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1st District Democrats Debate in Kenosha


(WGTD)---Nearly three-hundred people showed up at UAW Local 72 headquarters in Kenosha Wednesday night for a congenial debate between the two Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in the 1st Congressional District.

Ironworker Randy Bryce and Janesville teacher and school board member Cathy Myers refrained from attacking each other, and agreed on almost every issue that was raised.

For instance, both candidates oppose the K-12 school voucher program in Wisconsin. They support changing bankruptcy rules to allow for the discharge of student debt. And they favor a $15 an hour minimum wage. "One in four of our workers here in Wisconsin earns a wage that is below the povery level," said Myers. "That's terrible."

Bryce also supports the higher minimum. "We've seen the middle class in Wisconsin disappear faster than any other state," he said. "The unemployment rate might be ok but what good is it if you have to work two jobs instead of one good-paying job just to get by." 

Wednesday night's debate was organized by the Kenosha County Democratic Party and by Forward Kenosha, a progressive political group.

One issue that didn’t come up was a report in the Journal Sentinel saying that Bryce is refusing to disclose just how much he earns from doing work for a political consulting firm owned by former party chair Mike Tate. According to the paper, the latest campaign finance report indicates that Bryce chalked up over $5,000 during the first four months of the year. The Bryce campaign declined to disclose just how much more, saying that Bryce wasn’t obligated to report the exact amount. The Myers campaign disputed that interpretation of the rules.

Both Bryce and Myers pledged to support the other in the event that they'd lose the August 14th primary. 

They had plenty of criticism for Bryan Steil, the UW regent and Janesville corporate attorney who leads the Republican primary field in part because of his endorsement by incumbent Paul Ryan, who isn't seeking another term. Said Myers of Steil: "He not only wants to carry Paul Ryan's policies to Washington, he even looks like him, which is a little disturbing," Myers said to laughter. 

Listen to the full debate here