Dan Sebring has been tipping at the 4th congressional windmill since 2008 when he saw no one was challenging incumbent Gwen Moore during that year’s primary. Instead of shrugging his shoulders, he jotted his name down as the Republican write-in. In the ensuing months, he mounted a write-in campaign and challenged Moore on every issue.
He continued his battle after losing in 2008 and was better prepared this year. His main complaint — one that he has heard while going door-to-door in the district — is Moore isn’t responsive to her district and would rather travel around the world than fix the problems facing her constituents.
Sebring and his campaign manager, Jessica Strautmann, sat down with me over hamburgers and sodas at a Bay View diner to discuss his campaign and why he is the better person to represent Wisconsin’s 4th.
The biggest issue facing our nation is the economic crisis. What will you do to get us out of this economic slump?
“Create jobs,” Sebring answered quickly. “The public wants to work and make their own way.”
Sebring’s idea for creating those jobs is to have the entire 4th district designated a Federal Enterprise Zone, which would provide incentives for businesses to stay, start-up and hire from within the district. He would also use job training funds to train employees for jobs needed within the district, not for skills with no marketable value.
“Government needs to stop interfering with the ability for Milwaukee to attract business,” he added. “Buyseasons.com wanted to locate within the district, but she (Moore) said those were not the right kind of jobs. The right kind of job is one that pays American dollars.”
Sebring, a small auto garage owner, says he shares the same fears other business owners have, the uncertainty of hiring because of the unknown government costs coming from health care reforms, possible cap and trade legislation and other regulations. He said he would get the government out of businesses way so they can grow and hire.
The Health Care Reform Act: what is good in it, what’s wrong with it and what changes do you want to make to it?
Unlike Moore, who championed the Health Care Reform Act in public meetings last fall, Sebring finds nothing good in it and will take a three-pronged approach to it — defund, repeal and replace.
“I want to replace this bad bill with a marketplace solution,” Sebring explains. “I friend who works for Anthem Health has come up with a plan where health insurance providers become health care financiers.”
He explains that people will have access to health credit lines which will allow them to pay for care they need from the provider of their choice. “This will allow patients to compare prices and foster a competitive market for health care that will control costs.”
What is your position on the high-speed train? What should we be doing within the realm of transportation instead?
Not surprisingly, Sebring is against the train and the associated annual operating costs with it.
“It is too much money,” he said. “Instead we need to focus on our highways, infrastructure and the county bus system. In fact, Gwen Moore said we should focus on the buses first, before the KRM or other train systems.”
Sebring said as a congressman he will research federal spending to find misspent funds that could be redirected toward highways and buses. But he would not support more stimulus funds toward road construction and “the self-congratulatory signs that announce a road is being rebuilt with Obama’s stimulus.”
Education is a local issue with national significance. What can ben done on a federal level to improve accountability and funding for Wisconsin’s schools and other states?
“The federal government needs to butt out,” he said. “No Child Left Behind was a terrible idea and Race to the Top was even worse.
“The states, local districts, parents, students and teachers should decide what is being taught. Education is not a ‘one size fits all’ proposition. What works in Florida doesn’t always work here.”
Sebring said by returning control and educational decision-making to the local level, accountability will return to the classrooms.
What should our military role in the world? What is your position on Afghanistan and are we doing enough on the home front to stop terrorism?
Sebring believes the U.S. Military should defend the United States and not be policing the world. He wants us out of Afghanistan and we as a nation need to decided whether will are going after Osama Bin Laden or not.
On domestic terrorism, Sebring wants to revise the Patriot Act. “There is some overstepping in the act, the search and seizure tactics for one. But we need to have something and I’m not willing to toss the act out completely, just revise it.
That sums up Sebring’s message to voters – he doesn’t want to give up on the 4th district, but revise it with a new representative responding to the voters. We’ll see if the voters are looking for the same kind of revision.