The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

House candidates differ on education

Candidates for the 3rd District’s U.S. House of Representatives seat each have different proposals for the federal government’s dealings with education, but they do agree that the government has grown too large.

Incumbent Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, has served on the Education Committee and the sub-committee for higher education during his three terms in office. He is seeking a fourth term with education being a top priority.

With the re-authorization of the higher education bill coming up next year, he said he would like the government to do a better job of graduating students.

“We have to focus on affordability and access,” he said.

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Kind proposes making financial aid more readily available to students. He also said he feels that the aid should be more reflective of the rising costs of attending colleges and universities.

Libertarian candidate, Jeff Zastrow of Eau Claire, however, is on the opposite side of the spectrum. He believes all schools, including secondary and post-secondary schools, should be privatized.

“They are run totally inefficiently,” Zastrow said.

This is what Zastrow would like to do ideally, but until that can happen he proposes regulating the money distributed by the federal government. The U.S. government would be more efficient in dealing with educational dollars if the money was distributed to states per capita. Then the state governments could decide where the money is needed, which is similar to the proposal of Republican candidate Bill Arndt.

Arndt, of Menomonie, would like schools to be controlled at a local level.

“I believe that school districts, the school board and parents should be finding out how to run the schools,” he said, adding that the federal government should not operate schools.

In addition to controlling educational funds at a more local level, Arndt would like to see the Department of Education scaled back, as well as several other federal agencies.

“The government is so big,” he said. “It is inefficient and very wasteful of our tax dollars.”

Arndt proposes what he calls an “Enron-type audit” that should be conducted on the federal government to see what is going on and who has been misleading the American people.

Zastrow agrees the government is a major issue.

“The fact is the government keeps growing and needing more tax dollars to fuel it,” Zastrow said.

There are many programs within the bureaucracy that can be handled at a state level.

“There are 18 things they should be responsible for,” Zastrow said, referring to the Constitution. “They take ‘provide for the general welfare’ to mean whatever they want it to.”

Kind agrees there are some areas where the government could be downsized. He suggests streamlining federal departments and allowing Internet access to their services.

“We need to modernize the government in light of the technological advancements,” he said.

Allowing citizens to access various federal departments online would help make the government more user-friendly, Kind said.

Candidates will face off Nov. 5 when constituents from the 3rd Congressional District go to the polls. Earlier in the year the district was restructured. Now it stretches from St. Croix and Dunn counties in the north to Grant and Lafayette counties in the south.

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