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Saturday, June 22, 2024
Feingold's experience trumps Johnson's wallet

Russ Feingold

Feingold's experience trumps Johnson's wallet

In the senatorial race between Republican candidate Ron Johnson and Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., the choice for who would best serve Wisconsin is clear. While Johnson may feel confident about the GOP tilt in the upcoming election, Feingold's rich political experience and maverick status spotlight him as the best candidate for the seat he has successfully held for the last three terms—earning our endorsement.

Feingold's accomplishments as senator are extensive and without a doubt beneficial. The fact that he was able to secure office for three consecutive terms correlates to the expertise he has gained in areas like campaign finance reform and clean environment initiatives. His bipartisan efforts with U.S. Sen. John McCain to halt ""soft money"" contributions to national parties signify his flexibility in coalition building. Feingold's introduction of the Clean Water Restoration Act—legislation that preserves 20 million acres of wetlands and public drinking water—demonstrates Feingold's priority to serve public and environmental interests.

Not only does Feingold's ""maverick"" status classify him as a unique candidate, it makes him a candidate we can trust. Because Feingold has distanced himself from party claims and the Obama administration, voters can see that no overarching party influence interrupts the work he strives to complete. He is purely a politician for the people. The fact that Johnson chastises Feingold for his long relationship with office only reveals ignorance. Through his terms as senator, Feingold has rejected any pay increases and special interest donations offered to him—slamming down claims that he works solely as a career politician.

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While Johnson may tout his experience as an accountant and corporation owner, it is important that our politicians do not view working in government the same as running a business. Feingold understands that cutting taxes and government spending isn't going to lead to ultimate relief. It takes initiatives like high-speed rail and other infrastructure projects for true job creation, not just simple budget and expense tweaks.

For long-term job maintenance and student outreach, Feingold has focused on the accessibility of post-secondary education. Through his years of work to expand the maximum amount of money offered through Pell Grants, struggling students have been able to receive more financial aid for school. In contrast Johnson pushes for more autonomy for schools but the potential for this seemingly increased freedom could leave districts with less funding.

It is obvious that Feingold maintains a wide array of in-depth focus areas that strive to serve the issues facing Wisconsin. In order to preserve his accomplishments, The Daily Cardinal endorses his attempts to maintain office now more than ever. While Johnson supports the advancement of stem-cell research, his plans to repeal Wisconsin's state-wide smoking ban and the recent health-care bill, along with his hopes to demolish high-speed rail threaten benefits many residents and students of Wisconsin rely on.

Clearly, Johnson takes a backseat to Feingold's rich and long involvement in politics, bipartisan initiatives and constant work toward student, environmental and unemployment needs. It is safe to say that, over the years, Feingold has acquired the knowledge and relationships necessary for political success. His proposed legislation and support areas make him an honest politician worthy of every vote and our endorsement. While Johnson may have the money to assist him through this campaign, we believe that Feingold's empty pockets leave more room to consider the significant issues facing Wisconsin.

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