Incumbent Democrat Jennifer Shilling faces a challenge from Republican Bill Feehan.
Occupation: Business owner
Address: 1901 Cherokee Ave., La Crosse
Family: Married to Sue Kolve-Feehan; daughter; two stepchildren; and two grandchildren
Education: Bachelor's degree in psychology, University of Minnesota, 1992
Public service: County Board supervisor, 2010-12; Criminal Justice Management Council, 2010-12; La Crosse County Board of Health, 2010-12; La Crosse Municipal Parking Utility, 2010
Address: 2608 Main St., La Crosse
Occupation: State senator
Family: Married to Chris; two sons
Education: Graduate of UW-La Crosse, 1992
Public service: La Crosse County Board, 1990-92; state Assembly, 2000-11; State Senate, 2011-present
What makes you stand out as a candidate?
Feehan: My experience as a business owner who has created jobs, my public service as a county supervisor and my service on various committees and the Board of Health.
Shilling: We need elected officials who will work to restore trust, rebuild relationships and refocus our attention to the important issues at hand. I have a long history of standing up for the issues and values that are important to our region, and my background and proven leadership have helped me to effectively work across the aisle to get things done in Madison.
If elected, would you revisit the issues of mining and venture capital? If so, how would you break the current impasse on these issues?
Feehan: Yes, I would vote for the mining bill in its current form, and I would support the venture capital bill.
Shilling: Mining reform and venture capital are important issues that must be addressed, but we need to listen to Wisconsin families and businesses — not out-of-state special interests. I supported the bipartisan Schultz/Jauch mining bill because it was a reasonable compromise of streamlined regulations, economic development and common-sense environmental protections.
What is your plan for improving the state's economy and adding jobs, and how would you get fellow lawmakers on board with it?
Feehan: A good start would be passing the mining and venture capital bills. In addition, we need to make sure that Wisconsin has competitive tax rates and sensible regulatory policy. When our state returns to prosperity, reinvesting in K-12, UW and technical college systems should be a priority.
Shilling: We need to ease the burden on small businesses while also addressing the skills gap that is preventing many companies from finding skilled workers to fill open positions. Some high-demand programs at our technical colleges have waiting lists of up to three years, and we need to invest in these worker training programs to help put more people to work.
The governor has said he does not plan to enforce key parts of the Affordable Care Act, at least not until the November election. What is your stance on this issue?
Feehan: I support the governor's position.
Shilling: The decision to sit on the sidelines and do nothing is hurting working families, seniors and small businesses. We need to act now to help lower health care costs, improve services and expand access. A made-in-Wisconsin private sector health care exchange is one solution that will simplify the insurance marketplace, increase competition and keep prices affordable.
For more candidate profiles, visit go.madison.com/voterguide.