By Nyesha Stone
The occasional sound of laughter mixed with some booing and a few people calling out“liar” could be heard during the Senator debate this past Monday. Hosted at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), the Wisconsin Senate debate gave U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and opponent Leah Vukmir the chance to interact.
Baldwin and Vukmir went back and forth on healthcare, the #MeToo movement and immigration, amongst other topics.
Each candidate had 90 seconds to speak and 30 seconds to follow up. The first and most discussed topic of the night—healthcare—started with Baldwin on the mic.
“All Americans deserve affordable and quality healthcare,” said Baldwin.
Vukmir challenged Baldwin, and said under Baldwin, “everything we know about insurance will go away.” The audience reacted with mixed emotions, with some disapproving of Vukmir while others clapped.
Throughout the debate, Vukmir was consistently asked by the moderators to stick to her 90 seconds, and to re-answer the question she was asked.
The two women discussed healthcare for several minutes before switching to the topic of immigration. Baldwin and Vukmir both agree that there needs to be immigration reform, but their vision of what that looks like is completely different.
Vukmir says we can’t just let everyone into America.
“We must build that wall,” she said. “I remember the days when people stopped on Ellis Island, they were quarantined.”
“Our immigration policy is broken and it needs to be fixed,” said Baldwin, “The president seems to just want a wall.”
Vukmir later went on to say that under President Barack Obama’s administration—which Baldwin worked under— D.A.C.A kids were separated from their families. She said this in response to Baldwin who brought up how under Trump’s administration, thousands of kids are being separated from their families. Vukmir wanted to discredit Baldwin, but the crowd shouted “lies” to Vukmir’s statements.
Each topic showed how different their views are from one another, including the #MeToo movement.
“Too many women have held in these painful assaults/attacks for years. We [women] need to speak our truth and we need to be heard,” said Baldwin about where she stands in the movement. “We have to create an environment and country where it’s okay to speak out.”
Baldwin said she believed Dr. Christine Blasely Ford, who said she was sexually assaulted by Brett Kavanaugh—who was just elected to Supreme Court—as teenagers.
Vukmir didn’t discuss much of the #MeToo move ment when asked about it because she used her time stating how Baldwin missed most her hearings. Baldwin and Vukmir then spoke on other topics such as minimum wage and gender-pay gaps.
To find out how you can vote for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator visit https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/