tv Campaign 2022 Wisconsin U.S. Senate Debate CSPAN October 7, 2022 7:59pm-8:58pm EDT
out and said it was false but it turned out to be true. that is the real story here so all this talk about mail ballots and machines not working i think it's all nonsense and it's a distraction from something that is legitimate just the influence that social media has on controlling narratives and people's thoughts. housecoat let's take that, michael mcdonald? guest: social media has served as a vector for misinformation we can see our viral application misinformation on both sides. we have to tackle as a country the effect social media has on our discourse and a lot of the allegations and conspiracy theories we see emanate from information that is not from trusted sources. announcer: you can finish
watching this program at c-span.org. we will take you to milwaukee, wisconsin where ron johnson and his democratic challenger are participating in a debate for the state's 2022 u.s. senate race. you are watching live coverage on c-span. ♪ >> live from downtown milwaukee, we present the 2022 u.s. senate debate with incumbent republican senator ron johnson and democratic challenger lieutenant governor mandela barnes. now, michelle b. >> good evening. the wisconsin broadcasters
association are pleased to welcome you to the u.s. senate debate. tonight's debate originates from milwaukee, wisconsin at the studios of milwaukee kbs. tonight's debate continues our long-standing commitment to excellence and public service. the debate is underwritten, supported by the wisconsin association of independent colleges and universities. now let's go to our moderator and veteran wisconsin broadcaster, member of the hall of fame and professor of leadership and media integrity that university of chicago. -- at the university of chicago. >> good evening.
on tuesday, november 8, wisconsin voters will decide who will be the next senator for the next six years. our goal tonight is to help you make an informed choice as you hear from the candidates, incumbent senator ron johnson and the wisconsin lieutenant governor, mandela barnes. the candidates have agreed to the rules. for each question, they will have the length of time they have for responses. . one minute or 30 seconds. when they hit their time limit, i will advise them if they continue, their microphone will cease to work. please note, this debate will provide an additional service for voters. many issues require deeper context and verification,
especially when counter charges are exchanged, or one specifics are used. thanks to our debate's that a team, we will be providing you links to additional research material about key topics, to read more about a subject, follow the link you see on the screen or follow the wba on facebook, instagram, or twitter. our #is #wbadebate. with that, let us begin with the first question. you are seeing her picture, despite her hard work, she can't be here because of covid protocols, so she has asked her teammate to prevent her question for her. >> good afternoon. good evening, gentlemen. we want to start with the topic of marijuana legislation.
this news, just coming out yesterday that president biden is pardoning thousands of americans convicted of possession of marijuana, under federal law. he says it is a dramatic step toward decriminalizing the drug and addressing charging practices that disproportionately impact people of color. what is your position on the federal legalization of marijuana? senator johnson, we will start with you. you have one minute. >> i want to thank the wisconsin broadcast association, and the wisconsin public tv station for hosting this. i thank the panelists for participating. i hope the questions will be fair and balanced and focused on the issues that impact wisconsin. i assume we have a good discussion on high inflation, record gas prices, skyrocketing crime, an open border, the threat of illegal drugs. i think it ought to be a
state-by-state decision. the only thing on a federal basis, it doesn't make any sense for, marijuana's legal, what we are not able to use the banking system so the marijuana companies have loads of cash which leads to a potential for crime. so i can see federal legislation for those states with legalized marijuana. what i would suggest any state take a look seriously at the harm being done by the legalization of marijuana. >> thank you, senator>> -- >> thank you, senator. >> lieutenant governor. >> thank you for hosting the debate. thank you for the question. as a member of the legislature, now is lieutenant governor, i hope we can accomplish it as a nation if i am elected to the united senate -- united states senate. this is something that is legal in neighboring states. even medical marijuana in
minnesota. those things are receiving huge benefits, because of the revenue generated from the legalization of marijuana. that's either going to go to the schools, roads. most importantly, it is money we can miss out on. we could do so much more in the state. it is unfortunate we have people who are decades behind on this issue. people who are supported by the pharmaceutical industry. we have an issue with over prescription of drugs. marijuana is harmless and something that states all over the country have embraced. >> lieutenant governor. time is up. thank you. let's go now to mark l. >> this is a question on conditions for bail. the trial for mr. brooks, charged with killing six people in the waukesha christmas parade, got underway, after getting out of jail on bail. raising the issue of which pretrial defendant should be kept behind bars.
