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Wisconsin State Journal (copy)

Two Republicans are vying to be Wisconsin’s next secretary of state. Both hope to return responsibilities to the office that have been stripped away in past years, but Jay Schroeder and Spencer Zimmerman have different ideas of what those responsibilities should be.

Jay Schroeder

Age: 56

Address: 1295 N. Lake St., Neenah

Family: Married, four children

Job: Rental property owner, stock investor

Prior elected office: Menomonie City Council, two terms, first student ever elected while attending college at UW-Stout. Town of Menasha supervisor.

Other public service: Winnebago County Republican finance chairman. Past elected elder of Peace Lutheran Church. Host parent for exchange high school students from Spain, Italy, Portugal and France.

Education: Associate degree, applied science, Fox Valley College; bachelor’s of science, business administration, UW-Stout; licensed mortgage loan officer, state of Wisconsin.

Spencer Zimmerman

Age: 38

Address: 462 S. Randall Ave., #3, Janesville

Family: Single

Job: Presidential Limousine Service

Prior elected office: Madison College Student Senate

Other public service: Active Duty Air Force, 2000-2004, Joint Service Achievement Medal for Meritorious Service on 9/11/2001

Education: Associate degree, information systems technology, Community College of the Air Force; bachelor’s degree, business administration, Edgewood College


True or false: The secretary of state’s office could be eliminated tomorrow and no one would notice.

Schroeder: False: Based on the referendum, the residents of Wisconsin voted to keep constitutional offices. The duties of secretary of state have been put into hibernation by the current tired seat-holder. Rather than wielding its power and potential he has mismanaged its resources. Former Gov. Jim Doyle and the Democrats never gave him the duties back.

Zimmerman: Unfortunately it is true that it could be eliminated and few would notice, yet voters appear to want to keep the office. Decades of complacency has left Wisconsin with an office of secretary of state desperately in need of reform. The duties of the office have been reduced to nothing, and staff has been cut from 50 to just 2.

In what way would you seek to make the office of secretary of state more relevant to state residents?

Schoeder: According to the MacIver Institute in 2016, almost 4,000 cases of voter fraud occurred in Wisconsin. I will work around the clock to solve this. I also will propose to move the office out of Madison. Let’s bring it up from its current location in the “basement” of the Capitol building. Eight-year term limit must be established.

Zimmerman: My vision of reform brings with it new jobs and opportunity. I want to restore function to the office of secretary of state by making it a cyber-security watchdog as well as Wisconsin’s chief protocol officer for international relations and to serve as a goodwill ambassador promoting commerce, educational studies and cultural exchanges between Wisconsin, other states, and the world.

What qualities do you bring to the job that your opponent does not?

Schroeder: The ability to identify a problem and correct it. I plan on returning $35,000 out of my compensation back to the children’s library fund. The amount La Follette spent on junkets. Things like that, I don’t hide from. Someone living in Madison for 40 years does not have the same priorities as most of the Wisconsinites. I ask for your vote.

Zimmerman: My experience as a computer systems operator for four years and my degree in information systems technology from the Community College of the Air Force have prepared me well to address cyber security challenges. Wisconsin faces about 2½ million cyber attacks per day, and the worldwide cost of hacking is estimated to reach $6 trillion a year by 2021.

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.