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On November 6th, Wisconsin will hold a midterm election to elect offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, U.S. Senator, Representative in Congress, State Senator for odd-numbered districts, and Representatives to the Wisconsin Assembly for all districts. Additionally, county offices including Sheriff, Clerk of Circuit Court, and Coroner will be up for election.

Being an informed voter is the responsibility of all voting eligible members of our community. We at Milwaukee Area Science Advocates (MASA) think it’s important that citizens be informed on how candidates aim to address Wisconsin issues from a science-based perspective. Below you will find both the unaltered questions posed and candidate’s responses. Attempts were made to reach all candidates; however, not all could be reached for response.

Candidates for Governor

Research and Innovation

In the 19th and 20th centuries, economic growth in the United States has been largely due to science and engineering innovations. Given the competitive nature of research and development in the global economy. Do you believe policy changes can keep Wisconsin competitive in development of new research and technology in the modern era?

Tony Evers (Democratic Party)

Without a doubt. But to stay competitive, it requires a collaborative effort between the public and private sectors. That starts with undoing the funding cuts and hyper-politicization of the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Technical College Systems. Both here in our state and across the nation, drawing on world-class research institutions for businesses to partner with is a proven model of success. Unfortunately, the current administration and ruling party has sought to chip away at the value of our research institutions, driving world class scholars and their research dollars across state lines. Wisconsin needs a governor who understands the link between innovation, research and a strong economy.

Wisconsin is in danger of being left behind by our neighbors as they advance clean energy policies and embrace emerging scientific research, especially as it relates to advancements in modern medicine. As Governor, I will roll back the aggressive anti-science policies and stances that many of our state agencies currently operate under. I will also advance and advocate for policies that support research and evidence-based solutions.

Phil Anderson (Libertarian Party)

Yes I do. The more people, companies and industries involved in research, the better the research and the more advantageous this research will be to our economy and our society. I hope to deregulate industries that want to perform needed research.

Michael White (Green Party)

Yes, I believe policy changes can help keep Wisconsin competitive. More to the point, the key problems facing us need answers based in science. My undergraduate degree was chemistry. I also had two years of graduate work in biochemistry and toxicology. I worked with pure dioxin, PBBs (polybrominated biphenyls) and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). I am a physician. My biggest campaign issue is climate change and the threats facing our environments, including the inner city. Persistent hormonally active chemicals are being found the blood of our pre-pubertal girls. Socio-economic status predicts which groups will have problems. Data matters. Facts matter. The science matters. My administration would base policy on science, on data, on the best practices available. Not on dogma.

Scientific Literacy

STEM professions are proven career tracks to success and most industries are eager to hire well-trained scientists and engineers. Yet, American children are falling behind their foreign counterparts in math and science skills. Among 35 nations surveyed, U.S. children rank 30th in math and 19th in science literacy. In what ways do you feel you can improve scientific literacy among Wisconsin children?

Tony Evers (Democratic Party)

As a former science teacher and your current state superintendent, this is an issue I live and breathe. I believe there are a few things we can do right now to make a difference for generations of kids. We’ve put stronger science, computer science, and environmental literacy and sustainability standards in place for the first time in over 25 years. These standards help students, parents and educators know what students should know and should be able to do. This helps Wisconsin stay competitive with other states and countries in scientific learning. I’ve also championed and grown state STEM applied learning like Robotics programs, computer coding, FabLabs, and Project Lead the Way through successful legislation and budget requests.

Moving forward, we must take steps to close opportunity gaps between students of color and their white peers, as well as the gender gap in the sciences. And to do so, we must address the inequities that exist concerning access to STEM coursework and high-quality educators. Whether at a young age or during later stages of their K-12 careers, students of color and females lack access to the same scientific opportunities as their white and male peers. That impacts achievement levels and eventually the ability of our businesses to recruit and retain quality employees.

