Getting to know the candidates: Rep. John Spiros
Part of an ongoing series highlighting November election candidates
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — John Spiros is the incumbent Republican candidate running against Independent candidate Michael A. Taushek and Democratic candidate Nancy Stencil in the Wisconsin 86th Assembly District.
Spiros is an Air Force veteran and former member of law enforcement. He has already served two terms in the Assembly and is employed in the transportation industry.
On filling the need for skilled workers
One thing that we’ve done as a state, and we’ve put more money into to this, I think we’ve put over $100 million into Fast Forward grants, and the Fast Forward grants have really helped the businesses work with the tech schools to get those skilled laborers that they need.
The other thing is … the co-ops between the high schools, the tech schools, and the businesses.
(In) the state of Wisconsin, our employment is at the highest it’s ever been, so trying to find individuals to move into these isn’t super easy, but we are working on it, and I think that the grants have really helped.
On funding road work in Wisconsin
We know that infrastructure is important. … That’s to bring people into the state, you need a great infrastructure. We have some downfalls as far as funding. I think we have to look at all of the different options, but one thing that I can tell you that we didn’t do last time is we didn’t go along with the governor on the standpoint of borrowing more. We actually borrowed less. (It) was the lowest number in 30 years.
For me it is not about borrowing. Let’s think outside the box. Let’s do some of these other things.
One thing I proposed a few years ago was some of the others states, even in the rest areas, is they are getting sponsors for some of the road signs. It’s not enough to take care of the roads, but there is definitely enough to take care of the expenses that they have in some of those areas.
I think we really have to start with looking at all of the different options, and when it comes down to hitting someone’s pocketbook, that is always the last option.
On his accomplishments in office
This last session, out of 99 assembly members, I was No. 2 in the number of bills signed into law. Out of those bills signed into law, I had one that was not bipartisan. All of the rest were bipartisan.
If you look at the time I’ve been in, through when I was elected in 2012 until now, it’s greater than 95 percent bipartisanship, even the bills that don’t typically get signed and the bills that I have to work with others on. I am very open about working with the other side.
In politics I understand when you are running campaigns, and you’ve got this side or that side. And when you are on the floor and you are trying to do things, you are trying to do things for our constituents in Wisconsin.
On his next years if re-elected
I definitely want to hold the line on taxes. That is one of those important things that I’ve always said. I’m always concerned about what an individual is able to pay for, what they have in their pocketbook, and that is one thing I hear a great deal of when I knock on the door.
When I talk to a senior, that is one thing that they are telling me is that, “Look, if you raise this by this (much), I am not going to be able to afford this or that.” I don’t want to add that burden. I want to keep that burden low and take it away if possible.
I want to work on the legislation of the district — one thing that we did do is I am part of a rural task force, and the rural task force has to do with economic development and bolstering the workforce — increasing health care access; … developing STEM education, science, technology, engineering, and math in our schools; attracting teachers; expanding the broadband into the rural areas; … finding a solution to the transportation problem, and it has to be long term.
All area candidates are invited to sit down with Hub City Times prior to the Nov. 8 election.