Your Voice, Your Vote: The 8th Congressional District
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Centered on Green Bay, Appleton and the Door peninsula, the 8th Congressional District includes 10 Northeast Wisconsin counties and a portion of an 11th. Congressman Mike Gallagher looks to retain his seat and continue representing the district. He faces Amanda Stuck, who’s been representing the state’s 57th Assembly District stretching from Appleton to Menasha.
As an incumbent representing Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District for 4 years now, Republican Mike Gallagher says he’s learned a lot since first taking office.
“I assumed that the problem with Congress was just the people: That the people in Congress were all corrupt or selfish or self-interested, or they just wanted to go there, collect a paycheck for 40 years and get rich being a lobbyist -- and there’s a lot of that, don’t get me wrong -- the swamp is very much a swamp, and it’s why I’ve made congressional reform such a priority over the last 4 years -- but, and this is a big ‘but,’ there are a lot of good people, too, from all walks of life, on both sides of the aisle, that just want to help their constituents and serve their country.”
His platform has been to advocate for farmers, create agricultural jobs and make sure there isn’t a generational gap.
“It’s not just your grandpa’s 10 cow dairy milking by hand. It’s heavily advanced, robotics, AI, cutting edge science. It’s cool, it’s exciting, it’s ‘sexy’ for lack of a better term, getting that next generation interested in it. But also fixing our broken immigration system so we have, for example, a state-based guest worker visa program; we have people that are willing to work our farms legally.”
He’s worked on initiatives that contribute to cleaner waterways in Northeast Wisconsin and, another priority, cyber security, signing on to bills that will help fight against national, state and local cyber crimes.
Gallagher served for 7 years in the Marine Corps. He currently serves on the House Armed Services and the Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
This time running, Gallagher is now a husband. He also became a new dad during the pandemic. With that said, supporting local businesses during this pandemic is a priority as he sits inside Allouez Cafe, where his grandmother was once known as a regular.
“One thing I think we can pass tomorrow is, there’s $138 billion of unused PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] money and we should get off the sidelines and into the game and make businesses like Allouez Cafe, a lot of the small restaurants around Northeast Wisconsin that are still struggling to survive, particularly as we have a spike right now in coronavirus cases, give them access to that money. That’s a no-brainer. That shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”
One thing he says he’s most proud of is working with others who have the same representative drive. He says he will reach across the aisle with those who have a vision that benefits the American people, most especially the people of Northeast Wisconsin.
“You don’t see me out there every day bashing other people. Trying to stay focused on the positives, focused on what Northeast Wisconsin needs, and whether it’s delivering the freeit contract that will create 5,000 jobs in Northeast Wisconsin, whether it’s all the programs funded by the CARES Act, whether it’s multiple Department of Transportation grants, whether it’s three years now in a row passing a bipartisan national offense authorization act, being ranked number one in my class for leadership for my willingness to work across the aisle, I really just try to represent the spirit on Northeast WIsconsin."
Representative Amanda Stuck was first elected to the state Assembly back in 2014.
The lifelong Appleton resident is a wife and a mother, and in addition to her duties in the 57th Assembly District she’s currently working as an instructional support technician with the Kimberly School District.
Stuck says it was a conversation she had with a constituent, who sent her a letter about his wife’s cancer diagnosis and fear of losing health coverage if the Affordable Care Act goes away, that drove her to run for the 8th Congressional District.
“I called him to talk about the letter and about health care and he said, ‘I’ve heard from you, but I’ve never heard a word back from Mike Gallagher.’ And that was really the day that I decided I was going to run, because it’s completely unacceptable to me that somebody would get a letter like that and not respond to a constituent.”
At a time when politics is so divisive, Stuck touts her work across party lines in the Wisconsin Legislature as a good reason to send her to Congress. During her time in the state Assembly, Stuck co-authored or co-sponsored at least 50 bipartisan bills.
She also worked to launch the Wisconsin Future Caucus which is comprised of the Legislature’s youngest members, both Democrats and Republicans. The Future Caucus provides a platform for lawmakers to share ideas and unite around issues that affect young Wisconsinites. Stuck also helped to create the Paper Caucus, a bipartisan group focused on helping Wisconsin’s paper industry.
“That work in a bipartisan fashion, really focusing on issues that I’m hearing about here, is what I’m proud of doing and what I will continue to do.”
As a Democrat in the 8th Congressional District, a Republican stronghold, Stuck knows she has her work cut out for her if she wants to win her election.
“The truth is, people like me have a very hard time getting to Congress because we can’t raise that money, we don’t have those connections. So it really isn’t about the ideas or the candidates, it’s all about who raises more money to get on TV.”
COVID-19 has limited her ability to talk with people face-to-face, but her campaign has worked diligently to get her message as the people’s candidate across with literature and door hangers and a commercial that started running on TV with about three weeks to go until election day.
Stuck believes her life experience puts her in a good place to represent the people of the 8th Congressional District.
“I have been awake at night wondering how I’m going to pay the mortgage when the economy is slow, or what’s going to happen if David’s job gets slow at the shop, How will we make it? I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to have a son who had a health issue and no provider will take us because we don’t have the right insurance. I know what it’s like to lay awake at night worrying about those things, and so I’m committed to the voters who are in those same positions to work for them and fight for them and not put my party first -- to really try and work with them and try to do the best for them.”
Just weeks before election day, Stuck received the endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. While she was honored that someone of his stature recognized what she’s trying to do with her campaign, Stuck is more focused on the people she plans to serve if elected to Congress.
“Of course at the end of the day, all that really matters are the people here in Northeast Wisconsin and their vote, and that’s what will matter most to me come election day."
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