Lawmaker addresses controversial comments in town hall debate - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Lawmaker addresses controversial comments in town hall debate

Barron (WQOW) - On Tuesday, there was a town hall debate in Barron for an assembly seat.  The candidates covered the issues we typically hear about jobs, health care, but the crowd was also anticipating a question about rape. 

Roger Rivard, who represents the 75th Assembly District, has taken heat for an interview he gave, talking about sexual assault.  Rivard said when he was younger, his father told him quote, 'some girls rape easy' as a way to warn him that a woman could agree to have sex, but later claim it wasn't consensual. 

Tuesday, Rivard faced opponent Stephen Smith at a town hall debate in Barron and he addressed those comments. Since the information came out, several republicans have rescinded their endorsements of Rivard, including Governor Walker and Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan.

Tuesday, one audience member asked that he address, what they called, the elephant in the room. Rivard told the audience he regrets having quoted his father but would not disavow it.  He says the statement was taken out of context.

Rivard says, "What they said is not the full sentence; it's not the full statement. So, if this is a way to win an election, I guess that's the way it is. I think rape is a horrible, horrible crime. With my daughters and my granddaughters I can't think of anything more disgusting that could possibly happen to them."

Both candidates also addressed issues about health care, Act 10, and frac sand mining.

75th Assembly Democratic Candidate, Stephen Smith, says, "People that own frac sand deposits have the right to sell the minerals, it's our heritage, but not at the expense of our health and safety."

Rivard says, "It's a vital part of our economy and it's a vital part of the state of Wisconsin, absolutely, in a responsible way, I am for mining. Whether it be iron ore, frac sand, or any other one."

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