a bill introduced in congress last year discourages states from making the payment of money a condition for pretrial defendants to be released from jail. detailing how defendants with access to money can buy their way out of jail while poor defendants remain locked up. would you agree that conditions for keeping a defendant locked up should be based on whether the defendant is a threat to public safety, and/or likely to appear back in court and not the ability to pay bail? >> i really appreciate this question. it's been sensationalized and mischaracterized. i supported bail reform. under my plan, dangerous people don't get to buy their way out of people. senator johnson may have not encountered a problem he couldn't buy his way out of. but that is not the reality for a majority of people in this state. what has come to light is how people have been fortunately used -- unfortunately used the waukesha tragedy, re-traumatizing families. under my plan, the perpetrator
would've not have been able to get out whether he paid a $1000 or $100,000. this is about keeping people safe. making sure they don't buy their way out of jail. that is the system we have no. this sort of reform that i support is supported by republicans all over the country as well. >> senator, you have one minute. >> we have a huge problem with skyrocketing crime. one of the issues is we are not keeping criminals in jail. the lieutenant governor, when he assumed the legislature, wrote a bill to eliminate cash bail, one of the methods we can use to make sure dangerous criminals stay in jail. their goal is to reduce the population by 50% and paroled --
nonviolent about 100 criminals. the other were violent criminals. including 44 child rapist. who committed or at least attempted murder. the murders were horrific. if you want to reduce crime, first of all you have to fully fund the police. my opponent is opposed to fully fronting police budgets, to keep criminals in jail. >> senator, thank you. >> i would like to -- >> i'm sorry. time is up. we will give you time at the end, if there is something that you feel has been misrepresented. you will have time at the end in a final question. ok? thank you. let's go to telemundo wisconsin. >> there is agreement on both sides of the aisle that something about our country's immigration system needs to change, but how is the sticking point, especially the employment rate in wisconsin, by the year 2030, it is estimated the working population and our state will shrink by 130,000 people, if we don't have it increased --
an increase in migration. would you look to making the path for citizenship more accessible as a solution to our impending employment crisis? you have one minute. senator johnson. >> in order to have immigration reform, we have to first secure the border. we are dealing with about 7000 people per day being encountered, processed, and dispersed throughout america. it's also opened up our border to the flow of deadly drugs. the immigration is not humane for the immigrants. they are being abused by the traffickers. an $80 billion business. a sex trafficking is an untold story. fortunately the news media
is covering it up by the biden administration. >> the question was about immigration reform. >> you have to first secure the border. once you have done that, you have to fix the asylum standard. right now we have a very low standard of credible fear. step into the country, say they are afraid to go home, even though they don't come close to qualifying for asylum, we let them in, we are so backlogged, that's why we have 3 million people in this country since the bite administration took office, that is completely out of control. >> all right. lieutenant governor. >> our immigration system is completely broken. i will tell you, people all across the state of wisconsin agree that it is unfortunate that we have a member of the u.s. senate that does not side with the majority of people of wisconsin. i've spent a lot of time talking to family farmers.
they know it is not just a human thing, but it is good for our economy as you mentioned. we can create a system that keeps our border safe, that treats people with dignity and respect, does not subject our children to the horrors of family separation. the senator had 12 years to do something about this. he even had a chance with the bipartisan infrastructure law. there was funding in there for border modernization. but the senator decided to play politics instead of doing the right thing. >> thank you very much. >> this is a two-part question on the issue of social security. social security trust fund is currently on pace to be underfunded by 2034. tyler johnson, you said you support making the program a discretionary one. meaning congress can make changes to it. why should or should not social security be made discretionary?
