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Honadel, Kurtz Square Off In Assembly Race

Nine-year incumbent Honadel faces political newcomer Kurtz in race for the 21st Assembly district.

In one corner, you have the Republican incumbent, a nine-year veteran of the Wisconsin Legislature who won his last re-election bid with 69 percent of the vote.

In the other, you have the Democratic challenger, a man in his first run for public office who spent years covering local politics as a journalist.

State Rep. Mark Honadel and challenger Bill Kurtz will square off Tuesday in the 21st District Assembly race. The district includes Oak Creek, South Milwaukee and a small part of Franklin.

In interviews with Oak Creek Patch, Honadel touted his record of working with both parties to pass meaningful legislation, while Kurtz criticized the incumbent's support of Gov. Scott Walker's agenda.

Get complete info on where to vote and who's on the ballot in our Elecion Guide.

The 56-year-old Honadel, a welder and businessman, is seeking his fifth full term in office after winning a special election to the seat in 2003.

He noted his Wisconsin Wins program as an example of legislation that got unanimous support from both parties. The program allows unemployed people to get on-the-job training with the possibility of full-time employment afterward.

It also speaks to his overall outlook on the role of government in creating jobs.

"Government can't truly create jobs," Honadel said. "But what it can do is make new vehicles to get people retrained and find new work."

Honadel also said he would focus on taxation and regulations in the next Legislative session to make it easier for businesses to grow.

Kurtz, 60, is a former reporter who has also worked for several colleges.

His top priority would be education, he said. A strong investment into education would help attract companies to the state and improve the economy, Kurtz said.

"It's absolutely vital to maintain and strengthen education" funding, whether it be for K-12, technical colleges or the UW System, Kurtz said.

But Act 10, the budget-repair bill that drew massive protests in 2011, is a "one-time financial bailout" and not a long-term solution to school funding problems, Kurtz said. He's also concerned that Walker has been quiet about he will offer in the next budget.

"You can be confident that Honadel is going to support it no matter what it is," he said.

Honadel supports Act 10, saying it stopped the layoffs and downsizing that went on in schools for several years prior to its passage.

Continuing to focus on the economy and jobs will help education, Honadel said, because when the economy is good and people are employed, more tax revenue will come in and more money will be available. 

Act 10 isn't the only thing on which the candidates disagree.

Kurtz said he is "very much against" the voter ID bill, which would require people to show identification before voting but is currently tied up in the courts and not in effect for Tuesday's elections.

"It's a solution in search of a problem," he said.

Honadel said the arguments against the bill, namely that it disenfranchises particular groups of voters, is "nonsense."

"Voter ID is what the people want," he said.

Wisconsin state representatives serve two-year terms and earn $49,943.00 annually. They also receive a per diem of $88 per day for each day they work in Madison.

Candidate profiles

  • Republican Mark Honadel (incumbent)
  • Democrat Bill Kurtz
Mike in OC November 03, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Hondadel needs to run against Larson for the Senate.....
Dan Vitek November 03, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Mr. Kortz sounds like the classic lefty liberial more Gov. telling you how to run your life He was a reporter for the Milw Journal and pushed all of the liberial cause at that time God forbid what he is telling his students With all of this early voting and voter sign up you can see why the left is against voter i.d. and also against act 10 which leveled the playing field for the taxpayer
Bill Kurtz November 03, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Mr. Vitek, let me tell you something about myself. As a reporter, I never "pushed all of the liberial (sic) cause." Quite to the contrary, I always went out of my way to be accurate and fair in my reporting, and have been complimented for that numerous times. Some of the people telling me that have political views contrary to my own. I would urge everyone to visit my website, billkurtzforassembly.blogspot.com, to see my 10-minute interview with Wisconsin Eye on major issues facing our state. My opponent, by the way, declined to take this opportunity, which was offered to all candidates.
Dan Vitek November 03, 2012 at 07:01 PM
I still wont vote for you because of your view points on issuies that 80% percent of people want.For some reasone the liberials cannot accept that and try to push there agenda .Case in point voter I.D. they went crying to the liberial judges in Madison to get it stopped . I guess because it is the only way the liberials can win is to stuff the ballot box. Same as the recall election .uncalled for I do not believe in big socialist Gov. and was taught to stand on my own 2 feet. and provide for my self and not make excuess for my self.And I am sure that 80 % of the voting public feel the same way.
Lyn November 05, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Go Honadel!
Keith R. Deschler November 19, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Even though I strongly disagree with Mr Kurtz's liberal views, I applaud him for just getting out there and running for the office to give Mr Honadel some competition. I would not vote for anyone with Mr Kurtz's views, since I see little logic or facts behind them, but I also commend him for doing a WisconsinEye interview (as I also did in my run for Congress). Too bad Mr Honadel refused that opportunity to explain his views to the public. He probably feels that everyone knows where he stands anyway, so why bother. But folks have got to figure that a conservative GOP incumbent, with 9 years in office and who won his last race with nearly 70% of the vote, would not do too much campaigning against an underfunded and largely unknown liberal Democrat challenger.

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