LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – 32ND District Senate Candidates Jennifer Shilling and Bill Feehan debated in front of a packed house at the UW-La Crosse's Cartwright Center Tuesday night.
Shilling (D), the incumbent, said her record demonstrates her willingness to work with Republican colleagues in the legislature.
She also said she frequently clashed with fellow Democratic Governor Jim Doyle in the process of defending her constituents during her 10 years as La Crosse's 95th Assembly Representative.
But Shilling, who was elected to the State Senate last year in a recall election, said she does not support changing Wisconsin's recall law as a way to diffuse current tensions in Madison.
"I don't think we'll ever again witness a period like we just survived here in the state with the number of recalls," Shilling said. "Changing recall laws to only apply in the cases of criminal misconduct would essentially mirror our impeachment laws."
"I'm hesitant to take away citizens' constitutional right to hold their elected officials accountable," Shilling said.
But Feehan (R), a La Crosse area business owner and former food sales representative making his first run for public office, said he is proud he publicly opposed the recalls against the Governor and other lawmakers.
"Polling has shown that a vast majority of people believe we need to raise the standard to some kind of criminal or ethical misconduct," Feehan said of Wisconsin's recall law.
"The problem with these recalls is that if we don't raise the standard, they'll just become another tool in the political playbook of the political parties," Feehan said. "I argued as chairman of the Republican Party against recalling Kathleen Vinehout and any other Democratic state senators because I just think it's wrong. It undermines our electoral process."
The 32nd Senate Debate will air in full on WXOW News 19 Saturday, October 27, at 12:00 p.m.
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