what should congress do to ensure the program remains fully funded? you each have one minute. >> when i think about social security, i think about my grandparents, my parents, so many other retired americans who paid into a system, we deserve to retire with dignity and respect. it is unfortunate that senator johnson said social security is a ponzi scheme. he called social security candy. people who worked their entire lives afloat. the threat to take that away from them does not sit well with me. what we need to do is not just make social security solvent, we should strengthen social security by making sure the wealthy pay their fair share. we need to make sure that billionaires are paying more into this system. the senator goes on about the deficit. he had no problem going into trillion dollar hole into the deficit by passing the 2017 tax bill that gave $215 million in
tax deductions to his biggest donors in a single year. and he wants to put social security and medicare on the chopping block. >> your time is up. just to be specific, let me exercise a moderators option, should it be renewed, reviewed each year? >> it should not be discretionary spending. >> senator? >> let me make myself very clear. i want to save social security. i want to save medicare. the greatest threat the -- to social security and medicare is the out-of-control deficit spending and are growing debt. we had a trillions of dollars of debt in the last three years. that is the greatest threat. that's what's also sparked inflation. 40 year high inflation. the dollar is worth 88.3 cents. the $100,000 he had at the
beginning of the bite only worth $800,300. we need to prioritize social security and medicare. i never said i would cut it, put it on the chopping block. that is a false attack. >> you called it a ponzi scheme and you called it candy. >> lieutenant governor, this is his time. i'm going to add a little time to that once again,, you've proposed reviewing social security rather than having it be an entitlement, which means it goes on -- >> your putting words in my mouth. >> sir -- >> part of the reason we are in debt now is because we have an discretionary spending. we need to combine everything, look at all of it, and start prioritizing spending. we can't afford to spend $369
billion on a green you deal fancy. >> entitlement versus review. your position? >> the greatest threat to those promises, the out-of-control deficit spending. >> that's one of the next question -- let's go to the next question. >> our question is about minimum wage. many americans continue to struggle to make a living wage, when it comes to the federal minimum wage, you both have said you support an increase in the minimum wage. given the rise in inflation we have seen this past year specifically, what dollar figure would you support setting the minimum wage at and why? senator johnson, you have one minute. >> i would consider possibly increasing it, indexing sort inflation. you have to be very careful, because when you increase the
minimum wage, you also eliminate jobs. a strong economy is the best approach to this. i don't like the government getting involved in price fixes and that includes wages. he had plenty of jobs in the previous administration and rising wages. something like $2000 to $4000 per year is what the average family increased their wage by. that is the best thing. have the market take care of it, instead of the government setting a wage, eliminating jobs. if you don't have a job, you have zero wage. >> the senator throughout a figure -- threw out a figure. people have been making $7.25 since 2009. that's the last time the federal minimum wage went up. i am a long proponent of a $15
minimum wage. 2014, the advocates and hard-working people started calling for it. we should absolutely be at a $15 minimum wage. people are working harder than they have ever worked before but are not making the money they use to. if senator johnson is serious about maintaining inflation, there is no reason people working full time should struggle to pay the bills, but that is a reality right now. it will continue to be the reality if we have people in office who are only going to prioritize the richest people in this country and leave hard-working people behind. >> next question. >> i'm going to ask a series of questions on abortion. let's start with the most general one. since the overturning of roe v wade, we are governed by an 1849 law that bans all abortion except in the life of the mother. you have said you disagree with overturning roe v wade.
senator johnson, one of your ideas as to allow citizens to vote at a state level, the wisconsin legislature rejected the opportunity to allow such votes. let's talk pacifically about what you would do at the national level regarding abortion. you have one minute. >> thank you so much. i am an only child. but i'm not my mother's only pregnancy. before i was born, my mother had a complicated pregnancy and she had an abortion. she shared her story. she wanted others to know it was her decision to make. not some politician. and a woman should be able to make that decision. doctors should not live under the threat of being criminalized helping women through their most difficult decisions. the senator called the overturning of roe v. wade a victory. he celebrated the dobbs decision. he said if women don't like their laws of their state, he said they can move. i can't think of a more callous, out of touch, or extreme position to take. if i were in the senate, i would
absolutely vote to codify review wade to protect the right to an abortion and the right to choose to protect women's rights once and for all. >> thank you. senator johnson. >> this is a profound moral issue. it should be -- what we should do, the most extreme position here would be no limits on abortion whatsoever. what i have recommended islet the people decide if there is a one-time single issue referendum. we need to come to a decision on at one point does a society have the responsibility to protect life in the womb? at what point does society have the responsibility to protect life in the womb? i would have a vote, like every
other wisconsin citizen. >> some women have concerns with a senate composed of three quarters men making these decisions for them. what are your thoughts on when life begins specifically as it relates to birth control, the morning after pill, and additional embryos created through ivf or in vitro fertilization? you have one minute. >> i have laid out all these answers to these questions online. you can refer to that. but i obviously support birth control. i support in vitro fertilization. my daughter had two children through gestational surrogacy. so i support all those things. i would never, ever consider charging a woman for an unplanned pregnancy. i've been very transparent about this. this has been a divisive issue for 50 years. because nine justices made a
decision for all of us, and it didn't solve the problem. so the best thing -- that is why i support overturning roe v wade, to turn it back to the states, where we the people can make the decision. the question that has to be answered is at what point does society have the responsibility to protect life? it's just that simple. i have actually laid out a sample referendum ballot. you can find that riskfacts.com also. >> governor barnes. >> the senator knows very well the referendum won't happen with the legislature we have no. this is him trying to run away from his danger is out of touch and extreme positions. when you take a position like that, there is so much that you don't always see. let's talk about taxes as an example. one woman had to be hooked up to a breathing machine because she had complications with her pregnancy and could not get an abortion. a 10-year-old girl in ohio was raped and had to cross state lines to get an abortion.
