Jason Church

Voters will cast their choice in a special election for their next congressional leader in Northwest Wisconsin later this month.

The 7th Congressional District seat has been vacant since September when U.S. Representative Sean Duffy resigned from his seat to spend more time with his family.

On the democratic ticket is Lawrence Dale and Tricia Zunker. Jason Church and Tom Tiffany are running as republicans.

The primary election will be Feb. 18 then the primary winners will face off May 12 for the general election to see who represents the 7th Congressional District of Wisconsin.

Jason Church

What is your background? Where you grew up, education, what are you doing now, where you live?

I grew up in Menomonie, and in a military family. My father, grandfather, and uncles all wore our nation’s uniform, and I wanted to spend my career serving our country. I completed ROTC while studying at UW-La Crosse and deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 where I lost both of my legs in an IED explosion. While recuperating at Walter Reed Medical Center, Senator Ron Johnson visited me as his constituent. After a 45-minute conversation, he offered me a military fellowship in his office. I worked for Senator Johnson for the last six years in a variety of capacities both in D.C. and Wisconsin where I focused on veteran outreach and work to help get them the services they need.

Do you feel bipartisanship can be done in today’s political climate?

It is important to stand up for our conservative values that we hold dear in Northern Wisconsin. I will always support policies that promote limited government and individual liberty. Bipartisanship can occur, however, when both sides identify a common problem. Infrastructure and our national defense are areas where I hope to find bipartisan solutions in Washington.

Going into Washington D.C., and never having served in Congress before, do you feel that’s an advantage?

Being a political outsider is a huge advantage. We need people who are willing to go to Washington, D.C. to ruffle a few feathers in order to make the tough decisions and get things done for the American people. I’m a fighter who is ready to stand with President Trump to drain the swamp.

What were some of the issues that led you to run?

As a veteran, national defense and the support of our military personnel is very important to me. We need to bring conflicts in the Middle East to peaceful conclusions, while keeping an eye on our growing threats like China. I experience the inefficiencies of the VA when I receive my medical care. Our veterans deserve better quality access to health care, housing and mental health resources.

Are those issues what you are hearing out on the trail? If not, what are those?

I hear from many veterans about the problems they experience with the VA. One veteran even shared with me his struggles with traveling all over the district to receive referrals in order to see the doctor they needed. I also hear from farmers who need our trade agreements renegotiated so Wisconsin products can be sold in more foreign markets. The USMCA is a huge victory for our dairy farmers, and I will work with President Trump to pass similar agreements with other countries.

Lawrence Dale

What is your background? Where you grew up, education, what are you doing now, where you live?

I was a Bernie Sanders delegate from Vilas County in 2016 and a Green Party protest candidate for Congress against the Tom Tiffany sponsored Mining Bill in 2014.

Party: (FDR/Sanders) Democrat

Occupation: Independent insurance agent

Education: M.S. in Industrial Relations with a focus on economics; University of Oregon; Bachelor’s degree: Ohio University, Major: Government.

Military: Vietnam Veteran

Do you feel bipartisanship can be done in today's political climate?

Has the mold changed since Obama took office in 2010, the year that Citizens United was passed giving wealthy extremist billionaires the right to fix elections having their proxies elected and once elected serve to block legislation that would not be good for their benefactors. Current example, both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representative members publicly agree that our crumbling national infrastructure such as bridges, water treatment, lead soldered water pipes, schools, roads and more needs to be fixed or replaced costing billions of dollars. Yet the Senate will not negotiate. To do so and buck their benefactors who don't want to pay for it, would risk these Senators reelection their careers were they to parlay with the Democratic Party House majority in passing such a Bill. The issue regarding the lack of bi-partisanship would not be an issue were there public financing of elections. Big Corporations have captured the U.S. Senate majority placing big oil, big banks, big mining, big agricultural, et. al, putting their interests first.

Going into Washington D.C., and never have served in Congress before, do you feel that's an advantage?

Yes, it is an advantage because it brings up the question of what our congressional priorities should be. Not one of the Republican candidates nor my Democrat opponent has a detailed plan they are ready to run with to bring good paying jobs that are environmentally compatible with our tourism economy. But I have. My Green New Deal speaks of two plans to draw new family farm businesses to our District. (See Planks two and three on my website's Platform tab). Neither Republican candidate speaks about climate change nor did NPR ask them about the use and development of solar and wind power to promptly wean us away from fossil fuels. We cannot afford to allow continued Republican industrial policy in the 7th District to be considered an appropriate pathway into the future. there is no doubt the Republican candidates and my democratic opponent when it has not been critically reviewed and that is why we have congressional elections every two years, i.e., to review the state of our District, especially existing policy that impacts whether or not to stay on the current path or change paths. My argument is that we need to change paths right away and this is no self-serving assessment.

What were some of the issues that led you to run?

As your congressman I will sponsor legislation to put a moratorium on the expansion of industrial dairies and factory farms in general and fight to enact legislation that will implement Supply Management policies to prevent any smaller family dairy operations from going under. The Wisconsin Republican leadership could have done this already but instead have abused their power to incentivize the oversupply of raw milk turning greater shares of the market to their reelection benefactors, industrial dairies.

Tom Tiffany

What is your background? Where you grew up, education, what are you doing now, where you live?

