State Senate candidates face off in forum

Published: Sep. 13, 2016 at 4:29 PM CDT
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Voters in the La Crosse area are getting the chance to learn more from their local candidates for State Senate.

Republican Dan Kapanke and incumbent Democratic Senator Jennifer Shilling participated in a forum Tuesday in front of the Onalaska Area Business Association at the La Crosse Country Club.

They both agree that the business vote is important this year, but they have different ideas on how to help small businesses thrive.

"We need to make sure that we have a level playing field with rules and regulations for small business," said Shilling. "We need to make sure that we are helping entrepreneurs who have an idea and want to launch a startup company, that they’ve got access to venture capital and support and tools that are needed for those who are taking risks."

"We need more workers, that’s the key right now is we’re short on labor," said Kapanke. "We talked about minimum wage in there, but that shortage is driving up wages, it’s good for the laborer, the worker, and we need to get more people here."

The conversation also shifted to the minimum wage, where the candidates differed as well.

"Nationally it's $7.25 right now, that's the federal minimum wage," said Kapanke. "I think that's fair, it hasn't raised in a while."

"Wages have been stagnant, we need to help middle class families," Shilling said. "We need to make sure that there is that opportunity as they go into employment that these are family sustaining wages."

Kapanke is trying to reclaim his senate seat after losing it to Shilling in 2011.