that's ron johnson's america. the majority of people believe will be the law of the land here. he went as far as to say -- people are dealing with some very tough circumstances. the senator would rather make a political point under the right thing to protect families and the health of women. >> thank you. let's move on the next question. >> in the city of milwaukee, which is on pace for a third consecutive year to set a record number of homicides in a single year, the city of milwaukee currently gives more money to its police department than any other city agency. what is the role of congress in addressing such violent surges in american cities, if such a role should exist? for each of you, what are three specific actions congress should take, if any, to address violence?
you would have one minute. >> thank you so much. i can't speak for anybody else. i know the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence. i lost my first friend in high school and several others after. i know it doesn't have to be this way because it was not always this way. my grandfather moved to milwaukee after world war ii. he got a job as a union steelworker in a safe city. when factories started to close their doors, we saw a decline in opportunity, but unfortunately we also saw a rise in crime and violence. what we need to do is make sure that communities have the resources they need to prevent crime from happening in the first place. that means fully funding schools. it also means making sure there are good paying jobs and communities. we also invested $100 million in an initiative through the american rescue plan which senator johnson voted against because of another instance he decided to play politics instead of putting the safety of the people of wisconsin first. >> senator johnson.
>> the first thing you do is you support law enforcement. unfortunately, the lieutenant governor has a record of wanting to defund the police. he doesn't necessarily say that word, when he has a history of being supported by people that are leading the effort to defund. used codewords, talked about reallocate, over bloated police budgets. he says it pains him to see fully fund the police budgets. that is his views. whenever i see a police officer, i go up to him and say thank you for your service. if i have time, please don't be dispirited by the loud view or trying to defund you. they are being dispirited. because of that effort, it is very difficult to recruit. we are 1000 officers below where we were in wisconsin just 2008. people are having a very difficult time recruiting new officers.
all this defund the police effort -- >> thank you. senator, thank you. we will now go on to markley lent. >> we will talk more on gun legislation. following the mass shootings this year. , with assault style weapons in both uvalde and buffalo, the bipartisan gun safety law was passed the summer. but americans want congress to do more. what restrictions, if any, would you put on the sale of military style assault weapons? and when it comes to mandatory background checks, do you agree with overwhelming bipartisan public support for that plan? we will start with senator johnson. you have one minute. >> we have something like 10,000 gun control laws on the books throughout america. if gun control was the solution, it would've already been solved. if we want to cut down on crime, the macro issue is strength and
faith -- in faith and families and community. 112,000 failed background checks in 2017, there were 12 prosecutions. before you press any new gun control laws, why don't you enforce the ones on the books? why don't we take a look at what's happening within our society? that's causing all this violence? ? >> lieutenant governor? >> thank you so much. as i mentioned before,i dealt with this too much. i spent my entire career working to make community safer. an overwhelming majority of people in the state support background checks. they don't think domestic abusers should be able to get a handgun. neither do i. unfortunately, senator johnson does not agree. the senator didn't mention -- ted mentioned police officers.
