1st Assembly District Primary Candidate Questionnaire

Brian Hackbarth

Age: 36

Education: Associate of Arts Waldorf College

Relevant experience or civic involvement: 3rd term Gibraltar Town Board Supervisor, Gibraltar Planning Commissioner, Gibraltar Parks & Lands Committee Chair. Serve on multiple none profit boards/committees. Past president of the Fish Creek Civic Association (Business association with over 140 business members). Founder of the Fish Creek Fireworks & Fest in 2004 (I also chaired the event for many years). I chaired the 2004 Fish Creek Winter Games. I served in student government in college also. Along with many other committees various groups, none profits and government over the years.

What separates you from the other Republican candidates in the primary election, and why do you want to represent the people of the 1st Assembly District?

The experience that I have, the things that I have done have given me the skills needed to excel at representing District 1 in the State Assembly. While being involved in all the various things I do, especially the Town Board I have seen many things in our District that need the attention of a State Representative. I continue to work to make things in Door County and the Town of Gibraltar better from the office I currently hold. I want to make our District better, on a level that can only be accomplished as a State Representative.

Do you see any way to level the playing field for the state’s equalization aid funding formula that pretty much exempts Door County school districts from state aid that most other districts in the state receive? (For example, the state average amount of aid for both rural and urban school districts is 54 percent; Sevastopol receives 3 percent of its budget from the state and Southern Door receives 19 percent.)

Most of us can agree that how we fund our schools needs to be changed. Our district is both very large and very unique one when it comes to school funding as Kewaunee, Brown, Door and Manitowoc are all uniquely different. Within Door County what may work for Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol would not work for Washington Island and Gibraltar. Perhaps it is time to wipe the board clean, take a fresh look at it with no preconceived notions of how a school should be funded. Perhaps someone would come up with a new Propositional formula that had never been thought of, or a different funding mechanism altogether.

We have seen increasing assaults on the environment and local control of environmental resources across the state in the name of doing business. How do we balance industry – such as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, in our region – with the environment?

Let the facts and the science guide our decisions, while refraining from making assumptions and finger pointing. We are all neighbors and co-inhabitants of District 1, working together will lead us to the best future for all. My neighbors and friends are farmers, they are among the hardest working & best people I know. They take the land & livestock and turn it into the products we buy at the store to feed and cloth ourselves.

Partisan bickering and legislative gridlock appears to be the political legacy of our times. If elected, would you vote strictly along party lines or would you assess each piece of legislation and what it could mean to your constituency, no matter which side of the aisle the legislation might have originated?

Unfortunately to often the press propagates partisan bickering and gridlock, so they can sell TV ads and news papers. I would invite the press to lead from the front and be part of the solution instead of part of the problem as we all look to move Wisconsin forward.

Most importantly I always have and always will act and vote in what I believe to be the best interests of the people that I represent. It’s not about what I want; it’s about what is best for everyone concerned.

What is your opinion about the increasing amount of out-of-state money going to Wisconsin politicians? (It was $4.11 million in 2013, a non-election year, and $17.2 million in 2012.) Have you accepted or would you accept money from an out-of-state contributor?

People that own homes in our District but claim their residency in other states have made contributions to the campaign. Along with former residence of Door County that have moved away and an out of State family member. So yes I have accepted “out of state money”. As for my opinion, this is a subject with a lot of grey area. I have NOT received any out of state money from someone that I don’t know.

We must all remember that campaigning is expensive, we are all expected to do all of these things, produce all of these signs and advertisements, drive thousands of miles and incure many other expenses. Many candidates at this level end up spending a lot of our own money, and/or some candidates incur debt. With the winner being elected to an office that does NOT pay that great (keep in mind a representative must have a second place to live down in Madison which is a big expense). No one runs for State Representative to get rich, all of us that do it or have done it want to make a difference in some way, change something, give back in some way and have something that gives us a passion inside to do this.

Whether you like or dislike, agree with or disagree with anyone of the 5 of us running for office. Please respect all of the candidates for the time and money invested, and most importantly for giving you the voter a selection of people to choose from when you go to vote on August 12th.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for Wisconsin and how would you address it?

The economy. I would support legislation, and legislative actions that foster an environment that promotes growth and prosperity for Wisconsin.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for the 1st Assembly District and how would you address it?

The local needs that are very targeted and very important to our day to day lives. These needs are spread across a wide spectrum of issues and agencies. These targeted issues vary from community to community and need to each be addressed individually. A just a few examples would be Bulk Head Lines, High Water Mark, Shore land Zoning, Water Quality, retaining the money our state parks bring in and keep those dollars here instead of sending them to Madison, and many more DNR related issues. There are a lot of targeted Highway issues with the DOT that a representative needs to work on such as, highway reconstruction issues, giving local veto authority of roundabouts, allowing necessary crosswalks in communities that the local governments want. There are also a number of very specific regulatory issues affecting our district with other departments such as the Department of Health Services, Department of Revenue, and the Bureau of Aeronautics. If elected the heads of these departments and a few other departments will come to know me well within a short time, and so will the oversight committee members. As I will be staying on top of them regarding the targeted issues under their control within District 1. By working closely with the elected municipal and county officials, and other community leaders throughout the district together as a team we will accomplish many great things for our entire District!