With enormous challenges facing our state economy and an open seat in the 80th Assembly District, residents have a chance to choose between two people with very different backgrounds and distinct priorities and ideas.
That’s how an election should be. The things I’ve done in my career, my local public service and my volunteer work prepare me to hit the ground running to take on the many challenges facing our state.
I’m a lifelong resident of Evansville, a small-business owner, an accountant, a former nonprofit executive director and a local government official.
As a small-business owner, I know about creating jobs, making payroll and taking care of the people you work with. I know what a struggle it can be to provide health insurance as a small-business owner and how the state could help by creating purchasing pools.
Having done small-business accounting, I know the importance of balancing a budget -- and I know how to do it. With the state facing a $2.7 billion deficit, this is a vital skill. We need to reduce spending while protecting top priorities of job creation, education, public safety and access to health care. We also need to increase revenue -- and the best way to do that is to get people back to work.
One area where I differ starkly from my opponent is my strong belief that we must not undo laws that banned accounting gimmicks that allowed large corporations to dodge taxes by locating post office boxes in another state. Tax fairness is a top priority of mine because it means that families and small businesses no longer have to pay more while huge companies that ship jobs overseas get tax breaks.
I hold a strong belief in public service. That’s why I served on the Evansville City Council and later was elected mayor of Evansville. Neither job paid more than a few thousand dollars a year, but they provided me with invaluable information on economic development, planning, smart growth issues, transportation and public safety.
Other public service that has prepared me to bring new ideas to the Legislature includes my role as vice chair of the Stoughton Hospital Board, serving on the board of the Literacy Connection for Rock County, and my role as secretary of the Evansville Post 6905 VFW Auxiliary, where I’ve seen the many challenges facing our veterans.
Another issue I feel a special passion for is renewable energy. When I served on the Water and Light Committee, Evansville became one of the first communities to participate in the state Focus on Energy program. Clean, renewable energy is good for our natural resources and our pocketbooks and it’s a great source for future jobs right here in Wisconsin.
These principals and experiences led to my endorsement by 14 unions, the League of Conservation Voters, Clean Wisconsin, the Sierra Club, Fair Wisconsin, Citizen Action, Planned Parenthood and the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans.
I’m a Democrat, but I make a point of working with all people. My office will always have an open door. The top lesson I’ve learned through my experiences is that you can resolve a lot when you really listen.
I’m ready to be your representative and to get to work on your behalf right away. For more information, please visit my website, JanisRinghand.org. I’d be honored if you would vote for me on Nov. 2 to represent our community at the Capitol.
Janis Ringhand is the Democratic candidate for Assembly in District 80.
Editor’s note: Columns by candidates will run online until Nov. 2.