Two run to succeed Kestell

by Jeff Pederson of The Review staff

TYLER VORPAGEL Republican TYLER VORPAGEL Republican Although he is a first-time candidate for public office, it would be hard to describe 27th District Wisconsin State Assembly candidate Tyler Vorpagel a political newcomer.

For the past seven years, the Plymouth native has worked on the staff of U.S. Congressmen Tom Petri, most recently serving as Petri’s district director.

In addition, the Plymouth High School graduate has served on the Republican Party of Wisconsin Executive Committee.

Now the Republican candidate has his sights set on squaring off against fellow first-time Democratic candidate Scott Grover Heinig for the 27th District State Assembly seat held for the past 16 years by Rep. Steve Kestell, who will not seek re-election.

Vorpagel says he is pleased with the direction of state, and is aiming to make even more progress as a member of the state Assembly.

“I feel that over the past four years Wisconsin has been moving in the right direction, but there is more that needs to be done,” Vorpagel said. “I grew up here, know this district and believe my past experience working with community leaders across this district, solving problems, I can be an effective representative who works for everyone in the district and brings the perspective of a new generation of ideas.

“Things have been moving in the right direction over the last four years, the legislature was able to make tough decisions that turned a deficit into a surplus, make reforms that encourage business to create jobs here in Wisconsin, and invest in critical areas of our infrastructure that improve safety and quality of life in our state.

Despite the controversy surrounding the passage of Act 10, which effectively eliminated the collective bargaining abilities of most of the state’s public employees, Vorpagel says he is happy with the financial impact of the law.

“In general it seems to me that Act 10 was an important reform that has saved taxpayers by, among other things, empowering our local government managers to make government be more efficient and accountable, and ensure that we have a government that is working for Wisconsinites,” Vorpagel said.

Vorpagel, who owns a Bachelor of Science degree in public administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from UW-Green Bay, is pleased with the current status of the state’s public education system.

“As a product of our public education system, who has family members that are public school teachers, I think that Wisconsin has one of the best public education systems in the country,” Vorpagel said. “In Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties, we have great teachers who care about their students and administrators who are invested in, not only having successful students, but being as efficient with our taxpayer money as possible.

“Wisconsin continues to rank in the top of ACT test scores and High School graduation rates,” he said. “As we know, students learn in many different ways and the public education system may not be the best fit everyone, so I think having choices is important in our educational system, be it private schools, charter schools, online schools or home schooling.”

In addressing the current state of the economy and the difficult task of job creation, Vorpagel is eager to assist the area’s employers in seeking success.

“Seeing all the TV ads out there about who is responsible for creating what jobs and who didn’t do enough to create jobs, it’s easy to forget that it’s not government that creates jobs, it’s our employers and our small businesses,” Vorpagel said. “The best thing we can do as a state is make sure that there is fair and sensible regulations and a tax climate that makes Wisconsin an enticing place for our employers to add jobs and grow their businesses.

“We also need to make sure that we are offering opportunities for those who are unemployed to upgrade their skills and train for 21st century careers, and for careers that are in demand,” he said. “Our technical college system, Lakeshore Technical College in particular, does a great job of working with employers by identifying and responding to the needs of the community.”

Vorpagel says he is anxious to address budget issues as a potential future member of the state Assembly.

“I’m really looking forward to really digging into the upcoming budget and exploring what we can do to efficiently provide government services, save some money for emergencies, and where possible returning hard-earned dollars back to taxpayers,” Vorpagel said.

Vorpagel, who lives in Plymouth with his wife Jenny, is proud of his recent performance in a crowded primary election race in August.

“Emerging as the winner of a hard-fought, three-way primary running a positive campaign telling people why they should vote for me, rather than tearing other people down is my biggest political accomplishment, so far” Vorpagel said.

In listening closely to the thoughts and concerns of the voting public on the campaign trail, Vorpagel has been busy developing a few possible solutions to key local issues.

“As I’m talking with people around the district at events or at their doors, they tell me that they are concerned if we are doing all we can to encourage our employers to grow here and create good-paying jobs,” Vorpagel said. “I fully support the manufacturing and ag tax credit that was passed and has had a huge impact on a critical employer base in Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties, manufacturing.

“Secondly, people tell me they are concerned about how much they are paying in taxes, between property taxes, income, taxes and sales tax,” he said. “I would be interested in broadening the tax base and relieving the burden for everyone. Third, a local issue that I’ve heard a lot about is how long it’s taken for the four-lane expansion of Highway 23 between Plymouth and Fond du Lac. This is not only a quality of life issue, but it’s also a safety issue, and an economic issue, and I will do everything I can to make sure this project stays on its current time frame.”

In looking ahead to the final weeks of the campaign and what could lie ahead if he wins the election, Vorpagel appears driven to make a difference in a rapidly changing local political landscape.

“I have already knocked on thousands of doors, to introduce myself to people throughout the district,” Vorpagel said. “Sheboygan County will have 100 percent new representation in the state legislature in the next legislative session,” he said. “Not only will we have new representatives, but we will be losing legislators who served on powerful committees like Joint Finance. I have experience working with local and community leaders throughout the 27th District to ensure that the people of Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties will have an advocate for them in Madison. I will be available, responsive, and accountable to everyone in the 27th Assembly District.

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