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US Congress District 6 Candidate Q&A

Responses to League generated questions: US Congress District 6

In the interest of informing voters, the League of Women Voters of Ozaukee County reached out to candidates on the November 3rd ballot in contested races that affect Ozaukee County voters. In an email and follow-up mailing, State and US Congress candidates were invited to respond to League member-generated questions. Campaign email addresses and mailing addresses were obtained from Campaign Registration Statements for State candidates and from campaign websites for US Congress candidates. Candidate responses could either be in writing with a 300-word limit per question or in a virtual video/audio response with a 2-minute time limit per question, using the League’s Zoom platform. Either the written response or the recorded video/audio response is posted here verbatim and unedited. Lack of response from a candidate is also noted. Responses are posted in ballot order and as they are received. Jessica King (D) submitted written responses on September 27, 2020 and no response, written or virtual, has been received from Incumbent Glenn Grothman (R) as of this posting on September 29, 2020.

Not sure who is/are your elected official(s)? Find “My Elected Officials” at: My Voter Info then find your candidates’ responses below. US Congress District 6: Jessica King (D) vs. Incumbent Glenn Grothman (R) League members generated the following questions:

Intro: Tell voters about your qualifications and why you are running for office. COVID-19: What measures do you support to address both the public health issues and the economic issues related to COVID-19? Climate/Environment: What federal responses would you support related to the extreme weather conditions which we have been experiencing across the nation, including flooding and forest fires? Healthcare: What is your solution for providing affordable healthcare for uninsured Americans? Bipartisanship: What are your ideas for getting both parties to work together in order to serve all Wisconsinites? Election Security: What measures do you support for addressing foreign interference in our elections? Your Priorities: What issues are your top priorities? The following responses were shared by Jessica King (D) on September 27, 2020 via email. These responses have not been edited in any way except to indicate the word count for each response (instructions required candidates to respond in 300-words or less). No response has been received by Incumbent Glenn Grothman (R). 1. Intro: Tell Voters about your qualifications and why you are running for office. I have previously served in the Wisconsin state legislature as state Senator of District 18, including parts of Dodge, Fond du Lac and Winnebago counties. While in the Wisconsin legislature I served as Chair of the Workforce Development, Job Training and Technical Colleges committee. I also served as a member of the Education and Corrections committee, the Labor, Public Safety and Urban Affairs committee, the Agriculture, Forestry and Higher Education committee, and the Legal Revisions committee.

I previously served on the Oshkosh Common Council as a member and Deputy Mayor. During these 2 terms the Council recruited a new city manager, started the city’s strategic plan cycles, created a sustainability committee, supported investment in public infrastructure including renovation of the Oshkosh Convention Center, the Grand Opera House and breaking ground on Oshkosh’s River walk. I have experience serving during the floods of 2008, which caused hardship for families in Oshkosh.

During the housing crisis of 2005, I helped local families save their homes from foreclosure. During the Great Recession, I helped local small businesses reorganize their finances to keep their doors open to the public. I have previously worked for the U.S. Department of Justice as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee, and as adjunct faculty for the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. I am the Vice President of Clinical Denials program at RSource Healthcare, a nation- wide company that represents hospitals and their patients in pursuit of payment for medical bills wrongfully denied by health insurance companies and government payers.

I have lived experience. I’m a working mom, the daughter disabled parents, who was incredibly grateful for the services provided to me while I was in foster care. I understand the balance between opportunity, hard work and accountability better than most people in Congress. It’s time for change. [297 words] 2. COVID-19: What measures do you support to address both the public health issues and the economic issues related to COVID-19? Our response must put people and communities above party politics. I support the SMART Act which provides $500 billion in direct aid to state and local governments impacted by the pandemic. The SMART Act would eliminate the 500,000-population threshold required for aid under the CARES Act so our local municipalities would qualify for relief. I support the manufacturing and distribution of rapid coronavirus tests that do not require clinical lab processing, so asymptomatic carriers could use this knowledge to be heroes by staying home and saving lives.

Congress should support homeowners and renters by offering rent assistance to landlords on behalf of renters to protect those displaced by COVID-19 from eviction. Congress should offer counterpart relief and mortgage modifications to out of work homeowners, to protect them from foreclosure. Congress must support frontline workers, including teachers, childcare and family care workers. Without permanent support of these essential workers, our recession will deepen. We must support working families, and make sure they have the ability to participate in the economy to their fullest knowing their loved ones are receiving quality care. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the Great Recession. Let’s work together and preserve our country’s wealth, health and economic functioning. [201 words]

3. Climate/Environment: What federal responses would you support related to the extreme weather conditions which we have been experiencing across the nation, including flooding and forest fires?

Let’s mitigate climate change. The federal government must pass legislation to exceed the standards set in the Paris Agreement to ensure a sustainable future. I believe there is an opportunity to focus on a clean and renewable future as we plan our economic recovery from recession and pandemic. I support federal funding for climate smart infrastructure, restoration of wetlands and incentivized regenerative agriculture. We must close loopholes that sidestep the Clean Water Act and fully fund the EPA.

