As part of his campaign kickoff tour, Ron made stops in Wisconsin’s rural communities to discuss issues important to them. At these stops, topics included getting Washington out of the way of the timber industry, letting Wisconsin manage the gray wolf, and battling the harmful effects of EPA overreach.
Unlike his opponent, Johnson said he understands that economic development is a solution for many of the nation’s problems.
And that’s why one of Johnson’s stops during his announcement tour was at Peterson Wood Treatment. Johnson said he hoped to learn more about the government regulations that are getting in the way of business growth and development. Johnson toured the family-owned business to learn more about it.
“We’re coming up here to listen to the concerns of the people throughout Wisconsin,” Johnson said. “When it comes to manufacturing, it’s really about listening to the regulatory overburden.”
Johnson, who still hadn’t had a chance to tour the facility and talk to the Petersons when he addressed the media, said he talked to a paper manufacturer two weeks ago who told him that just four regulations cost that company $12,000 per employee per year.
“We all hear about income inequality, the stagnant wages, and if you’re worried about that income inequality, look no further than that regulatory burden,” Johnson said.
He said that’s where the contrast lies between himself and Feingold.
“I actually know how to grow an economy,” Johnson said. “We have to reduce the regulatory burden and tax system. We all want a clean environment but we have to keep energy prices low so we can compete on a global basis. I understand that.”
Wolves have been a frequent topic of conversation in the Northwoods since a judge reinstated protection for the animals under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The debate over the status of wolves in the Great Lakes region continued May 2 during a Rural Small Business Roundtable event hosted by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshksoh) in Rhinelander.
Sen. Johnson discussed the issue with a panel that included Laurie Groskopf, who State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) described as knowledgeable on the issue of wolves in Wisconsin, Eric Koens from the Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association, Bill Bialecki, president of the Lincoln County Sports Club, and Marenisco Police Chief Bruce Mahler.
Johnson described his efforts in working with Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and other senators to attach amendments to must-pass pieces of legislation to delist wolves, but said “extreme environmentalists” were not listening to scientists on the size of the wolf population.
“We have this impasse here where the wolf is still on the endangered species list and as a result is protected,” Johnson said. “I’d like your input … I’m on your side.”
Before speaking with the media, Johnson met privately with the Berg family to discuss the issues and concerns they have for their farm before taking a short tour. One of the issues raised involved the trout stream that cuts through Lane Creek Dairy and required several months of state permitting work when the dairy recently expanded.
If the federal government has its way, Johnson said, it will create new rules to force farmers to get federal permits, which take even longer to get and are far more costly. This would greatly expand the scope of government control over the land, he added, and make things more difficult for farmers and other property owners.
“It is this kind of regulatory burden that keeps our economy from moving forward,” he said. “I want to keep Wisconsin businesses growing and moving forward.”
Johanna Berg said she appreciated Johnson’s visit and the concerns he brought up that many farmers share. Not only are government regulations a burden for farmers, especially family operations, but Johnson also spoke about tackling unstable milk prices, currently at a low point, hurting the farm’s bottom line.
“Agriculture is such a big business in Wisconsin,” Berg said. “We want to make sure that farmers can continue going and stay in business.”