SHEBOYGAN – In a candidate forum Friday, Republican incumbent Terry Katsma and Democratic challenger Mary Lynne Donohue talked about their visions for the 26th Assembly District.
Both candidates were asked about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, redistricting and decriminalizing marijuana.
The forum was hosted by the Sheboygan County Chamber and was live streamed on Facebook. A recording of the forum will be available online. Voters in the 26th District will choose between the two candidates in the November election.
The forum also featured the three Democratic candidates hoping to face Glenn Grothman to represent the Sixth Congressional District in Novemeber.
Katsma took office in 2015, calling the position a second career after 30 years at a Sheboygan County bank. He is part of the Joint Finance Committee in the state legislature.
Donohue is a retired attorney and serves on the Sheboygan Common Council, representing District 3, which encompasses the city’s downtown.
Here is what both candidates had to say:
Candidates were asked what impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the state budget and how they plan to address that impact.
Katsma said in January the economy was “roaring along” and they were dealing with a surplus, but since the pandemic, revenues are down.
“We know it’s going to be difficult,” Katsma said, and added legislators are waiting on the Legislative Fiscal Bureau for what the tax revenues are going to be.
Donohue said using the state’s rainy day fund wisely is important, and the key will be the next federal package, which she hopes has “significant support for both state and local governments.” The educational system is also in need of support, she said.
“It’s going to be a huge struggle,” Donohue said of the virus’ impact.
Katsma called a lack of trust between Gov. Tony Evers and legislators “unfortunate,” but criticized Evers for saying one thing and doing another.
Donohue said fair maps would change “this horrible uncivil dysfunctional government system” and make for a more balanced legislature to address the pandemic and work across the aisle.
Decriminalizing marijuana and medical marijuana
Donohue said she supports the legalization of marijuana “period,” and that responsibly grown and regulated, it would provide significant tax revenues.
“The thought that somehow marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol is simply not correct,” Donohue said, though there is “absolute potential for abuse with marijuana, as there is for alcohol.” Donohue said the same rules should apply for abusing marijuana while driving as alcohol.
Donohue pointed to mass incarceration and said too many people are incarcerated for small amounts of marijuana and called incarcerating people for less serious crimes like that “foolish.” Noting the…