Chojnacki for Assembly

Forward again in the 38th District

Category: News

Getting civility back in government

I’ve been doing a lot of doors. Yesterday, I was in Oconomowoc again. Unwittingly, I approached one of Scott Fitzgerald’s aids as he was mowing his lawn. He stopped me shortly after I told him I was running against Kleefisch. He is a pleasant guy and we had a laugh after he told me he was an aid to Fitzgerald. I later learned he was Steve Fodi’s son and I was doing doors in the Fodi neighborhood.

That encounter was certainly better (but less entertaining) than the person who first told me to get off his property and then threatened to send his dogs after me if I didn’t leave his neighborhood. He continued to yell at me as I completed the other side of the street and returned to my car.

The Fodi example is one where we can disagree without hating each other. I might add, although Fodi and I did not have any discussion, I have had many pleasant and extended discussions with Republicans as well as Tea Party people as I met them doing doors. In fact, some said they would vote for me.

Unfortunately, the second example shows just how successful the current administration and its out-of-state big money friends are at using voter anger to divide us. People do have the right to be angry; they just are angry at the wrong people.

I’d say that of the people I’ve run into doing doors in Oconomowoc, who say they know Joel Kleefisch personally, about ½ like him while the other ½ seems to want to express a strong dislike for him. Clearly, he is one who divides. I want to unite us and am very encouraged by the positive discussions mentioned above.


Candidate Forum

On September 18th at 6:30 PM, the Deerfield Cares Coalition is holding a candidate forum. It will be held at the Deerfield Community Center located at 3 West Deerfield Street.

The topic of the forum, which Mr. Kleefisch and I will address, is substance abuse. The forum will be recorded for local access television. I will be available to answer additional questions after the taping.

Rules of Thumb


It’s time to move away from the rules of thumb that many use to put forward ideas on the economy. Putting one of these “rules of thumb” in simple terms, “raising the minimum wage kills jobs.” In these days of “big data,” surely we can begin to use analytical data to develop real solutions to solve our economic problems. But at a minimum we can use the data at hand instead of the rules of thumb.

Data shows states, which have raised their minimum wage, have stronger economies as measured by job creation, to cite one measure, than those states that did not. A notable but telling exception is this. Counties of $7.25/hr. states that are adjacent to $10.10/hr. states see a comparable growth in job creation as their neighboring state.

By raising the minimum wage in Wisconsin to $10.10/hr., we can begin to move Wisconsin’s economy from the bottom of the ranking of Midwest states and live up to our state’s motto: Forward.

Upcoming Debate

On September 10 at 7 p.m., the Watertown Chapter of the American Association of University Women and the Watertown Chamber of Commerce are holding candidate conversations.

The conversations will be held at the Sonder Martini & Coffee House in The Market, 210 South Water Street in Watertown starting at 6 p.m.

My conversation with Joel Kleefisch is scheduled for 7 p.m.. The conversation is scheduled to last 15 minutes and will be taped by the local access television station in Watertown and distributed to any/all local access television stations within the 38th Assembly district.

Susan Happ, Doug La Follette, David Sartori, Michelle Zahn, Mary Arnold and their respective opponents were also invited.

Believing you’re right vs. “knowing” you’re right

Reflecting on my chance encounter with Scott Fitzgerald’s aide, I’m reminded of one of the reasons Michelle Zahn is running against Fitzgerald. Now that he has a majority in the senate, Fitzgerald feels he doesn’t need to listen to what the Democratic senators have to say about anything. (Not to mention the numerous complaints I’ve heard as I’ve done doors about Joel’s distain for people who disagree with him.) Michelle rightfully points out that no one has a monopoly on good ideas; in fact, those who don’t agree with you can often help you see the flaws in your ideas.

It’s useful to compare the American Revolution to the French Revolution: No heads rolled during the American Revolution. That’s because the English “thought” they were right while the French “knew” they were right. Arriving at certainty in an echo chamber can lead to errors that history will judge harshly.

Bringing this argument forward to the present, it has been my experience in the high tech industry, as well as education, that the best and most innovative solutions come when people with different experiences, better yet disciplines, have an open discussion about a problem.

We can only live up to our state motto “Forward,” when we work together. That’s why the politics of division and certainty of having a monopoly on good ideas are not serving Wisconsin now and will not serve us in the future as we compete in a global economy. In fact, I strongly believe it will only cause Wisconsin to fall further behind, not just the other states in the Midwest, but also the rest of the country and the world.

Recent Endorsements

Recently, my campaign has been endorsed by (in alphabetical order)

  • Citizen Action of Wisconsin, and
  • WEAC.

Pay Equality: Equal pay for equal profit

It’s common to hear talk about “job creators.” But in the same breath we should be talking about the “profit makers.”  Business owners only hire people who will make a profit for the company.  These are the profit makers.  Any employee, who makes a profit for a company, should be fairly paid for the profit produced.  So any woman producing the same profit for a company as a man should receive equal pay for equal profit.


