Fall election 2022: State Assembly Dist. 61 Republican primary candidate Q&A

There will be a contested Republican primary for state Assembly Dist. 61 on the Aug. 9 partisan primary ballot.

Appearing on the ballot will be:

  • Mike Honold
  • Amanda Nedweski

Incumbent Samantha Kerkman did not run for re-election. She was elected Kenosha County executive in April. The district includes most of Western Kenosha County except Wheatland.

The same questionnaire was submitted by westofthei.com to each candidate by email. Here are the candidates’ biographical information followed by their question responses, presented in alphabetical order:

Mike Honold — Age: 47; City, village, town where you reside: Town of Brighton; Education: Carthage College, 1997; Occupation:  Small Business Owner; Previous elected or appointed public office: None.

Amanda Nedweski — Age: 46; City, village, town where you reside: Pleasant Prairie; Education: B.A. Communication, UW-Parkside; Occupation: Corporate Financial Planning and Analysis; Previous elected or appointed public office: I currently serve as the Kenosha County Board Supervisor for District 16. Chair of the Human Services Committee, and member of the Legislative and Executive Committees. If elected to the State Assembly, I plan to remain on the county board. Many Assembly members also hold public office at the local level.

1.) Why are you the best choice for state representative-61st Assembly Dist.?

Honold — I believe that I am the best choice for a few reasons. My resume is very diverse as I have worked in the public sector as a city planner, the private sector in real estate and land development and most recently as a small business owner. In all three of those sectors, I have built communities.  As a small business owner I am responsible for 25 employees and by extension, their families.  I know how to budget and navigate tough times to stay succesful.  I sign the front of paychecks, not just the back, and I believe that experience is important as it will lend a fresh perspecitive to this Seat and serve the residents of the 61st District well.

Nedweski — As a lifelong resident of Kenosha County, I have witnessed firsthand the evolution and growth of our community over nearly five decades. Having lived and worked both in the city and the county, I have a broad understanding of how neighboring municipalities affect each other culturally, socially, and fiscally. This perspective is critical in my decision making as a County Board Supervisor, and it will be a key factor in representation of the diverse population of Wisconsin’s 61st Assembly District.  I know the people of Kenosha County, and they know me. That’s why I am a trusted and proven conservative leader. The rapid economic expansion affecting the 61st district has brought many gains to residents and businesses. However, it also must be tempered with careful diligence to preserve the balance of industries represented in our area while prioritizing quality of life for the people who live here. My extensive international background in corporate finance with a global agricultural manufacturing company is a powerful tool that facilitates positive relationship building among all stakeholders. Negotiation is a key skill that led to success in my business career, and I will keenly leverage that ability in the state legislature. Additionally, my experience as the spouse of a five-generation local family business owner provides the necessary insight to keep the preservation and support of our small businesses in the forefront of decision making. In addition, I have secured strong partnerships with community leaders through my tireless role as a grassroots champion for parental rights in education, medical freedom, and election integrity. Serving as the Vice-Chair of the Kenosha County chapter of Moms for Liberty contributed significantly to my decision to run for public office. Lastly, I am a no-nonsense mom of teen boys. I am running to represent hard working people whose voices have been ignored for too long. It’s time for common sense solutions to economic problems hitting families the hardest. For such a time as this, who better than a mother to take on the challenge? Parents are the last line of defense, and our time is now to step up and lead to protect the future for our children and grandchildren.

2.) What would be your top priorities if elected?

Honold — Top priorities are law enforcement and public safety, we need to support those that protect us everyday. Law Enforcement and Public Safety departments are very understaffed across our county and we need to find a way to get those agencies staffed in such a way that response times do not continue drop.  Our area of the State is growing at an above average rate and we need to keep pace with that growth to make sure Kenosha County continues to be a great place to live and raise a family.

Nedweski — Fighting inflation, over-taxation, and over-regulation. Education reform and parental rights in education. Public safety – funding law enforcement; strong bail and sentencing reform. Fiscal accountability in government – eliminate wasteful spending, require transparency at all levels. Election integrity – enact laws that strengthen elections to restore trust in the voting process.

3.) What does the state legislature need to do, if anything, regarding abortion?

Honold — I am a Pro Life Candidate and have been endorsed by the Wisconsin Right to Life organization.  That endorsement is a qualified endorsement as I do believe in exceptions such as health of the mother, rape and incest. 

Nedweski — The abortion 1849 law on the books in Wisconsin has gone through many revisions. An excellent history of Wisconsin abortion laws can be found at https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lrb/lrb_reports/history_of_abortion_laws_6_4.pdf. Being endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life means that I agree with their stance on abortion. However, we are not living in 1849, and all lawmakers should be willing to take into account scientific discoveries and developments since the law was passed over 150 years ago.  In rare circumstances, options are not black and white, and I am obligated to continue my education on this issue so that decisions are fully informed. Before making updates or changes to ANY laws, we have the responsibility to include ALL available factual information in the lawmaking process.

4.) What does the state legislature need to do, if anything, regarding elections?

Honold — The State Legislature needs to find a way forward to ensure that our elections are secure.  I am very concerned that based on the non partisan Legislative Audit Bureau report, many of the election laws on the books were not being followed in prior elections.  That’s unacceptable.  I will work to push forward legislation that will clarify the law where needed, and toughen penalties on those who choose not to follow them. 

Nedweski — The Wisconsin State Legislature has already passed numerous bills since 2020 that would strengthen our election process. These bills were all vetoed by Governor Evers. Progress has been made with the clarification of the Wisconsin State Supreme Court’s decision that the use of absentee ballot boxes is not permitted per the state constitution. To restore trust, existing election statutes need to be uniformly enforced and followed by every municipal clerk and at every poll location to work as intended.  Wisconsin has no excuse for not cleaning up the voter rolls.  Deceased voters, voters who have moved without updating their registration, and indefinitely confined voters who do not meet the criteria must be taken off of the registry. Because we have same day voter registration in our state, any accidental removals are easy to remedy with registration on voting day. Security can be enhanced by adopting systematic procedures to flag high numbers of registrations or absentee ballot requests at a single address. With advanced technology already being used by the state, we can partner with existing agencies to incorporate notifications of registrations that indicate locations that are not residential addresses, such as empty lots. Regardless of the outcome of 2020 election investigations and recounts, public perception of the fairness of elections has suffered. Legislators and elected officials have a high-priority obligation to address this distrust in ways that restore confidence in our sacred voting process.

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