Working to secure the economic future of rural Wisconsin is of the utmost importance for Neil Kline.
Kline announced Monday his candidacy for the Wisconsin 29th Assembly District as he looks to focus on issues of education, jobs and health care.
Incumbent Rob Stafsholt announced he was seeking election to the state Senate in Wisconsin’s 10th District in November. Kline becomes the third individual to announce candidacy to fill the seat, joining Ryan Sherley (R-New Richmond) and John Rocco Calabrese (D-Menomonie).
Kline (R-New Richmond) said communities far from Madison can sometimes be overlooked. It’s important to have someone capable of articulating the needs of those in the 29th district, he said.
“I want to be a voice for this part of this state and I think my background and experiences have given me an opportunity to see what an effective voice looks like and to be able to work to learn from that example,” Kline said.
Kline grew up in Milltown and graduated from Unity High School before attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated in 2018.
During his time in Madison he worked for the university system as well as former state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
“I think that time working with Sheila really impressed on me the importance of making sure we have the kind of economic opportunities that can support families and then by extension communities,” Kline said.
Education is a tool for people to lead fulfilling and healthy lives, he said. He wants to work close the gap between high school and when people enter the workforce. Enrolling in technical colleges, trade training and apprenticeships are all viable options. The transition from high school to other educational paths should be simple and easier to navigate.
“It is a valuable, meaningful trajectory for someone to take and we should make sure that we celebrate it,” Kline said.
Once people have the education, it’s important that jobs that use those skills are available, Kline said. His goal would be to ensure Wisconsin is a business-friendly state that finds ways to train and retain talent. Controlling taxes and regulations are key to making sure this happens, he said.
Kline is also focused on finding ways to provide access to high-quality health care while lowering premiums and costs. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year and this has led him to learning about the costs and complex nature of healthcare. He would vote to protect pre-existing condition coverage and bans on life-time insurance coverage caps, he said.
“I think we need to look for innovative and effective ways to not only control outright healthcare costs — or finding market based ways to do that — but then also working to find ways to control insurance premiums and at the same time to make sure we have high-quality care and access to that care,” Kline said.
Kline also made stops in Baldwin and New Richmond Monday to announce his campaign. He said he learned the value of listening, respect and community involvement from his family and the community he grew up in. This was only strengthened during his time working with Harsdorf.
“I’m excited to get out and start hearing from folks about the challenges that are impacting their places of business, their communities, their schools and their children,” Kline said.
There are issues that affect the entire state but some issues are more specific to those in the 29th District. Making sure those in Madison don’t forget about western Wisconsin is what makes a good voice for those in the district, he said. Kline believes focusing on education, economic development and health care are keys to ensuring the future of rural Wisconsin.
“I’m running because I want to work on issues that will help people live independent, fulfilling and healthy lives,” Kline said. “I believe that self-sufficiency and self-improvement and self-empowerment are the way to do that.”
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