SHEBOYGAN COUNTY – On Tuesday, Nov. 8, the seat for Wisconsin State Assembly District 26 will be up for grabs. The race will pit Republican incumbent Terry Katsma against Democratic challenger Lisa Salgado.
Katsma, a former bank president and CEO, was first elected to the Assembly in 2014, and is seeking his fifth term. Salgado, a healthcare professional, is seeking her first term in the Assembly.
Both candidates were given five questions about issues facing Sheboygan County and how they would address these issues. Here are their responses.
1) Why are you running for this office?
Katsma: I am a firm believer in limited government, free markets, and federalism (state’s rights). Residents of Sheboygan County are interested in a state government that is efficient, effective and accountable. I know that I am answerable to the roughly 58,000 residents of the 26th Assembly District. I want to make the State of Wisconsin and Sheboygan County a better place to work, live and play for my children and grandchildren.
Salgado: Most of the main issues that residents care about are related to healthcare. I’ve worked in healthcare for 30 years. I understand the complex public health and economic challenges that we face because I see the impact of healthcare policies every day, and I will be a strong advocate for my community.
2) What do you believe are the three biggest issues facing this district?
Katsma: (A) Tax Relief - Last session I authored one of the biggest middle-class tax cuts in state history and I think we can work to provide relief to those getting hammered the hardest by runaway inflation by reducing taxes again next year. (B) K-12 Education - Parents and grandparents are demanding new educational options for K-12 students. I think we need to work with families to find the best opportunities for Wisconsin kids. (C) Election Integrity - Last session I supported numerous election integrity bills, including prohibiting private dollars going to local governments to influence elections. Unfortunately Governor Evers blocked these ideas.
Salgado: The three main issues are election integrity, inflation and healthcare privacy and personal freedoms.
3) If elected, how will you ensure that the constituents of Sheboygan County will be well-represented?
Katsma: Many candidates make promises or claim that they will change this or that when they are elected. I have a proven track record of reasonable and responsible leadership in the Assembly as noted by my appointment to represent my caucus on the Joint Committee on Finance, the budget writing and tax policy committee in the Legislature. In addition, I have earned the respect of members of the opposite party. My staff and I provide consistent, meaningful constituent relations; for instance, we have advocated for hundreds of constituents since 2020 who encountered severe delays receiving their professional licenses or unemployment compensation from the Evers administration.
Salgado: Time and again special interest groups influence politicians. I will represent the residents of my district by ensuring that schools are funded, personal freedoms are protected, access to healthcare, protect Social Security and Medicare and that taxes stay low. We also need to give back control to local governments.
4) Inflation is at the forefront of everyone's minds right now. If elected, what are your plans to help address this at the state level?
Katsma: There is very little the state government can do to combat inflation because your state government isn’t causing it. The federal government has poured gasoline on the fire by printing trillions of dollars it doesn’t have; attacking everyone who fuels a home or a car; and giving taxpayer-funded handouts to their favorite voters. In contrast, your state government is constitutionally required to live within its means, according to a balanced budget, with no deficit spending allowed. I am committed to continuing the responsible, realistic leadership that Wisconsin Republicans have been delivering for more than a decade.
Salgado: We need another 10% tax cut for the middle class, child care credit, reducing the gas tax and increasing the shared revenue, to shift money from the state to municipalities.
5) Several school districts in the state will have a referendum on the ballot this November. Do you believe schools have been properly funded by the state? Why or why not?
Katsma: There are five public school districts in the 26th Assembly District: Sheboygan, Sheboygan Falls, Cedar Grove-Belgium, Oostburg, and Random Lake. I meet regularly with their superintendents, and there is more money reaching the classrooms today than ever before. In fact, K-12 funding is already the single largest spending component of state government; every budget I have voted for has increased funding for K-12 education. However we have seen recently that public finding isn’t the only key to student achievement; parents today need options for connecting their kids with education that works for them.
Salgado: Republicans froze district spending by not adjusting revenue limits, which froze school budgets. There are a lot of open positions for teachers, educational assistants and bus drivers. Teacher and staff salary raises this year will not keep pace with inflation and there is competition with the private sector. With declining enrollment for the last few years in Sheboygan, there has been a decline in revenue for schools, which is based on a per-pupil ratio. It is time to create a more equitable school funding system that ensures all schools have the funding they need for each student.
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