Gwen Moore Responds To Primary Challenge

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Gwen Moore Responds To Primary Challenge

Premiere Date: 
July 11, 2014

The Dem U.S. Rep. from Milwaukee faces a challenge from former state Sen. Gary George.

 

Episode Transcript: 

Frederica Freyberg:

First, the primary challenge to Democratic US Representative Gwen Moore. Her challenger is Gary George, the former state senator who was convicted on federal corruption charges. We spoke with George last month about his candidacy and now congresswoman Moore joins us. I recently spoke with her about a range of issues starting with her reaction to George's candidacy.

Gwen Moore:

I think that people deserve second chances depending on the nature of the crimes that they commit and I was sort of surprised, given the nature of his conviction that he would want to enter public service again.

Frederica Freyberg:

Now, he says on another matter kind of aside from that, he says that your constituents aren't getting the urgency that’s demanded for tackling the problems in Milwaukee like jobs and education and he lists several others. How do you respond to that, that you are not urgent enough?

Gwen Moore:

I didn’t hear him say that I was not urgent enough. You know, it’s hard to disagree with him. There are many problems in-- particularly in the 4th Congressional District of Wisconsin. I heard him mention a few of them. He talked, for example, about the needs for jobs, which is why I'm surprised that he is not criticizing our governor for that. Someone who promised 250,000 jobs, someone who-- You know, I worked really, really hard, for example, to try to get that $800 million back to the state for rail, which he declined. And Tower Automotive, the site of the old AO Smith factory where they were going to-- Talgo was going to have folk build train sets which would have brought life back to an area that used to employ 10,000 people, many of whom were African-American. And he really breached-- The governor breached the contract, putting us million-- tens of millions of dollars in debt because of breach of that contract. That, I think, is where his argument ought to lie. What I have done to try to create jobs in the 4th Congressional District is really indisputable. When we did have ear marks, about $126 million of ear marks back to the community for redevelopment of the Menominee Valley, for projects in the sewage district, and for many other initiatives related to the Great Lakes. I fight very hard for Great Lakes restoration dollars. The work on I-94 in a bipartisan manner I was able to get Congressman Petri, in whose district Senator George lives, and that seat, of course, is going to be vacant, I worked with him on a bipartisan basis to get I-94 designated as a regionally important and significant project so that all the I-94 projects and work is a result of my work in congress. The spinal cord injury unit in west Milwaukee on the VA grounds, I'm proud of that having been a decades-long project that others had tried to get finally came to fruition with my leadership in the house of representatives. The Job Corp project that Tom Barrett had tried to get, we finally brought that on board. So I'm-- You know, I think my constituents can check my record and I would be very proud of the work that I've done toward job creation. You know, things like-- And people in the community who work very closely in the community know that I worked hard for job training programs, bringing those dollars in, big step. And so I'm not-- I don't have to be embarrassed about what I've done with regard to job creation.

Frederica Freyberg:

Let me just jump in and ask you this. According to an analysis of bill sponsorship, something called GovTrack, rates you as a far Left Democrat. Gary George is described by our legislative reference bureau as upsetting his constituents when he was in state service for siding with Republicans on several issues. What do you think of George and his past of siding with Republicans?

Gwen Moore:

Frederica, I can tell you that the last budget that Senator George was a part of, I was very surprised about his vote with the Republicans. We had a 17-16 fragile majority, and so his vote meant that the Republican version of the budget could pass. I think that the consequences are known, and his constituents withdrew their support from him.

Frederica Freyberg:

We leave it there. Congresswoman Gwen Moore, thanks for joining us.

Gwen Moore:

Thank you so much. And I really look forward to continuing to serve the district. You know, I’ve worked hard to bring transportation to the community, to work on issues that affect women and children, in particular. In the do-nothing congress, I have been able to be one of the few people to be able to pass a bill. I'm so proud of the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act that I was able to negotiate even with this do-nothing congress. And I am so grateful for my constituents giving me this honor, and I hope that they will return me for another session.

Frederica Freyberg:

Thank you.

Gwen Moore:

Thank you.


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