i'm sure he didn't have the same interaction with 140 officers that were injured during the january 6 insurrection. when officer was stabbed with a metal stake. another hit in the head with a fireworks and wish her. when we talk about respect for law enforcement, let's talk about the officers he left behind because of insurrection he supported. there is so much more we need to do to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals >> again the questions were about background checks. >> i absolutely support background checks. we need senators who support background checks. we need senators who are not bought and paid for by the gun lobby's. senator johnson received $1.2 million from the gun lobby. that is why he can't be trusted. he was elected to do a job. he said he will keep us safe, but he refuses to. >> we are at time, thank you. let's move on now. we will take another question. this one is from kim murphy, who
cannot be with us tonight because of covid protocols. it will be asked on her behalf. >> we are going to talk about the electoral college reform. after the january 6 assault on the capitol, the effort to present a false slate of electors from seven states, including wisconsin, a bipartisan group of 32 senators, as proposed, the electoral count reform act. the key provisions include identifying a single conclusive slate of electors, affirming the role of the vice president, raising the objection threshold, and protecting each state's popular votes. lieutenant governor, we will go to your first for one minute. do you support this bill? >> we also what happened on january 6. we saw every conspiracy theory pedal, a senator attempt to take electors to the vice president. the senator's involvement lasted
a matter of seconds. it ended up with a whole day of fault on the capital. we have to do as much as we can to protect our democracy. it is the very first plan of my campaign. a democracy and accountability agenda. if we modernize our electoral system, we can prevent something like this from happening again and restore trust into our electoral process. people don't trust the process because we have folks elected to higher office who will spend their time trying to overturn an election. which election observers said was the most secure in our lifetime. >> senator johnson? > i would support that piece of legislation. i want to remind everybody when i got back to my office january 6, because i was not impacted by those happenings. i turned on the tv. i immediately and forcefully,
and repeatedly condemned it and condemned it strongly. i also condemned the riots over the summer. so many people ignore those. the lieutenant governor has made excuses for those rioters. if you want to talk about rioting, let's take a look at what happened in kenosha. the day after the first night of rioting. instead of trying to calm things down, he gave a press conference and said, it felt like meant that i was carried out against one of our community members. he incited the riot. they didn't provide the manpower to stop the riots. if you are going to focus on a riot, let's focus on 570 riots. >> your time is up. you have a follow-up. >> last month, i had a chance to interview former vice president mike pence, when he was visiting wausau.
when referring to his actions january 6 when he resisted pressure from former president trump to overturn the election, and refused to accept the slates of fake estate electors, including some that were offered to him by senator johnson's office, he said he acted out of respect for the u.s. constitution. we would like for you both to go on the record, that the former vice president to the right thing -- did the former vice president do the right thing? >> let me clear things up here. i had no idea when i got a call from the lawyer of the president of the united states to deliver something to the vice president, i had no idea what it was. the fact of the matter was, nothing was delivered. it took less than an hour, i was not even involved. i had no knowledge of it. i voted to confirm and not to
dispell any electors. from my standpoint, this is a nonissue. but i know it's been blown up, because everyone wants to focus on january 6. if you look at the violence that occurred in 570 riots, 207 law enforcement officers injured in the riots, because a lieutenant governor, governor evers did not provide the manpower to quell those riots. >> senator johnson, your time is up, but again the question was, did mike pence do the right thing january 6? >> yes. president biden is now the president of the united states. >> i will say that, to push back, the governor answered every call and gave all the resources that they requested. let's clear that up. he may not have noticed an
insurrection was happening because he called those people patriots and tourists. these are the folks he supported. this is an act he supported. the reality is, this was an attempted overthrow of the government, trying to overturn a free and fair election. so the answer is yes. the vice president did do the right thing. >> let's go to the next question. that goes to brad williams. >> we will turn to the issue of safe water. from racine to wausau, people are concerned about the safety of their drinking water. because the water contains excessive levels of man-made and industrial chemicals called pfa's, linked to illnesses and conditions including cancer and infertility. hundreds of families in the la crosse area have been supplied with bottled water for the past year, because of high levels of pfa's and their well water. the cost of supplying clean water has been shifted to families in local governments. what should congress do to
provide financial relief to towns and families affected by this pollution? lieutenant governor barnes. you have one minute. >> thank you so much. safe drinking water, clean water is an issue. it's one of the unfortunate realities that actually brings people together. this is something we should all come to expect in the most civilized and most wealthy nation on the entire planet. but it's not the reality. and this is a freshwater state. we have looked michigan to the east, superior to the north, the mississippi of it to the north. i've spent my time in the office of the working on clean water issues. 2019, the governor declared it the year of clean drinking water. we need support from the federal government. we should talk about lines across wisconsin as well. which the bipartisan infrastructure law went to go fund. this is another instance the senator voted against the interest of people, he voted
against our health and safety, where there is pfa's contamination and lead contamination. >> more specifically, what if anything do you think needs to be done at the federal level? >> my apologies. we do have a responsibility at the federal level to fund the initiatives that would make sure that every community has access to clean and safe drinking water. and also we have a responsibility to make sure that polluters are held accountable. >> senator johnson. >> rather than focus on co2, [indiscernible] really are harmful. we can allocate that towards addressing real pollution, which is what the pfa's is.
