Kathy Bernier learned state politics during one of the most contentious legislative sessions in Wisconsin history. She weathered the firestorm over the passage of Act 10 both in Madison and back home in the 68th Assembly District.
Now the Republican from Lake Hallie is running for re-election in the Nov. 6 election. Her obvious depth of knowledge of the issues facing the state has earned her the Herald’s endorsement for her re-election.
Bernier said she wants to continue to work for creating jobs through the private sector. She calls for an investment in vocational education, saying that is the priority to fill open manufacturing jobs.
She is on less steady ground when she cites the unfettered growth of higher education by citing an example that the University of Wisconsin-Stout grew from 14 programs in 1988 to 44 programs currently. The university rightly noted the percentage of state aid it received in that span fell from over 40 percent to 13 percent.
But Bernier is right when she says the local school funding formula needs to be addressed as long as wealthy districts can afford to pay a teacher $70,000 while a poor one can pay $30,000.
Bernier’s Democratic opponent, Judy Smriga of Thorp, is thoroughly versed in education after spending 43 years in teaching, and brings great passion and enthusiasm for serving others.
But Bernier has a superior grasp of the state budget and will not have to be caught up to speed on other issues facing the state.