To say the least, Carol Beals is not a fan of the work of the 2011–13 state Legislature.
“I’m running because it’s important to offer people a choice,” said Beals, who is running against Rep. Travis Tranel (R–Cuba City) in the 49th Assembly District Nov. 6. “I think what’s happened in Madison has been pretty devastating for rural communities like ours.”
Beals, a Grant County supervisor and administrative assistant in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science, lost to Sen. Dale Schultz (R–Richland Center) in the 2010 17th Senate District election. Running for the Assembly involves a smaller area than a Senate district, but larger than the county’s 13th District, which is the City of Platteville’s Aldermanic District 4.
“When I ran for the county board, I went out and shook the hands of people I’d represent, and tell them what I’ve done,” she said. “I’ve knocked on doors, and every door has a story behind it. And you understand the kind of issues going on.”
Beals is touting her experience working together with other supervisors. She is on her third term on the county board. Her board experience included the cutback from 31 supervisors to 17.
“I think there are more common areas than what we care to think about,” she said. “When I came to the County Board you have to learn that even if you have a difference of opinion, you have to listen to the other side, know that you’re doing what’s right for the county, and in this case the 49th District and the state.
“Everyone is tired of the divisiveness. There’s still that gap in the middle. In the County Board, I’ve learned a lot about having to come together to get the job done. At the end of the day, it’s what’s best for the district. You have to not close the door and say you’re not going to talk to that person — you still have to at the end of the day figure out how to get the job done.”
Beals sat on both sides of the controversy over public employee collective bargaining, as a UWP employee and as a county supervisor.
“Most of the time when collective bargaining disappears it’s by the governor’s executive order, not like it was in Wisconsin by statute,” she said. “If it comes back there’s going to have to be some discussion so we’re not undoing it and having to redo it. People’s lives are negatively affected by it, and you can’t have a yo-yo.
“Collective bargaining was about more than wages and benefits; it was about hours of work, and it’s about workplace conditions; it’s about how you get the job done. Act 10 took away people’s voices; you can’t just stop that conversation.”
Beals believes the state needs to fund education “appropriately at the state level. I certainly wouldn’t have cut education” and given more money to Milwaukee charter schools. “You can’t take away from our district and then give it to the rest of the state.
“You have to have a well-educated workforce to grow the economy. You have to be able to reinvest in your own economy to again grow good jobs.”
Beals said if elected she would be “trying to find people to work with to put back some of this funding. You don’t have to give tax breaks to the wealthiest corporations. If you have billion-dollar corporations, you should pay taxes like others do every day and not place the burden on the middle class … not small businesses, not Main Street businesses.”
Beals favors more funding for “revolving loans or that kind of funding — startup funds, business growth” funds.
Beals also wants to focus on agriculture, the more local, the better. She supports the Wisconsin Farm to School program, in which school districts purchase locally grown food.
“Ten percent of the population are farmers, and they produce 100 percent of our food,” she said. “If you can grow it locally and use it locally, that’ll keep them moving forward.”
Beals believes the Legislature needs to find a compromise on metallic mining legislation.
“We need to be considering how we protect our environment, create jobs — there has to be a way to do that by talking to each other,” she said. “Sen. Schultz slowed down that process until it could be openly shared, and that needed to happen.”
Editor’s note: The story about Rep. Travis Tranel from the July 11 Platteville Journal can be read at www.swnews4u.com/archives/6459/. A debate between Beals and Tranel will be held at the Dickeyville Community Center Thursday at 7 p.m. The debate will be broadcast live on WGLR (97.7 FM).