>> let's go to the next question. that will go to -- >> when roe v. wade was overturned, just as claris thomas included other decisions as potentially overturned. had had the potential to be overturned. how would you vote, senator johnson? >> first of all, i have always supported civilians. the supreme court ruled a different way. i thought, there is an issue, it's been settled, let's move on. there are other problems we have to deal with. that decision will never be overturned. it was another scare tactic by the left. justice thomas opened up the door. but you are not going to disrupt lives, millions of lives.
i don't want millions of lives disrupted. certainly the way the law is written right now, before i would ever consider voting for that bill, i would want to see very strong protections for religious liberty. we see what happened after the decision, bakers, one supreme court -- i would need very strong religious liberty protections. >> thank you so much. . we are talking about civil rights. we are talking about the right of a person to marry who they love. normally this should be a no-brainer. it is something i would be proud to support as member of the u.s. senate. he said the supreme court decision won't be overturned. a lot of people thought that roe would it be overturned. but look at us now. people are losing rights. people have fewer rights than they had 50 years ago.
that is what is on the line with the selection. we need people who are going to fight for our fundamental freedoms. to be able to marry who you love should be a no-brainer. we need people who are going to fight to make sure you can love what you love and also make your own health care decisions without interference from politicians. >> ok, our next question once again is coming from kim murphy but it's going to be addressed by mark l. >> kim's question is on climate change. the death toll from hurricane ian is at least 420 people now. the storm made leffel is a devastating category for. scientists say the historic storm was fueled by warm waters and those warmer waters are a direct effect on climate change. what would be three specific solutions you believe in for addressing climate change? you have one minute. >> the climate crisis is already
here, it is impacting places all over the country and the globe. wisconsin specifically, i've had a chance to visit our family farmers who have had to deal with the impact of devastation from b's -- from b's 100, 500 year storms that are happening, wiping out rural infrastructure. the senator a couple of questions ago said that co2 is not harmful. he is going so far as to calling climate change b.s. this is our future we are talking about. what we needed to do is reduce carbon emissions. what we also need to do is move towards a clean energy economy and make sure wisconsin is in the driver's seat. charting the path to a clean energy future. we also can make sure that our family farmers have the support they need with regenerative agriculture. >> time is up.
the senator's turn. >> i don't deny climate change. the question is, can you really do anything about it? when china, india are burning fossil fuels. 80% of her energy comes from fossil fuels right now and that is not going to change anytime soon because wind and solar are not reliable. the reason you are paying more than four dollars a gallon at the pump is because of the democrats' war on fossil fuels. this green energy in terms of converting electric vehicles, we don't have the infrastructure, we can build the batteries. one thing we are seeing down in florida is those electric vehicles are starting fires, they are exploding. there are a lot of problems here. we have to focus on how we use fossil fuels responsibly. we cannot afford spending hundreds of billions of dollars trying to solve a problem that is not solvable. . >> thank you. you have both been so
efficient with your responses that we will continue one minute answers for you. >> the white house's student loan debt forgiveness plan is widely supported by young americans. however many other voters believe it is unfair. do you think it is fair or not to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt? uhf one minute. >> senator johnson. >> i think it is grossly unfair. i think that people that never went to college, that saved and sacrificed to pay off their student loans are not particularly happy that people who entered into a loan agreement now get it transferred onto the back of other americans. those student loans exploded, as did the cost of college. in the 1960's, the cost of
colleges increased 2.7 times with inflation, rising because we are pouring so much money into it. what is so different about what colleges and universities spend their money on versus the rest of society? we ought to focus on that. this is grotesquely unfair for people who never went to college or paid off their student loans. >> i've got a family member, dennis, hope he doesn't mind me using his name, but he didn't see college as -- a four-year college as his path in life. he went to the trades. he's an electrician. he's making a great living right now. it is important to think about the other paths people choose in life. the deeper problem is that college is absolutely unaffordable. we can go back to one of the older questions about the minimum wage, especially with college. we are talking about people who make minimum wage in many cases to support their time -- support
