This is the third interview from the League of Women Voters of the Greater Chippewa Valley. It is an interview with Alison Page, who is the Democratic candidate for Assembly District 93. No other candidates in the district responded to a request to be interviewed.

Disclaimer - Publisher Steve Hanson currently serves on the board of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

A quick machine transcript of the interview follows:

 

Ellen Ochs

President of the League of Women Voters. I'll start again. Hello. I'm Ellen oaks, co president of the League of Women Voters. And I'm here talking to Allison Page, who is a candidate for assembly district 93, in Wisconsin. And I'm very happy to meet you, Allison.

Alison Page

Yeah, happy to be here. Ellen, thank you.

Ellen Ochs

Thank you for coming. We have some questions for you. We're just trying to get people to understand what is important to you as a candidate and what you think you can do about it? If we elect you, so I'm going to start with a, a health question. Sure. Life expectancy has dropped in Wisconsin city citizens in the past year. What steps can the state take to ensure that Wisconsin residents have access to health care that they can afford? That covers what they need?

Alison Page

Right. There's a lot of things that we can do in the state of Wisconsin. And as you know, I just retired from western Wisconsin health where I was CEO of a of a health care organization there for the past 13 years, that organization has constantly been swimming upstream to get to prevention, health, wellness for our community. So things that the state can do, because we don't control insurance companies and what they pay for and what they don't. But we can certainly encourage what health insurance companies should pay for and demand it for those insurance, insurances or payment for health care that, that we would control as a state, we can also work with the federal government on what's covered, you know, what do we cover under Medicaid? What's what's gets covered under Medicare, but a route to really improve the health and wellness of our state and the people of our state? We need to start at the beginning of time, actually, before the beginning of time on how do women take care of their bodies, women and men take care of their bodies for to produce the next generation? How do we focus on health and wellness there with food accessibility in communities with health and wellness services available to school children, inside schools, making sure that people understand what a healthy life looks like, and how they can attain it. Making health services available and affordable in rural areas is a big challenge for the state of Wisconsin. As you know, in our area, two hospitals just announced that they're no going no longer going to provide OB care for moms and families. And that's fairly devastating to rural areas. So I could talk all day about this health care is what I do. But there are tons of things that we could do in the state legislature. But I think it really gets at that we have to focus on the grass roots of what are really the the elements of health and wellness in your life. And how do we infuse those at every opportunity in our institutions and in our communities?

Ellen Ochs

Well, thank you, Allison, that was a interesting, comprehensive response. I'm going to keep bouncing to question to question we have a limited time. Schools, how many, many school districts both urban and rural, are holding referenda to seek funding directly from taxpayers? How should the state fund education equitably for pre K through 12? Students? And how can we get that to happen? How could you help get that to happen?

Alison Page

Well, my goal would be that every single child in Wisconsin will reach adulthood with the emotional resilience, the knowledge and the skills that they need to pursue their dreams and be able to compete in a 21st century economy. Every child, not some of the kids, not the kids who live in the big cities, not the kids who go to private schools, all of the kids reach that there are lots of ways that we can do that. So funding schools is a big deal. I mean, it's like half or more than half of the state budget right now. It's a very expensive proposition. But our schools have to be exceptional. Why? Because that's the future of our workforce. If we're going to thrive and survive if our workforce is going to thrive in the future in Wisconsin, we need an influx of people coming to Wisconsin to support those needs for the workforce. So my goal is we make Wisconsin the best place in the country to raise a family. A cornerstone of that is schools. So our schools are an investment in the future of our workforce, and they have to be exceptional. So how do we do that? It's been a combination of general fund tax taxes, income taxes, and real estate taxes. There's lots of reasons for that. There's lots of good reasons to do that. I'm totally open to looking at how we fund schools and how we might fund schools in the future. But fund them we must and and doing it fairly. And there's, you know, it would be an all day conversation to talk about Why real estate taxes are good balancing two income taxes, there's less volatility in real estate taxes. So there's some good reasons for that. But there's some bad reasons for that. So funding, but it's it's funding the schools, but it's also how do we structure education so that it can be delivered in a more cost effective means we have the ability through technology to have statewide classrooms on specific topics of science or different learning, where you have one teacher schools everywhere in rural areas. So you don't have to have a teacher in the front of every classroom necessarily. So we how do we bring down the cost, but really, not even bring down the cost, but contain, I guess, the cost of the future of education? And but still make it absolutely exceptional? I would also look to other other countries and other parts of the United States, and how are they doing things very well? And what might we what ideas might we bring to Wisconsin, but public education, especially cornerstone of my platform, and I will advocate loudly for for exceptional education for the children of our state.

