Meet and greet

Wisconsin 7th Congressional District House of Representative candidate Jason Church addresses an audience at a recent meet-and-greet in Ladysmith.

About 25 people attended a recent meet-and-greet session for a Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House.

Jason Church (R-Hudson), a native of Menomonie and retired Army captain, met with about 25 area residents in Ladysmith on Wednesday, Nov. 20. He has aligned himself with President Donald Trump. Church told the audience it is people like them who make America work and who put Trump in the White House.

“The Democrats have not accepted that [Trump] won in 2016,” Church told the crowd.

Issues discussed included dairy farming, illegal immigration, trade deals, expanding health care privatization, Planned Parenthood funding, the Second Amendment and impeachment hearings.

“They are going to try and remove him from office any way they can because people like us are going to put him back in there,” Church said.

The 7th District seat was last held by Sean Duffy, who resigned from Congress in September to spend more time with family. His newly-born daughter is facing heart-related medical complications.

The vacancy has left much of the northwoods without a voice in Congress, according to Church.

“We are lacking representation right now. Our own district does not have someone there defending the President of the United States,” Church said. “We put him there to disrupt what the establishment is trying to do in Washington. We need to put someone back there who has stood with him since the beginning, and I have.”

Church attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he was a cadet in the Reserve Officer Training Program, graduating with a degree in political science.

Church, an aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and an Afghan war veteran who lost both legs in an IED explosion in combat. While recovering at Walter Reed Hospital from his military injuries, he met U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.

“After a 45 minute talk, he learned one, I am pretty opinionated and, two, he and I saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things,” Church said.

Church graduated from Georgetown University with a Master of Arts in Security Studies from the School of Foreign Service and from Wisconsin Law School with a Juris Doctor.

At a recent Rusk County Republican Party annual meeting Church received unanimous support in a straw poll vote. He told the audience last week the reason he joined the Army was love of country and the call of service.

“That is the same reason I am running for Congress today, and the same reason I am asking for your vote and asking for your support,” Church said.

He medically retired as a captain from the U.S. Army in 2014.

Church fielded numerous questions.

The first addressed how Church’s leadership in the military would translate to Congress.

Church spoke about forming a coalition of other young veterans, naming other representatives like Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Brian Mast (R-Fla.). “Together our voice can make a big difference,” Church said.

Another questioner asked about Church’s duties working for Johnson.

Church addressed his work on defense, constituent and veterans affair issues and policy matters involving agriculture and health care. He would later on become a lawyer in Johnson’s office, tasked with reviewing bills and legislation.

“I learned a lot about the whole process. The most frustrating part about it is when you see a truly political decision be the basis for a lawmaker’s final decision,” Church said.

Church also told the audience he supports Trump’s effort to shake up the administrative bureaucracy that is supposed to work for the government. He also addressed how laws are implemented by administrative and regulatory agencies.

“I am about reducing their power, and any part of that has to come from Congress,” Church said. “The biggest problem I see within the agencies in the federal government is they take laws Congress writes and they spin them when they implement them.”

Church received applause for speaking in favor of term limits, stating he would serve no more than four terms in office.

Church told the audience his priorities in Congress would depend on the outcome of the 2020 election

“Assuming the worst-case scenario [and Democrats win] I become more of a roadblock at that point to what the Democrats want to implement,” Church said.

If Trump is elected to a second term and Republicans take back the House, Church said he would like to address trade inequities with China, elements of health care reform like the ability to buy insurance across state lines and modernize the military.

“China is a big problem. The president has realized that [he] is reallocating resources toward that. I would like to be someone in Congress who can do that for him,” Church said.

Church pointed to the current $23 trillion U.S. debt. He cited fraud in Medicare and Medicaid as major contributors, saying something has to be done to restructure these systems while also caring for people under these programs.

Church said he has backed Trump since the beginning, claiming his Congressional race opponent, Wisconsin State Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua), instead has made political calculations when supporting the president. Church also cited his energy and ability articulate what he can do.

“As I have gone out on the campaign trail, people are resonating with that message,” Church said.

Church was asked his opinion of the spiritual climate in Washington, D.C. He said the country was founded on religious principals.

“I feel like Washington, right now, lacks that,” Church said.

He also told the audience voting laws can be strengthened.

Church was asked if he thinks the impeachment inquiry will backfire for Democrats. He said it very well could, calling it a Democrat effort to please the party’s base in an effort to invalidate the Republican voice and vote made in 2016.

“There are people out there who cannot believe we voted Donald Trump president of the United States,” Church said. “I don’t think it is going to work. It certainly isn’t going to work here.”

Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District covers all or part of 26 of the state’s 72 counties. This includes all of Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Clark, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Vilas and Washburn counties. Portions of Chippewa, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe and Wood counties are also in the district.

The primary will occur on Feb. 18, 2020. The general election will occur on May 12, 2020.

Church, Michael Opela Sr., and Tom Tiffany are running in the special Republican primary. The No Better Friend Republican Primary Debate for 7th Congressional District is scheduled for 6-9 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Westwood Conference Center, Wausau. No Better Friend Corp is an organization founded by former GOP Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson. This is a ticketed event. RSVP in advance.

Lawrence Dale, Spencer Zimmerman and Tricia Zunker are running in the special Democrat primary.

Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are considered for reelection every even year. Whoever wins the special election next spring will then have to run again in six months, when Duffy’s term was to expire.

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