themselves during their time in college. we should forgive some student loan debt, but we also need to make it easier for people for vocational and technical education so they can have opportunities to get ahead, and we can actually rebuild the middle class. if you have a federal student loan debt right now, senator johnson did not want you to have it. >> just specifically, the question was about, was it fair? >> people are being saddled with student loan debt, burdened with student loan debt, but not fully participating in the economy. my generation is the first slated to be worse off than the generation before us. that is a travesty. it is a shame many people are generation have fewer opportunities and my grandfather had a coming back from world war ii -- after coming back from world war ii. i think it is absolutely fair that people get student loan relief. >> one of the white house's stated reasons for adopting student loan forgiveness is it would narrow the racial wealth
gap. just yesterday a federal judge in green bay dismissed a lawsuit brought by the wisconsin institute of law and liberty. the lawsuit argued the white house plan had an improper racial motive. at the federal level, whether it is with student loans or anything else, what if anything should congress do to address the racial wealth gap? you have one minute. >> as i mentioned earlier, my granddad moved here after world war ii and got a job as a union steelworker. that is the story of a lot of men in the city of milwaukee. when those opportunities dried up, there was nothing that came in the field of oil. we saw those rises in crime, which also led to rises in incarceration. so many other devastating results because of de- industrialization. he says off shoring makes sense. ignoring the toilets taken on
communities right here in the city of milwaukee. we need to do more to make sure that there are good paying jobs. when it to -- when it to do more to make sure that every single person in this country has health care. that is what helps us close these gaps we have been experiencing along the racial lines. >> all right. i am told by the official timekeepers that we can now move to 32nd questions -- 30-second questions. >> i have teamed up with churches in the city of milwaukee. in four days of training, we instilled the requirement, the need for good attitude, the need for success. this is for formerly incarcerated drug and alcohol abusers, we transform their lives, hundreds of thousands of people impacted by that, that is how you do it. you don't do it by spending trillions of dollars of money
that we don't have, sparking a forty-year high inflation, taking a dollar that you had at the start of the bite and administration and turning it into $.83, that helps no one and certainly not the black community. >> you have more time. >> the other thing we shouldn't be doing is move 87,000 irs agents onto middle-class families, because that is what is going to happen. >> all right. we will now move to the 30-second questions. sorry for stepping on your response there. we will now go to brad williams. >> turning to the supreme court, following recent rulings, surveys have shown public confidence in the u.s. supreme court is at its lowest level in years. critics of the court have suggested changes, such as replacing appointments with term limits or expanding the court beyond the injustices. they have also proposed -- beyong nine justices.
would you support any or all of these ideas for court reform and why? we start with senator johnson. you have 30 seconds. >> the reason people are complaining is because they are biased media. they don't like it when you have a supreme court that has conservative justices who actually just apply the law then try to alter it -- than try to alter it. that is what the liberal press >>, an activist court. when you have finally gotten conservative justices -- i voted for a conservative justice knowing they are going to apply the law, not alter it. >> lieutenant governor. >> i mentioned my plan for this administration is my democracy and a countability agenda, and one of the provisions is to ethics standards on the supreme court. our justices should abide by the same exact standards that every other court in the country has to abide by.
and they also support term limits for supreme court justices. these should not be lifetime appointments. >> all right. let's now go to a.j. >> there's a development this week potentially involving gas prices. despite president biden's attempt to persuade opec to do otherwise, the group of oil exporting countries decided this week it will cut oil production. a move that will most likely cause gas prices to rise. how should congress respond? uh have 30 seconds -- you each have 30 seconds. >> our problem is relying on fossil fuels in the first place. we need to be more energy independent and generate more renewable energy in the united states, especially in wisconsin. he is going to make every excuse for the fossil fuels industry. we need to hold them accountable for this.
