Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey: Wisconsin roundup

Wisconsin is holding elections, including for state legislature, on Aug. 13, 2024. A number of candidates running in these elections completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Below is a selection of responses from a candidate who filled out the survey as of Nov. 14. To read the candidate’s full responses, click his name at the bottom of the article.

Collin McNamara (D) is running for Wisconsin State Senate District 24, and the Democratic primary is on Aug. 13. Here’s how McNamara responded to the following questions:

Who are you? Tell us about yourself.

“Growing up in Iola, Wisconsin, I was raised with values of respect and hard work. My parents instilled in me the importance of service. My father was a volunteer firefighter, and my mother was involved in various groups, all aimed at improving our community. In high school, I discovered my passion for service. After the 2016 election, I recognized the deep resentments within our politics and committed myself to rebuilding trust in government. When faced with adversity, my family taught me to ‘take it on the chin and keep going.’ This mantra taught me resilience and perseverance. In 2018, I graduated from Iola-Scandinavia High School. I chose to go to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. After my acceptance, a plan was announced to eliminate some programs, including my intended major. Recognizing the challenges ahead, I resolved to show up and enroll. I joined Student Government and I served on a committee that developed a policy ensuring that our policies made sense. During the height of the pandemic, I served as the Student Body President. I earned a reputation for asking tough questions, challenging the status quo, and collaborating with diverse individuals. I graduated with a B.A. in Political Science.”

What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office?

  • “I am running because I had several people come up to me and state that they have lost faith in their government, that all politicians are just the same, and that nothing will ever get done so what difference does it make. I am running because I want to change that. I want you to believe in government again. I want you to believe in Wisconsin again. I want you to believe in your leaders again. I want you to believe in Democracy again. This may sound naive or like a distant memory, but I believe as strongly as I ever have that our best days are still ahead of us, as long as we are willing to set aside the old petty politics of the past and move forward with good intentions.
  • I am also running to restore Wisconsin values back to Madison, values that I was raised to believe in. Values like honesty, integrity, empathy, respect and hard work. Honesty, is about saying that you are going to do something and then doing it. It means that you tell the truth, and call it as you see it. And that you are true to yourself, you don’t try to be someone who you aren’t depending on the situation you are in. Integrity, is holding yourself to the highest standard even when no one is looking. In life there are moments where you say that you will do something, and you have to follow through even, and especially, when it is difficult. Integrity means that your word is your bond. I will never be afraid to stand up for my constituents.
  • I am running to make sure our policies make sense, and to make sure that we are meeting people where they are at and not just expecting them to reach out to their leaders.”

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

“I am passionate about creating quality, affordable, well-funded public schools. We must reform our health care system, to build on the protections for those who have pre-existing conditions. We must accept the Medicaid expansion money, because it is our money, and it will expand access to more hard-working families. I am not interested in playing games with people’s lives. We must use it to improve the quality of life here in Wisconsin, this includes convenient access to affordable preventive care. Because health care isn’t about only going to a doctor when you are sick, or when your mouth is too sore to chew, or when you can’t walk anymore. Wisconsin’s hard-working families should not have to be forced to choose between, rent, food, or even your kids after school activities or health care. Health care should not send you into bankruptcy. We can keep fixing the damn roads, improve public transportation, and build a high-speed rail system. We don’t have to settle for failing infrastructure. We can keep working to achieve clean water in this State. It is 2023, everyone should have access to safe drinking water whether you have your own well or a public utility well. One way we can start to solve workforce retention in this state, is by making everyone feel welcome in Wisconsin. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it is also the smart thing to do.”

Do you believe that compromise is necessary or desirable for policymaking?

“I believe that doing the right thing is the most important thing to do, even if that means it is not the most politically convenient thing to do. Therefore, compromise is needed to achieve results in a state and country that is diverse in ideas and backgrounds. Sticking to the party line at every minute does not achieve representative democracy.”

Click here to read the rest of McNamara’s answers. 

If you’re a Wisconsin candidate or incumbent, click here to take the survey. The survey contains over 30 questions, and you can choose the ones you feel will best represent your views to voters. If you complete the survey, a box with your answers will display on your Ballotpedia profile. Your responses will also populate the information that appears in our mobile app, My Vote Ballotpedia.

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