Gubernatorial candidates participate in Q&A in Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Gubernatorial candidates participate in Q&A in Eau Claire

Eau Claire (WQOW) -

Several state groups put together an event Saturday at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, so locals could learn more about the candidates running for governor.

Instead of just a few designated locals asking questions, everyone had the opportunity to participate.

"The purpose was to get all of the candidates up to the Chippewa Valley to address our concerns up here in Northwestern Wisconsin," said Elizabeth Feil of the Eau Claire Our Wisconsin Revolution chapter. "Because often we don't see the candidates as much up this way and we don't have a chance to talk to them directly. So, we tried to have a format today where the candidates could talk directly with the voters and answer voter questions."

Feil said that one of the hot topics discussed was school and gun violence.

"Take a look at what we proposed with reference to assault weapons and the like," said candidate Dana Wachs. "I've been a hunter and a fishermen my whole life, but it's time that we do something about this scurge, this continual danger that we have in our schools. That's got to stop."

Other candidates agreed that a change needs to be made.

"What has happened this past couple weeks, with the reaction to the shooting in Florida, is disgraceful," said candidate Bob Harlow. "The NRA is only concerned with gun sales. There are people who think the NRA is representing their right to own a gun. That is not the case. The NRA wants to sell guns to anybody and everybody regardless of their motives."

"We are not going to arm those adults, I can tell you that right now, that work in our schools," said candidate Tony Evers. "I will go to jail before I allow that to happen."

Tony Evers was one of five candidates that didn't make the gubernatorial forum held a few weeks ago at the Eau Claire Children's Theater, along with Kathleen Vinehout, Michele Doolan, Jeff Rumbaugh and Bob Harlow.

But something that did headline both events, was health care reform.Two of the candidates at Saturday's forum told voters about their personal motives for pursuing affordable coverage for all.

"I taught health policy and ran the graduate and undergraduate program at the university for ten years, and I know what it's like to live on food stamps and be without health insurance, both of which have happened in my life," said Vinehout.

Vinehout said those who are sick should not have to worry about how they will pay the bills. Doolan talked about her battles with MS and medical debt.

"The people on the top, who are against single payer health care or health care for all, are willing to let you get sick and die and suffer to maintain their life," said Doolan.

Governor Scott Walker wasn't at Saturday's forum. However the Republican party of Wisconsin sent News 18 a statement about the event which read,

"The wide-open field of highly-flawed democrats is campaigning against Wisconsin's comeback and embracing the failed policies of yesterday that would take our state backward. Wisconsin is working as Governor Walker continues to get positive things done for our state."

The primary for the governor's race and senate are coming up in August. The general elections for both are in November.

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