Meet the candidates vying to replace Sen. Janet Bewley
SUPERIOR, WI. (Northern News Now) - Wisconsin Senate District 25 is the largest in the state, and the furthest from Madison, the state’s capital.
Current State Senator and Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley, a Democrat, announced her intention to not seek reelection this November earlier this year, kicking off a wide open race.
After redistricting, the district includes all of Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Douglas, Iron, Price and Washburn counties. With portions of Sawyer, Burnett, Dunn, Polk, St. Croix and Vilas counties as well.
The district is one of the most hotly contested this election cycle. In 2018, Senator Bewley won her race by just under three percentage points. The district also voted for Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020.
The two candidates vying for the open seat are Democratic candidate Kelly Westlund and Republican candidate Romaine Quinn.
Top issues like abortion and inflation were mentioned.
“I trust women and their doctors to make the choice that makes the most sense for them,” Westlund said.
Meanwhile, Quinn has a different take on the issue.
“I’m pro-life, I’ve been pro-life even when I was in the state assembly,” Quinn said.
Inflation has hit most of the country hard, and there’s no exception in the 25th district.
“It’s driven a lot by federal policy, so unfortunately the state of Wisconsin can’t single-handedly tackle that,” Quinn said.
“Inflation is a global issue,” Westlund said.
Westlund is no stranger to Northwest Wisconsin.
“I have been working for the last seven years as Senator Baldwin’s northwest regional representative,” she said.
Westlund also previously served on the Ashland City Council. In an effort to tackle new issues, she wants to head to the state’s capital. Inflation will be a top priority.
“Governor Evers has proposed suspending the gas tax to get the cost of fuel down,” she said.
Westlund also said she supports Evers suspending the mandatory minimum mark up. The mark up states that gas throughout the state has to be marked up in price by 9% per gallon. Quinn disagreed with Westlund’s position.
“When you look at suspending the gas tax that’s not the root of the problem, we have to reduce the cost of the production of energy,” he said.
Quinn is a former State Assemblyman who served from 2015-2021. He also was the youngest mayor of Rice Lake, Wisconsin.
“I was on the city council in Rice Lake when I was still in high school, served as mayor of Rice Lake when I was 19, did that for a term,” he said.
Quinn said inflation is the biggest issue facing the district. In his views, projects like Enbridge’s Line 5 can help reduce the energy strain. He also mentioned re-routing the pipeline is something he’s in favor of.
“There’s another issue that separates our two campaigns, so I’m supportive of the Line 5 re-route,” he said.
The pipeline runs right through the district to Michigan’s UP. Westlund said the re-route can be dangerous.
“The problem with that is just because of the makeup of the water shed,” she said, “instead of part of it, it would endanger the entirety of the reservation.”
Both Westlund and Quinn would be freshman Senators if elected, but they both agreed they have the connections they need in Madison.
“I formed relationships with a number of the other legislators that are there so I think that counts for something,” Westlund said.
Quinn echoed Westlund.
“I have the relationships in Madison to be effective once again,” he said.
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