation, he would like to see the bidding process be more competitive, but is then open to additional taxes and toll roads to fund Wisconsin’s transportation infrastructure. Degenhardt thinks that the Foxconn deal is a great mistake and would have joined the majority of Democrats in voting against it had he been in the legislature at the time.

On civil rights, Degenhardt would have voted against the bill that allowed concealed carry in Wisconsin, but is resigned to it being the law of the land. He opposes any liberalization of the concealed carry law. Degenhardt is Pro-Choice believing that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.

Rick Gundrum believes in a smaller, less expensive, and less intrusive government. He supports a lighter regulatory burden on businesses and people with more decisions being made by local governments. Gundrum touts his experience on the Washington County Board in reducing costs though finding efficiencies and collaborating on services with other counties.

Gundrum wants to see lower taxes so that people can keep more of their own money. He supports Governor Walker’s agenda on taxes, spending, regulatory reform, government reform, education, and other items. Gundrum wants to see the state government work with local governments to aggressively address the opioid crisis through treatment options and rigorous law enforcement. Gundrum is pro-2nd Amendment, supports school choice, and is staunchly Pro-Life.

I will be gladly casting my vote for Rick Gundrum because he is a good man who promises to fight for the kind of government I want to have.

Whatever your choice, citizens of the 58th need to get out and vote. In-person absentee voting is open until January 12th and the election is on January 16th. Although the 58th Assembly District is overwhelmingly Republican, if there was ever to be an election where a Democrat might win, this is it. The Democrats are energized and Degenhardt is a quality candidate.

As a special election in the middle of a cold January, turnout will likely be less than 15%. Only 10.56% of the voters turned out last month for the special primary election. That means that perhaps less than 5,000 people will vote in this election and will decide who will represent the citizens of the 58th in Madison. Get out and vote, folks.

Gundrum Wins in the 58th

Congratulations to Rick Gundrum for winning the Republican primary election in the 58th Assembly District. Here are the results:

electionresults58

Few comments…

First, we owe a hearty “thank you” to the candidates for running. It is a big task and a huge disruption to someone’s life to run for public office – particularly on short notice. There wasn’t any time to raise funds, so most of them used a lot of their own money to fund their campaigns.

Second, as expected, turnout was pathetic. But we can assume that anyone who voted in this election was an informed and motivated voter. It does show how much power is put into just a few hands in an election like this. In an overwhelmingly Republic district, the odds are very strong that Gundrum will be our next Assemblyman, and he won by a mere 268 votes over the next closest opponent.

Third, although it is considered a safe Republican district, I wouldn’t take anything for granted if I were running. The Democrats are motivated and have a creditable candidate on the ballot.

 

 

Election in the 58th Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the special primary election for the 58th Assembly District. I wrote a column about the candidates here and covered the candidate forum here.

I have not yet disclosed the person for whom I will cast a vote. Frankly, it’s not an easy choice. With the exception of Spencer Zimmerman, who is a carpetbagger, all of the candidates are acceptable, but flawed. It is a reminder of the maxim that if you want a perfect candidate, then run yourself. You can read my column or other articles for a more in-depth profile of the candidates. They can all be said to be conservative and have almost identical views on the major issues. Here’s a quick snapshot of their primary controversies:

Steve Stanek gave a $3,000 donation to Tom Barrett. He says that his boss held a fundraiser and he felt compelled to make the contribution, although there is some doubt to that clam. In any case, if one takes his reason at face value, it reveals a character flaw in that he could not withstand even mild pressure (which would have been illegal anyway coming from his employer) to make such a sizable donation to someone whose political views he purports to abhor.

Tiffany Koehler was quoted in a CNN article earlier this year as supporting Obamacare. She denies that she supports Obamacare, but does support the Obamacare mandates regarding preexisting conditions and a maximum lifetime benefit cap. These positions are antithetical to conservative or free market ideology.

Rick Gundrum, in his role as the Washington County Board Chairman, authorized that some “extra” money left at the end of the budget year be given to county employees as bonuses in the form of gift cards. While such an action is fine – even laudable – in a private venture, it is not the action of an elected conservative who is entrusted with the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The money should have been returned to the taxpayers so they could have a “bonus.”

As I wrote, none of the candidates are perfect. They are people, after all. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with all of them and they are all decent people who would represent the 58th well. That being said, elections are about choices. In this case, I’m going to cast my vote tomorrow for Rick Gundrum.

