Tammy Baldwin brings U.S. Senate campaign to HudsonU.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin had help in attracting media attention in a campaign swing through western Wisconsin last Friday. She was joined by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of neighboring Minnesota on the trail, which included at stop at the Democrats’ campaign office in Hudson.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin had help in attracting media attention in a campaign swing through western Wisconsin last Friday.
She was joined by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of neighboring Minnesota on the trail, which included at stop at the Democrats’ campaign office in Hudson.
“To be here today and have Sen. Klobuchar in Wisconsin is hugely important, because as a new candidate to a statewide race I am still introducing myself, and Sen. Klobuchar is well-known in this area,” Baldwin told a group of reporters in the lobby of the Hudson Professional Building, where the Democrats have their office. “Her support and encouragement says a lot, and I appreciate that.”
Baldwin currently represents Wisconsin’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is from Madison.
Before taking questions from the media, Baldwin and Klobuchar visited a conference room where volunteers were supposed to be making phone calls to encourage people to vote. Most in the crowded room had come simply to meet Baldwin and Klobuchar, however, and it took some persuading by a campaign staffer to get volunteers to place calls.
The Senate hopeful and senator received a warm welcome from the group. Baldwin talked on the phone to one supporter, smiling and giving a thumbs-up sign when she heard that he and his wife would be voting for her.
Klobuchar reported that her mother grew up in Milwaukee. She said that as a child she took trips on the Milwaukee Road train to the city to visit her grandmother and see Sampson the Gorilla at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
“It’s fun to be over helping Tammy. I’m so excited. I hope you guys know what a great job she is doing -- against all odds,” Klobuchar told the Baldwin supporters.
It wouldn’t hurt to have another woman in the Senate, either, Klobuchar added.
Baldwin asked the volunteers if they were talking to voters about Medicare, and went on to charge her opponent, Republican Tommy Thompson, with damaging the program during his four years as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in the Bush Administration.
“During the time he oversaw Medicare, it lost nine years of solvency,” Baldwin said, “because of the big unfunded bill that got passed, and the sweetheart deal for drug companies, where they voted into law that Medicare can’t negotiate with drug companies to get better prices for seniors.”
She said she learned about the importance of Medicare and Social Security from being raised by her grandparents.
Baldwin continued on the theme of Thompson doing the bidding of powerful financial interests later in her comments to the media.
“I am going to go and fight for hard-working Wisconsin families,” she said. “Tommy Thompson has spent the last decade helping enrich the big insurance companies, the big pharmaceutical companies, big oil -- all of those folks.
“I spent my career taking on the special interests on behalf of ordinary Wisconsin citizens. My opponent has spent the last decade, since he left Wisconsin, taking on those same special interests as clients. It’s a critical difference.”
Kathy Benson, the owner of Twin River, a Hudson company that does sub-assembly work for larger manufacturers, told Baldwin and Klobuchar it is important for them to win their elections to protect the Affordable Care Act from repeal by the Republicans.
Benson said she lost her health insurance after closing a previous business in 2009, and has been unable to afford it since then because of having asthma, a pre-existing condition.
Her premium for a plan through a co-op insurance program started by St. Croix Economic Development Corp. would have been $1,200 a month, she said.
“How can anybody afford $1,200?” she asked.
Benson said competition from China, as well as the economic downturn, had contributed to the closure of her previous company.
Baldwin said she introduced bipartisan legislature earlier this year that imposes tariffs on paper products from China when there is direct evidence that the Chinese government is subsidizing the production. The legislation got wrapped into a larger trade bill that was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama, she said.
“We need to have a level playing field. You need to have a voice for small, medium and even some big businesses, to say, when other counties are cheating, they need to be held accountable.”
From Hudson, Baldwin and Klobuchar traveled to River Falls, where they were scheduled to stop by a downtown café.
Finally, they visited the Shafer Family Dairy Farm near Spring Valley, where Baldwin accepted the endorsement of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.