Our views represent the institutional voice of The Lakeland Times.
They are researched and written independent of the newsroom.
The Republican and Democratic primaries for the seventh congressional district are Tuesday — the winners will face each other in May to determine who replaces Republican Sean Duffy as our representative in Congress — and in both parties the choice is straightforward and clear.
On the Republican side, we believe voters should nominate Northwoods state Sen. Tom Tiffany as the best candidate for northern Wisconsin. That’s because Mr. Tiffany is the one candidate who is what he says he is: a proven conservative.
Mr. Tiffany has been in the Legislature nearly a decade now, since 2011, serving one term in the Assembly and almost two terms in the Senate. During that time, he has compiled a remarkably long record of votes that establish his conservative credentials.
It is a record of fighting for liberty that cannot be disputed.
Among other things, Mr. Tiffany has voted time and again to re-establish and maintain our property rights after a massive effort in the late 2000s by Democrats to dismantle them, especially in the North. A regulatory assault upon our rights by the DNR had made it difficult for people to work or even live in northern Wisconsin, or to use their property reasonably.
But Mr. Tiffany, with the help of fellow legislators like former Rep. Adam Jarchow, helped restore our rights by removing regulatory barriers one at a time, steadily over time. The battle is far from over, but we are far freer today than we were in 2010.
But that’s not all. Over the past decade, Mr. Tiffany has been at the forefront of a GOP effort to roll back regulations that have thwarted small businesses and entrepreneurship. Thanks to his efforts, legislation such as the REINS Act and other laws have stripped unelected bureaucrats of their previously unbridled power to make administrative rules with the force of law, and to restore that power to the people through their elected representatives.
The importance of that effort cannot be overstressed, for it is vital to the future prosperity of our region. Then, too, Mr. Tiffany has also helped to roll back the massive tax burden Democrats had placed upon us all.
As a member of the budget-writing Joint Finance committee, Tom Tiffany has been key in cutting taxes in this state by more than $13 billion since 2011. In income tax rate cuts alone, a typical Wisconsin family will have saved $2,000 by the end of the decade.
Along the way, too, the senator has steadfastly stood up for life and for our Second Amendment rights.
We could go on, but it’s a strong track record, and we think Republicans should support him as the one candidate who can and will work to attain similar achievements in Washington.
Not that there haven’t been some glitches, most egregiously his vote to gut the state’s open records laws, a move that ensnared many Republicans and was met by a well-deserved furious public outcry and protest.
But even there, Mr. Tiffany showed character by apologizing for his vote once he realized the mistake he had made. Usually, when a politician makes a mistake, the natural inclination is to spin, not confess and ask for forgiveness. In this case, the senator put the spin in the closet and faced his constituents like a real leader.
There’s another important factor beyond his voting record that leads to our endorsement. Through the years, Tom Tiffany has been an extraordinarily accessible elected official. He routinely opens his doors to those who need help or have questions, and he routinely heads out across his district to listen to his constituents.
He and his staff are enormously cooperative in helping to fashion positive legislation, and that’s not just with other community leaders or special interests. He and his staff listen, help, and respond to average citizens, too — you know, the people who should really count, and who do count with Sen. Tiffany.
And, of course, he’s accessible to the media. During his tenure in Congress, Rep. Duffy did not once show his face at The Lakeland Times to answer questions, but Sen. Tiffany has made his way to the newspaper to answer tough questions time and again, and we expect he shall continue to do so if elected to Congress.
When it comes to his opponent in the primary, we have serious doubts about how conservative Jason Church really is. We have even more doubts about what his voting record would be, and about where his allegiances really lie, given the vast amount of out-of-district money that has poured in on his behalf.
For one thing, his support for a federal prevailing wage is a huge red flag. We are simply baffled that a conservative could support government command of a sector of the economy — which is what imposing wage standards on public projects represents, quite like a sky-high minimum wage — rather than letting markets work.
Simply put, a federal prevailing wage would brutally punish northern taxpayers and local contractors, and yet Mr. Church is adamant in his defense of it.
Just as troublesome, and perhaps even more so, is the expenditure of well more than a half-million dollars on Mr. Church’s behalf by a super PAC funded by the notoriously anti-gun rights and nanny state proponent Mike Bloomberg, as well as by Jeff Bezos, a heavy supporter of Democratic candidates and climate change causes, and who owns the predatory Amazon and the radical Washington Post.
That PAC, With Honor Fund, has an executive director who is a long-time Democratic Party political operative, and many of its supported candidates are Democrats, like Nancy Pelosi, which received money from the Honor Fund’s related PAC, or who have chameleon-like qualities, like U.S. Rep. Brian Mast of Florida, who campaigned as a pro-guns rights veteran but suddenly, after one incident of violence provided him cover, swallowed whole Mike Bloomberg’s gun confiscation plans.
We’re not saying Jason Church would do the same thing. What we’re saying is that we don’t know, and, if the past is prologue, we are concerned the history might repeat, especially since Mr. Church himself made a donation in 2017 to a liberal New York congressman who voted to impeach Trump after once opposing impeachment.
There’s just too many flip-flops going on with Honor Fund candidates to ignore them all.
With Tom Tiffany, we can be sure. With Tom Tiffany, we know who we’re getting. We’re getting a battle-tested conservative. With Tom Tiffany, we’re getting a long-time fighter for our community. Perhaps most important, we’re getting a devout supporter of the U.S. constitution.
One last word about the With Honor PAC and Jason Church. In making our political judgments, we do not mean to dismiss or dishonor Mr. Church’s service and sacrifice to our nation as a military veteran. We thank him for it, and acknowledge all that he has done for our republic.
But service alone cannot be enough to justify support in a political contest. The With Honor PAC dismisses charges that it is a shady front group for Democrats by saying that it simply endorses veterans without any screening for ideology.
Perhaps — though our suspicions remain — but, even if that is the case, it is wrong-headed and self-defeating, for military veterans are no more or no less politically biased than the rest of us. To support veterans without regard to their political beliefs or their commitment to our constitution, without regard for their support of the rights the constitution gives us to protect ourselves from tyrannical government, could easily lead to the election of those who would shred it and our rights.
Such an outcome would cause the republic itself to crumble, and would render meaningless the sacrifice that all veterans and their families have made to keep our republic strong. Some of Mr. Church’s donors, their actions and the actions of those they have supported, not to mention Mr. Church’s own donation and pro-union tilt give us pause on that count.
Tom Tiffany gives us no such pause, and we urge Republican voters to support him wholeheartedly in Tuesday’s primary.