U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson made a stop in Watertown Friday afternoon to meet with campaign supporters in the area at the Jefferson County Republican Party’s election headquarters.
Johnson told reporters the campaign trail is the best part of his job.
“I love driving around the state of Wisconsin, we’ve been doing it tirelessly,” he said. “I can tell you what’s on Wisconsinites’ minds, it’s security, and it’s not just homeland and national security, it’s job security, income security, retirement and health care security. In such perilous and uncertain times people are looking for some level of certainty, safety and security.”
He says that’s what he is building his campaign on.
“How to grow our economy to provide that type of opportunity and prosperity so we can afford security.”
Johnson said he feels this campaign has been a lot more negative from former Sen. Russ Feingold’s perspective.
“He’s way more negative. In 2010, it was a pretty above board campaign and we just talked about the legitimate differences between my views and his. I want to grow the economy and he is a career politician and wants to grow government,” he said. “Unfortunately he is lying about my record and distorting things, and his campaign is largely based on phony promises.”
Being in the Senate hasn’t changed him, Johnson said, but he has been exposed to the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.
“When we got the majority in 2015, I became the chairman of the Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and using my outsider approach, the perspective of a manufacturer who knows how to solve problems and get them accomplished, I’m using that approach to get results,” he said. “We’ve passed 83 pieces of legislation out of that committee, 27 of them have been signed into law. It’s not the kind of legislation that grows government, it identifies the problem in a very bipartisan fashion, which is the only way you can pass legislation in divided government, and makes government a little more efficient, a little more effective and a little more accountable.”
“I’ve actually got a track record of being a citizen legislator and outsider, getting results, while Sen. Feingold, 34 years in politics, career politician and what does he have to show for it? I know he has one high-profile failure, campaign finance reform, which was an abject failure, and large portions of it have been ruled unconstitutional.”
The senator mentioned in his travels one of the issues people bring up around the state is the heroin issue.
“It’s kind of unusual how you see the connection between so many problems facing this nation and our insatiable demand for drugs and drug abuse.”
He said one of the committee’s top priorities is securing the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
“We held 18 different hearings. After about a dozen of those we published a 100-page report and my conclusion and I think the committee’s conclusion among many causes, the primary cause of unsecured borders is our nation’s demand for drugs because it gave rise to drug cartels to control portions of the Mexican side of the border. That’s made our borders insecure, which affects our national security, health and safety and really prevents us from fixing the immigration issue.”
“When I travel around the state of Wisconsin talking to public safety officials, local, state and federal, and ask them the biggest problem they are dealing with and it’s drug overdoses and drug abuse.”
Johnson’s PROP Act — Promoting Responsible Opiate Prescriptions — was introduced by Johnson and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin at a hearing Pewaukee.
“Dr. Timothy Westlake, who practices in Oconomowoc, said it was the single most important piece of legislation that has been passed as it relates to this issue.”
The law doesn’t allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to use survey questions regarding how happy a patient is with pain management to reimburse for services.
“It was incentive for doctors to overprescribe opiates which leads to addiction, so now they can still ask the question, they just can’t use it to reimburse providers and physicians. So that’s a good thing, that’s one of those areas of accomplishment.”