Gorman thinks he can unseat Rhoades
Who says a 22-year-old UW-River Falls college graduate can't knock off a well-connected, well-known state Assemblywoman from Hudson?
Not District 30 Democratic challenger Dan Gorman, fresh out of college and fresh with ideas and passion for serving western Wisconsin in Madison.
Gorman is far from pessimistic about his chances against Republican Kitty Rhoades.
"For one thing, people are ready for change in this election," Gorman said. "For another, I got more votes in Pierce
and St. Croix counties than Rhoades in the September primary. I also have a broad range of volunteers working for my campaign, from college students to people who have lived in the community for over 40 years."
Gorman said running as a Democrat is also a "great source." This past Sunday U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, campaigned for Gorman at a Hoffman Park rally in River Falls.
Gorman said during door-to-door campaigning, he discovered citizens are more interested in his ideas and the issues than his age or his political inexperience.
"And yes, there is probably a backlash against Republicans and incumbents in general," Gorman said. "Voters are fed up with the constant scandals -- from the recent Foley thing in Congress to the ethical violations of former (Republican) Assembly Leader Scott Jensen (convicted of three felonies). They see these as lapses in leadership and a mismanagement of resources."
While such pent-up disgust may fuel Gorman's campaign, he would prefer it otherwise.
"That kind of trash hurts our democracy," he says.
Gorman says his bid for office will be ethically managed.
"I'm only accepting contributions to my campaign of $100 or less," he said. "I believe in self-regulating myself. I don't want to have any big-money influences ever be an issue in my decision making. I want my support to come from as many sources as I can with very little difference in the dollar amounts of each contribution."
With a business degree on his resume, Gorman wants his campaign to run the same way he would hold office as an elected representative.
"That means being efficient, productive, meeting your goals on time, and living within your means," he said.
Gorman says his business background makes him a keen advocate for the free-market system. Having said that, he disagrees with Rhoades on business taxes.
"Kitty Rhoades and her party have proposed more than $500 million in corporate tax cuts, and got $41 million of those approved," Gorman said. "Meanwhile, Wisconsin residents are being taxed out of their homes. Instead of offering people subsidies, she's doing it for businesses."
Gorman said studies show that business growth is stimulated less by corporate giveaways than by targeted government investments in quality education and affordable health care.
"Regions that have those attract good businesses and it's also good for people's lives," he said.
Gorman also wants to close the "Las Vegas loophole."
The loophole allows Wisconsin companies to shift profits to states without a state corporate income tax. Setting up a dummy corporation with a post office box number in Nevada is part of the usual ploy.
"That effectively sidesteps Wisconsin income taxes and needs to be closed," Gorman said. "It would take about two lines of legislation to make these firms pay their fair share of taxes because it's costing the rest of us about $260 million."
Cooperation, local control
Gorman said the state has to start playing fair with the counties and other municipal governments. He said that means ending unfunded state mandates that locals must carry out but don't get compensated for and also state-imposed revenue caps.
"Pierce County just had to cut $390,000 from its Health and Human Services budget," he said. "The revenue caps hinder how a county government can raise money. In the end that forces cuts, which means stripping away basic services."
Gorman said Republicans brag about local control and then go right ahead and legislate local control from Madison. He said this applies to revenue caps and recently proposed TABOR legislation.
"What we need are open, local debates about how we should spend our money," he said. "That means local control, not reducing these issues to an equation."
Gorman said state-imposed legislation that force cuts in basic local services -- like the one forced on Pierce County -- has unforeseen consequences.
"It can lead to a higher crime rate when you start to take away an adequate social safety net," he said. "That means more people incarcerated, and prison costs are very expensive when a little preventative care might have made the difference."
Gorman called the amendment a "wedge issue" that divides rather than unites Wisconsinites.
"It's un-American to put up the rights of a minority for a public vote," he declared.
"I have no problem with the advisory vote on this issue for the election," he said. "But I don't believe the death penalty is a deterrent to crime. Wisconsin's murder rate is lower than the U.S. average. The government shouldn't be put in the position of having to willfully kill people who could later be found innocent."
"It's a growing industry and could generate many well-paying jobs that this state really needs," Gorman said. "Stem cell has thousands of potential applications, from juvenile diabetes to multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.
"Wisconsin should be on the cutting edge in this field. There are too many health and economic benefits to ignore."
Gorman said those most likely affected by the requirement because their driver's licenses don't show a current address are college students, the elderly and those who have recently moved.