Getting to know the candidates: Rep. Sean Duffy
The final installment of an ongoing series highlighting November election candidates
MARSHFIELD — Rep. Sean Duffy is the currently seated Republican candidate running against Democratic candidate Mary Hoeft in the 7th Congressional District.
Duffy is a professional lumberjack athlete and prosecutor who was elected to office in 2010.
On the cost of higher education
I think we need to look at what is the cost driver of higher education, and a lot of folks, especially on the left, want to look at costs are increasing so want to transfer the cost from the student to the taxpayer, and I think it’s important that we look at what is actually driving the cost of a college education.
If you drive to any one of our larger campuses or you walk through a larger campus, there is swimming pools and racquetball courts, new dining facilities. … It’s like a Club Med at all of our universities. I think we have to look at those costs that continue to drive tuition up for all of our kids.
Not only that — we have to look at how many classes our professors teach and how many administrators do we have and how much does that cost.
We have to run our universities more like businesses in the sense that you can’t just continue to spend all of this money and expect that our kids can continue to pay that cost of higher education.
On funding roadwork
Some have argued that we should have a gas tax increase, some have argued for tolling, or some have asked for tax on miles driven. … I am reluctant to do all three of those things. I have a concern.
As I am driving down to Illinois, I don’t like going through the tolls, and for us, we drive a lot, especially in our rural communities, and a gas tax would hit us a lot harder in these areas.
Some might say it is easier when gas prices are low, but when prices increase, that gas tax, it really pinches a lot of our families.
So, again, I think that we have to look at the current revenue that comes in from the gas tax, and we have to look to other revenues to actually fund our road system.
On his accomplishments in office
We’ve forestalled an attack on our Second Amendment, where folks have tried to put in legislation that would undermine our ability to own firearms.
Legislatively, I (worked) to protect Wisconsin taxpayers from a bailout in Puerto Rico, was able to help out veterans get easier access to hearing aid assistance in their home communities as opposed to having to drive to an audiologist at the VA system. I helped reform the way — at least a test pilot program — for our merging growth companies when they go public to expand the width of their trades for five or 10 cent increments that will help bring liquidities to the small merging companies in America. That is really the engine of job growth in America.
Most recently, I am most proud we were able to get a bill done that will allow the hostages from the Iran crisis back in the ‘70s, early ‘80s to be compensated for that time in which they were held unlawfully.
On plans for future work in office
We need to reform the tax code. Hopefully, we will be able to get some bipartisan support with these inversions where American companies are buying foreign competitors and then moving the American headquarters to that foreign country to take advantage of a lower tax rate, going from the highest rate in the industrialized role in America — almost 40 percent — to a country that taxes at 12 to 15 percent. That’s a huge difference.
In my committee of jurisdiction, which is financial services — this is the plumbing of free enterprise — our financial service sector is the envy of the world: the way our markets work, the way our insurance works, and the way our banking works. These are spaces that all need significant regulation.
For us in central and northern Wisconsin, we usually bank with a small community bank or a credit union, and all of these regulations that were meant for Wall Street have now come home to have big impacts on the small community bank and credit union. … A lot of these institutions are going under, or they are looking for someone to buy them because they can’t comply with all of the new rules and regulations. … I am fighting to make sure that we lift some of these burdens off of these small banks and credit unions that had nothing to do with the crisis to make sure that they can not only survive but also thrive and help our communities thrive and grow as well.