he's going to put their interests in his pocket. >> time is up. >> if you want to have lower gas prices, you need to be energy independent. we were under the last administration. most environmentalists don't support nuclear power. there's a solution here, but no embrace of the new solution. >> there is one more question. let's go to jail. >> it is being said -- let's go to dale. >> it is being said the pandemic shows how important broadband is, in particular with online learning and telehealth. wisconsin ranks 34th in the country in broadband's rankings of internet coverage, speed, and availability. how would you advocate for wisconsinites, to continue to
close the digital divide on capitol hill? senator johnson. >> i support the connect america fund. that allocated hundreds of millions of dollars here. also took get proper mapping. that results in about $10 billion over 10 years of federal funding to expand broadband here in wisconsin. i'm completely aware of the crucial need for broadband. i've supported it and gotten federal funding for wisconsin as a result. >> specifically towards a future? >> precisely. >> governor? >> i would say our administration has invested historic sums of money into broadband expansion. there have been a number of broadband roundtables across the state. will hear the heartbreaking stories of students having to put away fast food restaurant parking lot just to get connected during the pandemic. i heard stories of people having to do a funeral home because that is what had the best wi-fi. one of the best opportunities to
expand broadband in the state has been bipartisan infrastructure bill. another partisan piece of legislation senator johnson voted against. >> your time is up. we are at our last question. we promise you we would give you a chance to perhaps clear up some misconceptions. >> during this debate,, gentlemen, in campaign ads, you have heard things said about you that you believe are just plain wrong. in this last question, we want to give you the floor to set things straight. what's been said about you that you really want to knock-down? senator johnson. you can go first. you have one minute. >> i'm very proud of my record as a u.s. senator. there were more grotesque distortions. i want to save social security. i got a tax cut -- it is because of me that 95% of american business has got a tax cut so
they can compete with the big guys. that was 20 million tax filers. so i am proud of my record in terms of tax reform. allowing people to compete with the big corporations as well as survive the pandemic. saving people's lives, with a project that is transforming lives. my got crown, my experience, 40 years of working in the private sector, i am not sure what the lieutenant governor has done in terms of jobs in the private sector. i know exactly what it is like to work in a factory and what it's like to create jobs, because i have created them. i don't believe he has. >> thank you, senator. >> lieutenant governor. >> i actually have embrace one of the characterizations in one of the ads that they put out. it says mandela barnes is different. i embrace that. we don't have enough working class people in the u.s. senate. the senate is broken. senator johnson is one of the
worst parts of a broken system, a person who has been in it for himself. if you are a multimillionaire, he will look out for you. if you are a working class person, it might not be so easy. people are continuing to be left behind. and that is exactly why i am running right now. >> our lives and livelihood are on the line at this very moment. our seniors have to live with the threat of social security and medicare being cut. working people have to live under the threat of their jobs being shipped overseas. women have to live in the threat of their most personal decision being interrupted by politicians. that is what is on the line right now. i believe better as possible. i believe hardware can pay off. we can give everyone a fair shot at the american dream. >> we would like to thank both of you and we would also like to thank the teams that have helped us tonight. we are going to think ajay, mark leland, kim murphy who we wish could have been with us, dale raymond, brad williams, and our data team who has been working
behind the scenes to give you information, so you can read more about it on the wba's debate website, and our social media accounts. to find those, you can look them up, use the #wbadebate. that data team is all of the stations that have contributed their time to this effort. we would like to thank the wisconsin public broadcasting here in milwaukee for hosting us. now let us go to wba president and ceo, michelle b. >> thank you for joining us for tonight's debate. an opportunity for wisconsin citizens to hear from the leading u.s. senate candidates. this debate has been sponsored by our wba foundation, the grants from the wisconsin association of independent colleges and universities, and the wisconsin counties association. our sincere thanks to the wisconsin radio and to base stations who worked together to
produce and air this broadcast. to the candidates, our moderator, our panelists, and our data team. as always, wba member stations will be on duty to bring your election results. election day is tuesday, november 8. exercise your right, as an american, and vote. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: the january 6 committee returns thursday for hearings ahead of the release of their written rope or expected by the end of the year. -- reports expected by the end of the year. you can watch live beginning at 1 p.m. easter on c-span, or any time online at c-span.org. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government. we are funded by this television
companies and more, including cox. >> homework can be hard, but squatting in a diner for internet work is harder. that is why we are providing lower income students access to affordable internet, so homework can just be homework. cox, connect to compete. >> cox, along with these other television providers giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> virginia democratic congressman jennifer wexton and her republican challenger hung cao took part in a forum. [cheers]