Ellen Ochs

Thank you, Alison. Next question. And this is dear to the heart of all league of women voters members, what could ensure Wisconsin residents confidence in the integrity of future elections? And how could you in the assembly help with that?

Alison Page

Again, that's another one of my top priorities is we is supporting our democracy, we all want a strong democracy. I think a lot of people in Wisconsin are maybe not, don't have a deep understanding of exactly what is going on. So step one is who's in the seats in Madison, Wisconsin, what I would take to Madison, Wisconsin, is the skill set that I've used in my administrative career in healthcare for the last 25 years, professionalism and civility, bringing professionalism and civility to our state politics, and then revealing the truth. How do we reveal the facts reveal the truth of exactly what is going on in our democracy? The cornerstone? I mean, I think there's two things right, that make for a really good democratic process. One is fair maps, fair maps, I'm knocking on doors, going in with my campaign. And I'm having an interesting time kind of explaining to people exactly, well, here's your district, I show him a picture. And why does it look like this and what is going on with what has gone on in the state of Wisconsin. And it's not just Wisconsin, we know in Illinois, New York, they're gerrymandered to the left, we need fair maps in all of our states across the United States. So fair maps, having a group that defines the maps like Iowa has that it's an arm's length, it's distant from the people who are elected. So you don't having the fox, you know, manning the henhouse. And so fair maps, that's a corner of it, cornerstone of it, and then fair elections. I live in River Falls, Wisconsin, and I can tell you, our community does a stellar job running their elections. So I believe that for the most part elections are run very fairly. But we can do better, you know, we can do better. We can look at some of the other states who have had mail in ballots forever. And it's going very, very well. We have an element in Wisconsin that some could read as voter suppression. I have people ask me all the time, why can't I drop my ballot off? Why do I have to mail this when a gentleman in Prescott, Wisconsin, who I talked to last week, said, You know, I can't drive a car, I'm handicapped. Then I told him to call him that his elective his election official, and ask her how, you know how he should get his ballot down? And he said, someone else can't drop it off for me. And I said, you know, not according to our current laws. So making those laws favor democracy, rather than suppressing democracy and making sure our maps are fair. I'm, you know, again, I've spent my whole career bringing people with diverse ideas together to solve big problems in healthcare. And I will be a loud advocate for doing the right thing in Madison, Wisconsin. Oops, I can't hear you.

Ellen Ochs

I had some experience with the machines that we use in our voting booths. And I know that they're not connected to a massive internet that can corrupt. No, no. Johnson.

Alison Page

Yeah, they're self contained. And I think for the most part, we have excellent voting in Wisconsin. I know it especially in our small communities, the people who run it, take it extremely seriously. And they do a great job.

Ellen Ochs

Thank you, Alison. Last Last question, and you can, I think we're getting close to end of time here. What should be the role of the state in protecting Wisconsin's water, for drinking water safety and for the sake of our economy and our environment?

Alison Page

Our water in Wisconsin is one of our most precious resources. In fact, there's a lot of other people who would like our water, it's going to become more and more precious as there's more pollution in the United States. So we have a lot of agriculture, I think that what the state can do is enforce existing laws on water preservation, farming practices, what goes into our water, and then have a very strong water testing system. So we become aware very quickly of anything that's causing a problem in our water system. But we absolutely have to protect our water in Wisconsin and make sure and preserve it. You read on the news every day, more and more communities are being impacted by PFS in the waters. And what do we do about it? So absolutely, the legislature has a role in that need to work with the with the Department of Natural Resources and the governor's office to make make the regulations appropriate to ensure and protect the future water in all of Wisconsin.

Ellen Ochs

Thank you, Alison. I think that wraps it up for us today. I'm sure there are many more questions that could be asked, and I hope those come up during the election.

Alison Page

You Yeah, I do, too. I think they will. Thanks so much, Ellen, great to chat with you. And thank you for all the work that the League of Women Voters done does, I'm sorry that I wasn't able to participate in the forum, because my opponent was not able or willing to participate. So but aside from that, thank you very much for the work that the league does to support the democratic process. Thank you. Okay,

Ellen Ochs

I think that went pretty well. We went a little over a little over time, but not too bad. I don't know. I don't think it matters a lot.

Alison Page

You can just cut anything I said if you need to edit it down. I think it was a good package. Okay, well, sorry for the glitch at the beginning. Hopefully I didn't goof anything up on my computer downloading that but we'll see.

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