MARSHFIELD — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson campaigned at the Central Wisconsin State Fair on Monday, greeting supporters for about 45 minutes.
Johnson, a Republican, is up for re-election in 2016 and is expected to face former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, whom Johnson unseated in 2010. Feingold announced in May that he would seek to run against Johnson.
The match is likely to be one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country, according to political observers.
Johnson, of Oshkosh, met with fairgoers inside the fair’s exhibition building at a booth reserved by the Wood County Republican Party. He talked with citizens, took photos with families and handed out campaign materials.
In an interview at the fair on Monday, which was also Labor Day, Johnson said if re-elected he would work to grow the economy for middle class American workers. He cited three ways to do that: tap existing domestic energy sources in an environmentally friendly way, get rid of what he described as burdensome regulations and restructure the federal government’s tax code.
“We’re in a global economy,” Johnson told Gannett Central Wisconsin Media. “We don’t have the luxury whether we’re going to choose to compete globally, we have to compete globally. And one of the ways we compete is through a less onerous regulatory environment, a more competitive tax system and with energy.”
Asked what specific regulations he would toss, Johnson responded that there are thousands of such regulations. He added that he would first target those regulations that are unpopular by both sides of the aisle.
To create a more competitive tax system, Johnson said he would scrap the existing tax code. His new tax system, he said, would enable the federal government to raise the revenue it needs and “do no economic harm.” Johnson said that’s the most specific he can be on his tax proposal so as to retain some flexibility in accomplishing the reforms.
“Let’s go with basic principles,” he said. “I’m happy to work with others on what the details of that would be.”
Johnson was at a parade in Merrill earlier Monday and was expected to attend an event in Wausau later in the day.