Q & A with Tom Chojnacki

Q-and-AWhen do you start campaigning in earnest?

I’ve already started. I’ve knocked on somewhere in the neighborhood (no pun intended) of 1,000 doors.

How do you stand on Wisconsin accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid?

Economically, it makes sense to support the expansion of Medicaid, which I do.

The Colorado Hospital Association just published a study of 30 states. The study found that the 15 states that accepted the expansion saw a 34% drop in self-payer charges and a 32% drop in charity care cases at hospitals (which should reduce hospital costs). Wisconsin pays on average 79 to 99% higher premiums than Minnesota, which accepted Medicaid expansion.

If you had to choose between balancing the state budget and continuing to 100% funding for public sector pensions and health care, on which side would you come down?

That’s a false choice.

Lowering healthcare expenses in effect gives people more discretionary money, which stimulates the economy in a productive way. The Great Depression shows that the best way to stimulate the economy (as opposed to just stimulating the stock market) is to give middle and lower income people more discretionary money to spend. When people buy goods and services, more jobs are created and tax revenues increase.

Regarding public sector pensions, my wife Gloria has long said that she gets paid much more than the public sector people she works with and that they could earn more if they went into the private sector. But public workers gave up pay for benefits — so it all equals out in the end. Public sector benefits were a contract made with those workers that should be honored.

Walker used benefits to divide the state because he couldn’t use pay. (By the way, within the state Walker argued that he had to cut those benefits, but under oath at a Congressional hearing, he admitted that he did not have to.)

Should Wisconsin increase the minimum wage? If so, to what level?

If you look at the economics of raising the minimum wage, an increase to $10.10 in the fast food market, it would cause a $1.00 fast food meal to increase to $1.03. Not a big impact.

Since it would be spread over the whole economy, the negative impact would be negligible. But with more discretionary money for low wage earners to spend, it would have a positive impact on the economy. So as low as $10.10 is a no-brainer.

The state of Washington has raised its minimum wage to $15 with no ill effects.

Should Wisconsin accept some of the new “immigrants” crossing our southern borders?

I’m the grandson of immigrants – from Poland and Norway. I’ll leave it at that.

If elected, how would you propose to increase full time employment in Wisconsin?

1) Since Wisconsin manufacturers complain that they can’t find well-trained employees, I would return all the money that Walker took from education and increase the money to the tech schools. I would work to develop state-corporate partnerships to develop internships. An educated workforce increases productivity. Wisconsin companies are competing globally; we need workers who can compete at a world class level.

2) Recruiters that I’ve spoken to have said they can’t recruit high talent to Wisconsin because our mass transit is so poor. In fact as I discussed this with a young entrepreneur, who recently sold one of three businesses he started to Ford. He told me that 15 of his 17 employees take mass transit; they don’t want to drive to work. I would work to improve mass transit, which would also create construction jobs and other related jobs.

3) I would work to try to get the Federal money for high speed rail that Walker declined. Since Walker declined that money, a number of private organizations and companies, and cities in Wisconsin are trying to raise money to build a new rail line from Chicago to Madison to Minneapolis. Wisconsin is a net exporter of money to the Federal government, so accepting this money and developing our infrastructure is a two-fer

Wisconsin companies are competing globally, we need workers who can compete at a world class level.

How important to you is balancing the State budget?

Since the state constitution requires a balanced budget, there is no question it needs to be balanced.

Are you in favor of “Common Core”?

I see common core as bringing two benefits. 1) Students would be able to transfer schools without missing parts of their education and 2) it will hold administrators more accountable for what is being taught in schools.

Who do you support in Wisconsin’s governor race?

Here are my choices

A governor who

  1. Has six of his former aids in jail (you’d think it was Tammany Hall);
  2.  Has been a career politician with his only “real life” experience being four years doing fundraising and marketing for the Red Cross;
  3. Presented an economic plan for the state that was four pages long, two pages if you take out all the pictures of him. (Under Walker’s plan, Wisconsin has dropped 44th in economic performance);
  4.  Established the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) with no accountability. WEDC has awarded tax breaks to companies after they moved jobs out of state, but have been Walker campaign donors;
  5. Has extracted political retribution on Milwaukee’s County Board because they prevented him as County Executive. from driving Milwaukee county into a bigger rat hole than he did;
  6. Has only divided the state that was united before he got into office (both sides of the aisle used to work together before he became governor);

Or a candidate who

  1.  has worked in the private sector with a lot of leadership experience,
  2. is not a career politician with an eye on the presidency,
  3. has worked to improve local communities,
  4. has a REAL economic plan, not one based upon ideology.

I’d say the choice is pretty straightforward – Mary Burke.



Authorized and paid for by Chojnacki for Assembly, Gloria Chojnacki, Treasurer © 2014
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