Hopeful seeks to represent 68th district
Jeff Peck (D)
Grew up south of Chippewa Falls, Wis., on a mid-sized family farm and attended Chippewa Valley Technical College for mostly agricultural and firefighting courses. Joined the National Guard and eventually went for one tour in Iraq serving for the United States. Peck became involved in a number of groups such as the VFW and has helped his wife start an adult home out of their previous home. He enjoys hunting and currently works as a farmer in rural Cadott, Wis. He has worked as a volunteer firefighter and has organized efforts amongst community teamwork to utilize grant funds.
Cooke: Why are you running for office?
Peck: “Me personally, as a farmer, I think we need a legislator in this area that farmers, interested consumers and conservationists can talk to and deal with issues such as buy local, buy Wisconsin back; that really helps local food growers hook up with sellers so we can diversify those businesses. And also, to recognize the value on our Wisconsin farmland. Nobody, nobody wants China buying land around the Osseo and Augusta area and that’s something my opponent voted to allow. I’m not going to do that.
As a veteran--that’s near and dear to my heart because they’re a group of people who do something not many people do for this country--and there’s been a lot of things that have happened that’s made it harder for those [people.] We’re taking advantage of a group of people we shouldn’t be taking advantage of. It makes me sick and that’s the politics of it.
I have young kids that are going to go through the education system, so the gutting of the quality of our education is a really big problem for me. I’m also not a big fan of the voucher program; I don’t like taking money from public schools and sending it to private schools.”
C: What makes a farmer feel he’s qualified to represent the 68th Assembly District?
P: “I’ve already been very involved in local groups, local government. I enjoyed sitting at the table with various people, seeing problems and opportunities and trying to advance on them. In the military, I actually led troops in Iraq. As a farmer, a lot of things happen on a daily basis. You always have to change and adapt, utilizing communication and not be afraid of change. I think a lot of those things translate into what a representative should be.”
C: What do you feel sets you apart from your opponents?
P: “I think the biggest things that sets us apart is that I have a job, I actually have connections to the district: a young family that going to go to school here and a job here I want to keep. The people who stay down [in Madison] too much voluntarily, they get too into their own party politics and too caught up in the special interest and lose touch with the district. I’m the local candidate. I’ve probably taken a bit of a different approach in that I’ve admitted I don’t know everything. I don’t know every issue inside and out, but I’m willing to listen. My goal isn’t to be in there for a lifetime and work my way up to be the speaker of the assembly some day. My goal is just to represent the people; my house, the house I’m running for is supposed to be called the people’s house.”
C: Why do you think people will vote for you?
P: “We have been committed to have a really active field program to put me in front as many people as I can. Not only does meeting somebody outweigh any amount of mailing or phone calls you could ever make, it lets them ask you questions and inform you on what’s important to them. The more I do it, the better it makes me because I actually know the district better.”
C: Are you optimistic about the outcome?
P: “I am really optimistic. Many people know I was raised right and that means a lot. Instead of traveling the state, I’m in the district knocking on doors. I have several advantages; veterans are drawn to me, farmers are drawn to me, small business owners.”
Peck noted the importance of equal pay between men and women and highlighted his thoughts on the hypocrisy of paying one sex more than the other for the same job. He heavily emphasized how important it is to maintain clean water, adding his personal experience with that in stewardship projects. Citing conservationism as important, he said the state should do a better job of educating local governments to proceed with good decisions when it comes to companies that impact the environment such as sand mines, acknowledging that both sides of the argument will not go away, but is hoping “good people can come up with their own solutions.”
In September 2013, Cooke was hired as the editor of both the Augusta Area Times and the Tri-County News. She can be reached via email@example.com or (715) 597-3313. Follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook page for more updates!