Growing up on a small family dairy farm near Elmwood, I learned the value of hard work. I graduated from UW–River Falls with an agricultural degree, then began working for a farm supply cooperative.

Shortly after, my wife Chris and I became the owner/operators of Wilderness Cruises on the Willow Flowage that we managed for two decades. My wife and I are the proud parents of three daughters, and our family lives in Minocqua.

In the past, I've served as a town supervisor in Little Rice and on the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation Board. I currently serve as a citizen-legislator in the Wisconsin State Senate, and I continue to work as a dam tender.

Do you feel bipartisanship can be done in today's political climate?

Yes, there is room for bipartisanship. We've seen President Trump continually trying to work with Democrats, but liberals have pushed him aside. Speaker Pelosi even ripped up his State of the Union address, which contained several areas where I thought we could find agreement.

In Congress, I'll work with President Trump to show Americans the successes that come with freedom — like our booming economy that's outperforming predictions. I'm confident Americans will stand with us in a bipartisan way because of the results.

Going into Washington D.C., and never have served in Congress before, do you feel that's an advantage?

The Founders never planned for America to be run by career politicians. I have an advantage because of my experience as a husband, father, small-business man and state citizen-legislator. Those viewpoints will help me represent Wisconsin in Congress.

Voters don't want people who are entrenched in D.C. politics to represent them. It's why they elected President Trump. They wanted someone from outside the swamp to fix things with their business mindset. I'll use my small business experience to do the same. Furthermore, I have a strong record, so voters can be confident I'll fight for lower taxes, the lives of the unborn, and our Second Amendment.

What were some of the issues that led you to run?

One of the reasons I started serving as a citizen-legislator was to address Wisconsin's crippling budget deficits and out-of-control taxes. I didn't want my daughters to have to carry on that burden. It's irresponsible.

Since I rolled up my sleeves in state government, my colleagues and I managed to cut taxes by $13 billion, eliminate our state deficit, and now we have the largest rainy day fund in state history.

Now, we see the same problems on the federal level — a massive national debt, too much red tape, and a tax load that should be lightened. So, once again, I feel called to put my experience to work for Northern and Western Wisconsin.

Are those issues what you are hearing out on the trail? If not, what are those?

Yes, people want to ensure we are stopping the spread of socialism and ensuring that the American Dream remains for our children and grandchildren. To do this, they're asking me to lower taxes, balance the budget, and require Congressional approval of regulations. Another top priority — that I hear about a lot — is delisting the gray wolf so Wisconsin can manage its out-of-control predator population.

Tricia Zunker

What is your background? Where you grew up, education, what are you doing now, where you live?

I was born and raised in Wausau. I am a member of Ho-Chunk Nation. I come from generations of dairy farmers. I grew up in a strong union household. I am a first-generation college graduate with a degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison. I earned a law degree from UCLA. I am Associate Justice on the Ho-Chunk Supreme Court, currently in my second elected term. I am also President of the Wausau School Board. I teach law classes at one law school and two universities from my home office in Wausau. I am a solo parent with an amazing nine-year-old son.

What were some of the issues that led you to run?

I am running for Congress because we need real representation for the people, not the corporate interests. Health care costs are out of control. We need accessible, affordable health care and need to ensure people with preexisting conditions are covered. We must also ensure affordable mental health care. The cost of prescription drugs continues to skyrocket, and we must take on Big Pharma and lower the cost of prescription drugs. We must also ensure that rural hospitals are funded, and related necessary services are covered.

I am also running because our farmers need a voice in Washington. My grandpa was a dairy farmer in the Town of Easton and I know how hard our farmers work. Washington has turned its back on our farmers – they don’t want a handout, but a fair shot. I will be a strong advocate for our farmers. We have a serious crisis hitting our farmers, including skyrocketing rates of suicide. I will advocate for access to competitive markets, incentives for use of sustainable, renewable energy, elimination of predatory business practices that hurt our small and midsized farmers, funding for mental health assistance for our farmers and broadband access that is needed throughout Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District. And we must support our small businesses because when we support our small businesses, we support our farmers.

Are those issues what you are hearing out on the trail? If not, what are those?

I have put thousands of miles on my car traveling throughout this expansive district and I am primarily hearing concerns about health care costs, the farm crisis and protecting the environment. I am also hearing from a lot of people who just want representation for the people- someone who is going to work hard for them.

Going into Washington D.C., and never serving in Congress before, do you feel that’s an advantage?

I’m a qualified, professional woman who is ready to represent the people of Wisconsin effectively in Congress. I have a demonstrated record of working hard to get the job done. I am a determined woman who will advocate for what’s best for the people of Wisconsin.

Do you feel bipartisanship can be done in today’s political climate?

Yes, but it takes electing the right people. We are more alike than we are different here in Wisconsin and one thing I am hearing time and again is that people are tired of attacks and gridlock. I am, too – I just want to get to work for positive change here. I work well with people on different sides of the political spectrum and that is achieved through respectful communication, listening, and going to the facts and data to determine the best possible outcome. I am committed to working across the aisle to achieve bipartisan solutions that will make life better here in Wisconsin.

More information regarding polling places, what’s on the ballot and how to vote can be found at myvote.wi.gov.

(1) comment


Jason Church is who I am voting for. Tom tiffany is a career politician who needs to keep his current commitment to Wisconsin

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.