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Primary Q&A: Senate District 31 Democrats

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Jeff Smith2 / 3
Steve Boe3 / 3

Three Democrats are vying in next week's primary to challenge Plum City Republican Mel Pittman in the November general election for the District 31 Senate seat.

Video interviews of all three candidates are available at Wisconsin Eye's website under

Two of the three Senate District 31 candidates — Steve Boe and Jeff Smith — participated in a RiverTown Multimedia questionnaire.

Steve Boe

Age: 34

Address: 511 Third St. Taylor, WI 54659


Twitter: @gowithboe

Facebook: Steve Boe for Senate

Education: H.S. Blair-Taylor High School, UW-River Falls, Political Science & Agriculture Education B.S.

Family: NA

Occupation: Director of Local Affairs, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation

Civic involvement: Taylor Lutheran Church, Taylor FFA Alumni

Why are you running for office?

I am running because I believe it is time for new leadership and a new approach in Madison. As a 34-year-old living in western Wisconsin, I have seen the negative impacts the misplaced priorities of Madison politicians have had on our schools, infrastructure and access to affordable healthcare.

What is your top priority and how would you accomplish it?

My top priority is to promote the best interests of the hard-working people here in western Wisconsin. To make sure that every student has an excellent public education, we must provide our schools with adequate resources. Schools are the heart and soul of many of our communities, I will tirelessly fight in the Legislature to promote strong schools and strong communities.

What differentiates you from your primary opponent?

It is time we have new leadership in Madison. I believe that it is critical that we promote a bold message that resonates in all parts of the district. My experiences in the agriculture community and our rural schools give me a true sense of the unique challenges and opportunities we face here in western Wisconsin. For too long, Madison politicians have forgotten about our part of the state, we need new leadership and a new approach that will fight for us here in western Wisconsin. I bring energy to this campaign, and I look forward to putting that energy to work representing the people of western Wisconsin.

Jeff Smith

Age: 63

Address: S7747 Norrish Road, Town of Brunswick, Eau Claire County


Twitter: @JeffSmithDem


Education: High School

Family: Wife Sue, daughters Emily and Sarah

Occupation: Former owner of Bob Smith Window Cleaning, current lead organizer for Citizen Action of Western Wisconsin

Civic involvement: Regional and state leader for PTA, Governor's Task Force for Education 2003-04, Co-chair for Land Use Planning committee, founder and first chair for Eau Claire School District Parent Advisory Committee, Town of Brunswick Chairperson 2001-07, Representative for 93rd Assembly District 2007-2011.

Why are you running for office?

A former state legislator, I am currently an activist/organizer because it was never about a title but rather making our state progressive and fair for all.

I have continued to be the leader that constituents expected from me and organized citizens around bills that have come through the Wisconsin state legislature ever since that have put our water at risk, our paychecks at risk, our health at risk and our state at risk.

But, I realize that I cannot make the change that needs to be made unless I am in the legislature as a policy maker. I am the best candidate to represent this senate district as I am a lifelong resident and business owner in rural Eau Claire County.

What is your top priority and how would you accomplish it?

Healthcare is still high on the list for most, as it should be. Everyone should have access to great healthcare.

I put a lot of emphasis on clean water, particularly around the risks presented with over-spreading of manure by factory farms which also threatens our rural economy by putting small farms out of business.

Re-focusing on public schools is huge in our rural district as this is a crisis for our communities along with the need for broadband in every household.

But maybe the topic I hear most from voters is about partisanship that gets in the way of accomplishing anything. I would consider restoring civility and work ethic to the legislature a major accomplishment that will take people like me to change the climate in the legislature.

What differentiates you from your primary opponent?

I am clearly the candidate with the experience and effectiveness that can step right in and make things happen.

I am not a single issue candidate. I have taken on all the major issues affecting our district over the years. Whether it is protecting our water, public education, healthcare access, living wages for all working adults, pay and social equity for all, family farming, rural broadband, gerrymandering and campaign reform. I have been leading the way on these issues and more.

I am a proven leader with a track record of accomplishment. Something I very proud of is that I open myself up to listen to anyone who needs to be heard not just people with the same opinions. That has resulted in support from conservatives as well as progressives.

My campaign team has knocked on thousands of doors and spoken to thousands of citizens, which has helped focus my platform.

Jon Schultz

(Did not respond to questionnaire)