Republican events presage debates

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

By Steve Van Kooten


On July 24, Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin stood under the Lawler South Shelter on St. Feriole Island and stated Wisconsin was one of the most critical states for the 2024 election. There was an air of urgency, like the rumble of thunder just over the bluffs in a slow descent toward Prairie du Chien, as Baldwin talked to Democratic voters.

In the waning days of summer, just in time for the heat to push through the roof, Republican legislators have signaled the beginning of the 2024  election races that, according to both parties, will determine the country’s direction, both practically and ideologically.

On Aug. 15, WisGOP Chairman Brian Schimming and US Representative Tom Tiffany held a Zoom meeting in reaction to President Joe Biden’s visit to Milwaukee. The next day US Representative Derrick Van Orden, along with US Senator Ron Johnson and US Representative Glen Thompson (PA-R) discussed various issues concerning the Agricultural Committee headed by Thompson and, finally, Milwaukee hosted the first presidential debates on Aug. 23.

In each event, Republicans addressed platforms that affect both state and national politics for the coming years, some with implications that are mapped to last half-a-decade and have the potential to impact industry development for decades.



“There have been 12 races in the last 24 years in a state of 6 million people that have been decided by 30,000 votes or less,” Schimming said. “So we know it’s [Wisconsin] an important state.”

On the 10 a.m. WISGOP call held in anticipation of President Biden’s visit to Milwaukee the same day, Schimming took aim at Democrats, specifically Joe Biden, for recent economic policies.

Schimming stated Wisconsin households were poorer than before the current administration assumed power, including a $1.40/gallon increase on gas and a 30 percent increased cost for a cup of coffee. “Literally everything has gone up.”

Tiffany added that Americans have over a trillion dollars in collective credit card debt, 6-7 percent higher interest rates for home and vehicle purchases and a turbulent financial system that has seen three bank failures in 2023.

“It’s made further out of reach for young Americans to achieve the American Dream,” Tiffany said. The congressman added that American’s credit rating has gone down.

Tiffany proposed America needed to stop “spending money we don’t have” and start “spending within the taxpayers’ means.”


‘Chalk water’

At the Raddison Center in La Crosse, Derrick Van Orden’s face loomed over a crowd of more than 300 attendees, Senator Johnson and Congressman Thompson for a listening session in regards to the Farm Bill, legislation that affects United States agriculture and is passed every five years. According to NPR, the bill is estimated to have a $1.51 trillion price tag over the next decade. Attendees submitted questions that concerned various aspects of agricultural production.

Van Orden, unable to attend in person due to his daughter’s illness, stated, “We need to make sure we’re investing in the agriculture industry.”

Thompson echoed his colleague: “The quickest way to national insecurity is food insecurity.”

For several attendees who stood at the podium, the state of dairy farming in Wisconsin was the primary concern. According to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Products (DATCP), in 2023, there are less than 7,000 dairy farms in Wisconsin, with 300 lost in 2020 and 500 lost in 2019. 

For Thompson, ranking Republican member of the House Agriculture Committee Van Orden sits on, the issue comes down to misguided ideas about health.

“We lost an entire generation of milk drinkers when we decide to serve them chalk water,” Thompson said in reference to a 2010 decision to take whole milk out of schools. The decision, aimed to improve the overall health of children, “took milk fat and flavor out of schools” according to Thompson, who also stated research has shown the decision had no benefit to children based on BMI studies. “Kids got bigger.”

“We want this farm bill to be one that’s not going to only serve 2023-28,” Thompson said. “We want something pliable for the future.”

Thompson, Van Orden and Johnson fielded questions and statements in other areas:

-carbon emissions. Thompson said, “There’s no better climate hero than the American farmer.” Thompson cited research that the farming industries collectively sequester 6.1 giga-tons of carbon per year, more than 10 percent than emitted. Thompson did not disclose his source for the claim.

-Prop. 12, a bill passed in California that regulates the living conditions of farm animals used to produce products like meat and eggs. Thompson stated the Supreme Court had upheld Prop. 12 and the court charged Congress “to do its job” instead of relying on the court system. Thompson stated Prop. 12 could raise the cost of food to “unaffordability.” “This is just a slippery slope,” Thompson concluded.

-investment in cranberry research stations. Wisconsin is the top producer of cranberries in the US and has accounted for 59 percent of the country’s total production, according to the Department of Agriculture. Thompson said it was “a top priority” and wanted to see more investment in the industry beyond research stations.

-hemp industry. Thompson said, “We’re taking a hard look to see what’s necessary now.” The Department of Agriculture notes the Farm Bill de-classified hemp and derivatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s controlled substances list. 



On Aug. 23, the first Republican debate, featuring eight of the party’s presidential hopefuls, broadcast on multiple platforms. In a way, it was the starting gun for Democrats and Republicans to begin their long trek to November of 2024. 

Rate this article: 
Average: 1 (1 vote)