Wisconsin farmers have a role to play in a sustainable future. My plan is to advocate for incentivizing those farms who commit to growing non-commodity food crops. This will build up and support regional food systems. I will support USDA’s promotion of buying local and regional agricultural products, as a means to provide new and larger local markets for smaller farms. We need ease regulations to allow farmers to participate in renewable energy generation.

I will support an economic recovery that focuses on a sustainable future. I support high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options. I upgrading to make energy efficient buildings and weatherizing homes. I support proposals to generate clean, American-made electricity to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. America can become the global leader in the production of electric vehicles.

As our recession deepens, I support the creation of a civilian climate corps to work on conserving public lands, bolstering community resilience, and addressing the changing climate. My grandfather served in the Civilian Conservation Corp in Wisconsin, and gained valuable experience and knowledge. Let’s recreate this public service opportunity and create new energy-efficient infrastructure projects including restoring wetlands, planting millions of trees, and building hiking and bike trails.

I was taught growing up in Wisconsin to leave natural spaces in better shape than you found them. Let’s get to work! [300 words]

4. Healthcare: What is your solution for providing affordable healthcare for uninsured Americans? I support universal healthcare coverage. I would love to buy into a public option rather than continue to pay my astronomically high deductible plan premiums so that another CEO can receive $20 million in compensation per year. Our current health insurance system is unsustainable.

I support a federal public option with income-based premiums rather than premiums based on health or claim history. Reimbursement rates to providers for services should be calculated with a population density component to ensure access to providers in rural areas.

I would support modifying ERISA to allow private sector health plans to enroll their employees in the federal public option as their opt-in employee option. Some employers have more generous coverage to attract employees and I believe they should have that option. Some employer plans cover IVF or bariatric surgery or new cancer therapies, and it is understandable that employees and employers want to keep this coverage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us losing employment also means losing employer-sponsored health insurance. Many people have lost their health insurance during a time when they need it most. An affordable public option should be part of our sustainable future. COVID-19 has clarified that public health is linked to our national security and economic strength. [206 words]

5. Bipartisanship: What are your ideas for both parties to work together in order to serve all Wisconsinites? I believe we are more alike than different. I have previous elected experience demonstrating my ability to vote for sound policy regardless of who drafted the bill. It is important to put the community above party. As an elected person I believe it is possible to find issues that I can support with each of my peers.

When Representative Grothman and I served in the state legislature, we could agree on the need to limit the predatory nature of the “rent to own” industry. Senator Mary Lazich and I talked about improving the quality of life of foster children. State Senator Dale Schutz and I worked together to hold a joint hearing on UW System funding.

During my term in the state senate I had an 80% bipartisan voting record. I offered amendments to legislation during a time when few people would be willing to stray from talking points because I truly wanted to make the proposed laws better. I served on the Legal harmonization committee to ensure that legislation passed did not conflict with existing laws or to clarify if a change or elaboration was needed. People who are elected need to lead us to a future of working together and building civility. I believe it starts by meeting with each of your colleagues to discuss the issues they care about and finding one that you can work on together. [231 words]

6. Election Security: What measures do you support for addressing foreign interference in our elections?

I support legislation to provide funding for election security, including election security grants for states to improve election security measures. I support measures that require candidates and political committees notify the FBI and other authorities if a foreign power offers campaign assistance. Campaigns should be prohibited from exchanging campaign-related information with foreign governments and their agents. I support a ban on voting machines which are connected to the internet and those machines which are produced in foreign countries.

I would support the Elections Technology Research Act that establishes and funds a Center of Excellence in Election Systems at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to test the security and accessibility of voting equipment, along with authorizing NIST and the National Science Foundation to research voting technology security. [129 words]

7. Your Priorities: What issues are your top priorities?

We need a healthcare system that working families and small employers can afford. We need consumer protections when health insurance companies wrongfully deny payment for medical bills. The United States has the 3rd largest population in the world, we should receive a volume price discount, rather than be the people who pay highest prices for medication. Deaths from hypertension, diabetes and heart disease are preventable if people can see their doctors and afford their medication. 3 out of 10 people are not taking their prescribed medications correctly because of cost. Representative Grothman voted against the Lower Drug Costs Now Act, H.R. 3 which would have reduced the costs of medication for working families.

Treatment of pre-existing conditions is a matter of life or death, and we cannot go back to system that denies health coverage to people with diabetes or high blood pressure. We need to improve the healthcare system we already have, and not rest until working families can afford their medications and access affordable healthcare.

I’m tired of a system that rewards a health care CEO with a salary of $20 Million because they found new, clever ways of price gouging families or denying medically necessary treatment. For 7 years as an attorney I have been representing patients and hospital providers against health insurance companies to get wrongfully denied medical bills paid. Healthcare reform must include fee shifting as part of its dispute process so that patients can find advocates to fight a wrongfully denied medical bill. Fee shifting principles for consumer protection exist in other federal laws, and I think it is time they are part of our healthcare legislation.

If you want affordable medications and access to rural based medical specialists, you need to vote for someone that will advocate for price negotiation and rural access. [300 words]

End of responses received by Jessica King (D). No responses have been received by Incumbent Grothman (R) as of this posting on September 29, 2020.