Tracy ready to fight for schools
By Robert Cloud
Erin Tracy, the Democratic candidate for the 40th District Assembly seat, lives in rural Weyauwega, next door to her grandfather.
“I spent a lot of summer weeks helping my grandpa on his small dairy farm,” Tracy said.
Tracy attended school in Menomonee Falls, then graduated in 2009 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
She earned a master’s degree in art with a qualification in education at the University of Dundee in Scotland.
Currently, Tracy is an artist and a stay-at-home mother.
She is also chair of the Waupaca County Democratic Party and a member of the Waupaca Area Community Arts Board.
“I saw an opportunity to make meaningful change, do some good and serve the community I love,” Tracy said, when asked why she decided to run for state Assembly.
“I worry for my son Oscar, his education and how policies in place will affect his future,” Tracy said. “I don’t think anybody’s future is safe.”
Among her goals are clean water, affordable health care and “If you work, you won’t live in poverty.”
Tracy said she wants to expand early childhood education in rural areas and provide state funding for 4K and 3K programs.
She also supports changing the school funding formula.
Due to declining enrollments, rural school districts have seen dwindling state revenues.
As a result, districts face budget shortfalls and local residents see higher property taxes.
She noted that the Weyauwega-Fremont School District experienced an $800,000 shortfall in its last budget.
“As a parent, I am ready to fight for our schools so they can be their best and get the help they need,” Tracy said.
Tracy is concerned that municipalities are losing control over issues that affect local people.
She said more and more power is being concentrated in Madison and Washington. State government has infringed on the ability of local governments to require insurance on pipelines, control cellphone tower sites and require employers to offer paid sick leave.
“The legislature passed over 160 bills that directly attack local control,” Tracy said.
Tracy believes another way to ensure more local input is for the state representative to have office hours in the district.
“I would set aside time to meet with people in the community,” Tracy said. “I don’t think you should have to go to Madison to talk with your representative.”
Tracy described the $4.5 billion in state and local government subsidies to FoxConn Technology Group as “an example of crony capitalism at its worst.”
FoxConn plans to invest $10 billion in a manufacturing complex that will make flat-panel display screens in Mount Pleasant.
The Taiwanese company has said the complex will create 13,000 jobs.
Tracy said Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign finance chair, Jon Hammes, runs the company that FoxConn chose as its lead developer.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Hammes “donated $150,000 in 2015 to a political action committee backing Walker’s run for president.”
Hammes and his wife have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state and national Republican Party.
“This is the largest taxpayer give-away to a foreign corporation in history,” Tracy said. “Very few people, if any, in the 40th Assembly District will see any gains at all.”
Tracy said the Walker administration shifted $90 million from other transportation projects to do FoxConn related road work.
Tracy also questions Walker’s claims about the economy.
“If things are so great, why is the suicide rate among farmers so high?” Tracy asked. “Why did 500 small dairy farms across Wisconsin close last year?”
A state study released in June showed Wisconsin’s poverty rate rose from 9.7 percent in 2015 to 10.8 percent in 2016.
Child poverty rose from 10 percent in 2015 to 12 percent in 2016.
Tracy attributed the growing poverty in Wisconsin to low wages and lack of benefits.
“I would support raising the minimum wage and a BadgerCare buy-in option,” Tracy said. “I think that would make our economy stronger in Wisconsin.”
Tracy is running against state Rep. Kevin Petersen, the Republican incumbent.