County Dems open headquarters

Liegeois, Sarnwick stump at opening

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Dr. Richard Sarnwick, Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Assembly District 6, tells a crowd of about 15 people why he’s running against Gary Tauchen during Wednesday’s opening of the Shawano County Democratic Party headquarters.

The Shawano County Democratic Party opened its new headquarters Wednesday at 105 N. Airport Drive, despite concern that one of the guests of honor might not make it to the unveiling.

Beau Liegeois, the Democratic candidate running for Mike Gallagher’s Congressional seat, was scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m., along with Dr. Richard Sarnwick, who is running for the Wisconsin Assembly Sixth District seat, but Liegeois was delayed due to a fundraising event in Kewaunee County.

Liegeois said he has met Democratic candidates for other state and federal seats in November, and he feels the party has a good chance of unseating some longtime Republicans.

“We have the best roster of candidates in northeastern Wisconsin this year,” Liegeois said, noting there was a good turnout in the Aug. 14 primary for the Democrats.

Liegeois praised the county party for establishing a headquarters, noting that having one in every county is vital if the Democrats want to win in the next few months.

“When they drive by and see that the Democratic Party has a physical presence, they’re going to know that we’re serious this year about getting our message out to every neighborhood,” Liegeois said.

Liegeois, a Brown County assistant district attorney, said his daughter, who just turned 2, is his inspiration for running. He said the current tone in Washington is not positive for the next generation of young Americans.

“We didn’t like that there was a lack of compromise, and we believed that I needed to step forward for my daughter and not wait for someone else to do it,” Liegeois said, noting his wife supports his Congressional aspirations.

One issue Liegeois wanted volunteers with the Democratic Party to emphasize is healthcare. He noted that the Republican-led Congress voted to “take health insurance away from millions and millions of people” and criticized Gallagher for voting with the majority.

“Is that what people in your community would want?” Liegeois asked.

Water quality is also another issue volunteers should emphasize when canvassing neighborhoods, Liegeois said. From Door County to the Fox River, he’s concerned about water not being drinkable due to contaminants.

The latest concern waterwise is the Menominee River, Liegeois said. The approval of permits for the Back Forty Mine, put harmful sulfide materials within 50 feet of where the river flows, he said.

“The Menominee River is a tributary to the bay of Green Bay, and if the bay of Green Bay is affected, then we’re talking about a major issue for our entire region,” Liegeois said.

Sarnwick said he had talked to his primary competitor, William Switalla, earlier in the evening and got his support as he tries to unseat Gary Tauchen. As a family physician in Shawano, Sarnwick’s reasons for running for office mirror what prompted him to be a doctor — to help people.

“How many times have you heard that? A lot?” Sarnwick asked the crowd. “For me, I really feel it’s true.”

He criticized the fact that high-speed internet in rural areas is hard to come by, saying most of the money to improve access goes toward the southern part of the state. Sarnwick said the lack of high-speed internet impacts small businesses in rural communities in an age when access to customers beyond brick and mortar is vital.

“I have many patients who are small farmers, and they’re pretty high-tech people. They need access to the internet to run their business, but they can’t get that internet coverage,” Sarnwick said. “I live out in the country, and I see a lot of families running their kids into the city just so they can use the internet.”

Sarnwick also wants to see term limits on legislators and feels the current system favors incumbents.

“I think term limits would help out our state and clean up some of this money coming into this whole election cycle,” Sarnwick said.

Prioritizing issues that serve the common good and don’t serve to increase personal wealth is necessary in Wisconsin, according to Sarnwick.

“I believe our hopes and aspirations are more important than the politics of fear,” he said. “I want to build bridges, not walls.”