Choosing the Republican candidate for the 58th

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. We have an embarrassment of riches in the 58th in that good candidates make hard choices for the voters. Here it is:

The special primary election for the 58th Assembly District is coming up quickly. Absentee in-person voting has already begun and the election is Dec. 19. The Democrats have an uncontested primary, but there are four Republicans vying for the seat.

Before evaluating the candidates, we should pause to thank them all for running. It is no easy task to reorient one’s life, place it under the microscope and ask your neighbors for their vote. This is especially true in today’s charged political environment. All of the candidates on the ballot are stepping forward to serve the citizens of the 58th Assembly District and are entitled to our gratitude for being willing to serve.

The 58th Assembly District is privileged in that there are so many good, honorable, conservative people in it who are open to public service. This brings us to the first Republican candidate, Spencer Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is a 38-year-old professional driver and flight line technician who touts himself as a “Trump Conservative.” He has run for office several times in the past few years including the 99th Assembly District in 2015, the 48th Assembly District in 2010, the Senate in Nebraska in 2012, a couple of runs for the Dane County Board and most recently challenging Paul Ryan last year. Zimmerman hails from Janesville, but plans to move to the district if he wins. With all due respect to Mr. Zimmerman, the 58th has plenty of great people who could represent them without having to import someone from Rock County.

One of those other great people is Tiffany Koehler of Slinger. Koehler lost to Bob Gannon in the Republican primary in 2014, but that did not deter Gannon from hiring Koehler as a legislative aide. If elected, Koehler pledges to continue on Gannon’s legislative agenda and to be an independent voice for the citizens of the 58th in Madison. Koehler considers herself a fiscal hawk whose background in nonprofits has honed her ability to get things done with limited resources.

Recently, CNN published a report saying that Koehler had become a supporter of Obamacare after her recent bout with cancer. Koehler said that nothing could be further from the truth and she remains a firm opponent of Obamacare. She does, however, support Obamacare’s mandate forbidding insurance companies from excluding people with pre-existing conditions and the mandate prohibiting lifetime coverage limits.

Rick Gundrum is a fifth-generation resident of Washington County who is currently the Washington County Board Chairman and serves on the Slinger Village Board. Gundrum worked in radio broadcasting before starting his audio video production business in 2000.

If elected, Gundrum promises to tackle tax reform, reforming and shrinking the state’s government bureaucracy and pushing more control to local governments. Gundrum said he has a leg up on the other candidates because of his experience working in government. He is most proud of the fact that Washington County has the lowest property tax rate since World War I, the property tax levy is the lowest in 10 years, and the county has been embarking on creative cost-saving measures like a health clinic for county employees, zero-based budgeting and merging county health services with Ozaukee County.

The last Republican candidate is Steve Stanek from West Bend. Stanek runs a small business doing disposal services. Stanek is committed to fiscal responsibility, helping Wisconsin’s businesses grow and add jobs, and public safety – particularly the effects of the opioid crisis. He has been involved with local government including serving on West Bend’s Value Task Force for the last two years. Stanek said he stands apart from the other candidates because of his capacity to be a leader and effect change.

The glaring issue that makes Republicans pause when considering Stanek is that he gave Tom Barrett a $3,000 donation in October 2010 when he was running against Scott Walker for governor. Stanek has given to several Republicans over the years, but the Barrett donation stands out. He said the donation was a “business decision” because his employer at the time held fundraisers for Barrett and encouraged the donations. That is a tough pill for a Republican primary voter to swallow, but it is, admittedly, an anomaly in Stanek’s record of political involvement.

As a voter in the 58th writing this column one week before the election, I remain undecided. Such is the consequence of a great slate of candidates from which to choose. Fortunately, Common Sense Citizens of Washington County is holding a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the West Bend Moose Lodge. This will provide an excellent opportunity for citizens of the 58th to hear the candidates for themselves and make up their minds.

Rick Gundrum Announces Run for the 58th

The field is getting more crowded. From the Washington County Insider.

Nov. 15, 2017 – Washington Co., WI – Watch for a sixth candidate to jump in the mix tomorrow and announce his candidacy for the 58th Assembly District.

Rick Gundrum, who is currently the chairman of the Washington County Board, said he will have a prepared statement in a press release that will be issued by noon Thursday.

Gundrum has quite a bit of political experience; he’s been on the Washington County Board representing District 16 in Slinger since April 2006. He’s served as

County Board Chairman
Executive Committee.
Chairman – Board of Health.
Chairman – A.D.R.C.
Chairman – Eastern Wisconsin Counties Railroad Consortium.

For the past eight years Gundrum has served as a trustee on the Slinger Village Board; he was first elected in April 2009.