Tony Evers visits UWEC

College Democrats host democratic candidates at The Cabin

Bridget Kelley

More stories from Bridget Kelley


Photo by Emilee Wentland

Governor-elect Tony Evers spoke of the importance of voting before the election this week.

Prior to the elections on Tuesday, the UW-Eau Claire College Democrats hosted several Democratic candidates for office in Wisconsin at The Cabin in the W.R. Davies Student Center.

Anna Schmidt, the UW-Eau Claire College Democrats Chair, spoke first at the event, urging those in attendance to vote, whether it be early voting or on election day.

“I can’t get off the stage without making a plea for you to vote,” she said.

Following Schmidt, attendees heard from state representative from the 91st Assembly District Dana Wachs, who encouraged everyone to vote — a sentiment that was echoed throughout the speeches Thursday.

“This is all the marbles,” Wachs said. “We do this work because we know we are on the right side of history…The time to protest is over. Now is the time to get out the vote.”

Wachs then introduced Jodi Emerson, a candidate for state representative of the 91st Assembly District, who emphasized the importance of voting as a whole.

“When we all do better, we all do better,” she said.

If Emerson is elected, she will be the first woman to represent the City of Eau Claire in the state assembly.

Jeff Smith, a candidate for Wisconsin state senate, also emphasized the importance of letting one’s voice be heard by voting.

“My generation should be ashamed of itself,” Smith said. “That’s why I continue to be an activist for the betterment of Wisconsin, because I have daughters who are in their twenties — what am I going to leave them? What is my legacy?”

Josh Kaul, candidate for Attorney General, discussed his stance on the rape-kit backlog, the opioid crisis and affordable health care in Wisconsin.

“I look forward to working with Governor Evers to expand Medicaid,” Kaul said.

Congressman Ron Kind endorsed Kaul, Smith, Emerson and Wendy Sue Johnson, candidate to represent the 68th Assembly District. Kind thanked Wachs for his years of service as a state representative. He also urged those in attendance to vote early so they can spend Tuesday encouraging their friends to vote.

“We have the ability in this country to change a course of direction that we are not happy with,” Kind said. “It’s called voting.”

Candidate for lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes discussed the importance of this election cycle. He said this is the most important midterm election of his lifetime and joked that it might even be the most important midterm of gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers’ lifetime too — a nod to their 36-year age difference.

Barnes discussed his stance on affordable health care, climate change and education, as well as the tour that he and Evers are taking of the state of Wisconsin on a school bus.

“It’s why we picked the school bus — because education has to be a priority,” Barnes said. “We also have to make higher education more affordable.”

Evers discussed his experience on the school bus as well, segueing into a conversation about the state of the roads in Wisconsin, noting that Wisconsin is ranked 44th in road quality, and promising change.

Evers, former state superintendent, discussed the importance of teachers, K–12 education and higher education in planning the state budget.

Evers also discussed his stance on health care, stating that, as someone with a pre-existing condition, he will fight for those with pre-existing conditions, as well as for allowing young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.

“That is critical,” Evers said. “Healthcare is on the ballot.”

Evers said the things he is fighting for — roads, education and health care — are Wisconsin values, and that he is running on Wisconsin values.

Evers also responded to Governor Scott Walker’s claim that Evers will raise the gas tax by a dollar.

“We’re going to be lowering income taxes for 86 percent of the people in Wisconsin,” Evers said. “I have no intention of raising taxes. We’re going to bring people together to find a solution. I would prefer not to raise taxes; I’m certainly not going to raise the gas tax a dollar.”

In the final days of the campaign, Evers and Barnes are focusing on turnout.

“People showing up knowing that there is a better path for Wisconsin is our key,” Barnes said.

Kelley can be reached at [email protected].