This is a candidate interview with Danielle Johnson who is running as the Democratic candidate for Assembly District 29. The interview was conducted by Ellen Ochs, Co-President of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Chippewa Valley. No other candidates from the district responded to a request to be interviewed. 

Disclaimer - Publisher Steve Hanson is currently serving on the LWV-GCV board.

A quick machine transcript of the interview follows:

Ellen Ochs

Hi, I'm Ellen Ochs. I'm a co president of the League of Women Voters greater Chippewa Valley. And today I am talking to Danielle Johnson, who is a candidate for assembly district 29 here in western Wisconsin. Good morning, Danielle.

Danielle Johnson

Hi, Ellen. Good out. I think it's afternoon or.

Ellen Ochs

Right. Yeah, so I'm going to have some questions for you. And we have about 10 minutes for this. And I'll start with, I'll start right off. We'll be using the same questions for the candidates we're interviewing. So first question is, life expectancy has dropped for Wisconsin 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?

Danielle Johnson

Yeah, so um, I, I'm the current Chair, Board Chair of Western Wisconsin health. And so the health care of communities is something that I am very passionate about. I would say, as far as and I think it's an important aspect of government to make sure that people have access to basic needs, like health care. So one thing that I think would be extremely important, especially in a be the ability to afford health care is for the Wisconsin to take advantage of Medicaid expansion. So right now tax dollars are leaving Wisconsin and helping other states. And if we would actually keep those, those dollars in state if we expanded Medicare, Medicaid.

Ellen Ochs

Thank you. Okay. The next question has to do with schools. 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 could you play a role in that?

Danielle Johnson

So yeah, the way we are funding schools is becoming unfortunately, even though people say, oh, there, we just get more and more money. The fact is, is that we really are not keeping up with the needs of our schools. And, and also when it goes to referendum to for increasing property taxes, that decreases the it decreases the opportunity for other school districts where people maybe don't have the same financial benefits as other school districts. So I'm definitely in favor of increasing funding on the state level for all schools so that funds can be distributed equitably.

Ellen Ochs

Okay, can you do you have anything to say about how we apportion funding to schools currently?

Danielle Johnson

Well, they're becoming more and more underfunded. When I talked to even on the university level, instructors at the University of Wisconsin Stout, one of the main things that they that they talk about is having to do more and more for for less and less money. So we I am a firm believer that public education is incredibly important to, for us to attract residents to to Wisconsin, and if we continue to underfund public education like we are, we cannot expect a bright future.

Ellen Ochs

Thank you. Okay. So, third question. What will ensure Wisconsin residents confidence? Oh, this is this is a questions dear to the heart of League of Women Voters. What will ensure West Wisconsin residents confidence in the integrity of future elections?

Danielle Johnson

What will instill confidence in the future of in our election process is when our leaders and especially our elected leaders speak the truth. The right now, like for example, our Senator Rob Stafsholt, is has reiterated several times that people don't have confidence in the electoral process in Wisconsin. And my answer in my head is they would Senator Rob Stafsholt if you would speak the truth, which says and the truth is is demonstrable, demonstrably, that the 2020 election was fair, and there was not any widespread fraud of any kind. So it's been it was as fair as any of their election was and as if our elected officials spoke the truth, then people would have confidence in the truth, which is that we have fair elections in Wisconsin.

Ellen Ochs

Okay, thank you. Um, question number four, 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? How would How would you as an assembly, representative, be able to help with that?

Danielle Johnson

I would make sure that the DNR is adequately funded, so that what they do to help monitor our water, I think and monitor against spills from industrial farming into our water, I also would work to restore more local control to especially county governments to be able to do their own monitoring and, and, and reporting. So here in the 29th. District, we have a we've had an important an unfortunate, important spill that happened at a an a dairy in in the 29th district. And the self reporting process did not work. We need to actually have more monitoring and be more vigilant because clean water is absolutely essential to our functioning communities. So we can't live without clean water.

Ellen Ochs

Thank you. I've run through my four questions. So I will throw in a ringer. Okay. We spoke a little bit about post secondary education that my question had been about pre K through 12. But how should Wisconsin better support post secondary education, not just the University of Wisconsin, which I'm a product of, but technical schools and apprenticeship things? Do you have an idea about that?

Danielle Johnson

Well, yes, I think they'll, I would like to see. So there are certain industries that have a major are facing major worker shortages, the healthcare industry being one um, I would like to see expanding education even on the high school and technical college level, like so that say high school seniors can graduate with a CNA sort of certification that they don't that they already have, like a profession, you know, a way a direction or profession going upon, even on graduation from high school, and are the I would love to see an expansion of Technical College. There's a technical college in it's not in the 29th. But it's in our area here. North Woods, and they have a veterinary veterinary technology certification that they just started expansion of those fields is really is would be really, really helpful to the economy and having educate an educated workforce is really important to our small businesses in our industry in general.

Ellen Ochs

Okay, well, thank you. This has been a very productive interview. And I want to mention your name again, Daniel Johnson running for assembly district 29.

Danielle Johnson

Thank you. Thank you so much for this opportunity, Ellen. I really appreciate it.

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