In my current role, I’m working to address these issues through the federal education law and policies I can impact. But as Governor, I will be able to expand this vision, make sure it receives the funding it deserves, and build new partnerships within the business community. In addition to closing gaps, we must remain current in our teaching practices as it comes to science education. We cannot afford to stand still as research and innovation shape our knowledge and economies of the world.

Phil Anderson (Libertarian Party)

American children are falling behind because the public school system is overburdened in dealing with social and behavioral issues. A diversification of education options, and allowing ALL taxpayers access to the maximum choice of how and where to educate their children, will allow parents to choose schools with better STEM-oriented curricula and improve the lives and futures of their children.

Michael White (Green Party)

The Governor does not make the laws. But she or he can use the office as a “bully pulpit.” The governor can influence where dollars go and can demonstrate making science and real facts the basis for decision making. Saying “I’m not a scientist.” and then taking science off of state web sites is a bad example.

Public Health

How should an effective administration determine the most pressing public health issues facing their constituency and how they should be best remediated? Could you briefly describe some pressing public health concerns in Wisconsin, your desired approach to them, and how you came to your conclusions?

Tony Evers (Democratic Party)

I believe that good leaders surround themselves with people who can help them make the right decisions. I would seek to surround myself with health policy leaders who have played a role in higher education and medical fields to assist in identifying and solving the state’s health care policy issues. As a cancer survivor, I also know that those who have experienced or are experiencing serious health ailments or have loved ones who they have supported through the health care system have lived experience that is often critical to seek out and consider as part of decision-making protocols.

One of the critical public health issues facing Wisconsin is our inequitable and overly costly system of health care. There’s one big reason that folks in Minnesota pay half the price Wisconsinites do when purchasing health insurance through the state exchanges – Minnesota accepted the Medicaid expansion dollars and Wisconsin did not. We need to take the federal money and increase access for Wisconsin residents. I formed this position after talking with Wisconsinites about their poor health care coverage, discussing solutions with policy-makers and health policy experts, and researching the issue myself.

A second public health issue is the epidemic of gun violence that is devastating communities across Wisconsin and our country. This includes both self-inflicted gunshot wounds and suicides, but also homicides. There is no other country that suffers from gun violence the way we do here in the United States. I believe we need a win on this issue to break the political gridlock and I believe it starts with universal background checks, which over 81% of Wisconsinites support.

Phil Anderson (Libertarian Party)

The biggest public health issue we face is addiction, and the criminalizing of drug use. My first priority will be to end the racist war on cannabis in Wisconsin. Cannabis can not only aid in the fight against opioid addiction, but the legalization of cannabis will help keep people out of jail for non-violent victimless crimes- and we know the massive health issues that incarceration, especially solitary confinement, inflict on our people.

Michael White (Green Party)

The most pressing problem in the state is probably heavy metal contamination in our water. Specifically, lead. Once lead is deposited in the brain, you can’t get it out again. Also, even low blood levels of lead can cause accumulation over time. It is the “area under the curve” that matters, not the level of one measurement, at one point in time.

The opioid crisis is a public health crisis. Failure to identify and treat STDs (sexually transmissible diseases) is a crisis; it will lead to rising rates of HIV infection.

Contamination of the water table, our rivers, our lakes, our aquifers, with complex persistent organic compounds, heavy metals, PFAS, PCBs is a problem of unknown scope.

I would approach all of these prioritizing based on severity of risk, with immediate disease and lead being the top priorities. I would then start with making everything public, so the citizens know what the threats are. We would go from there.

Science in Policy

How will your administration stay informed on scientific advancements? How will science influence decisions and policy in your administration?

Tony Evers (Democratic Party)

Again, I believe that an administration is as strong as the people who serve in critical posts. No one person has the answers to every problem, and a diverse set of opinions and experiences allows for better decision-making. I will recruit individuals with science backgrounds and relationships with the research community to my administration. I am firmly committed to using the best and most current scientific knowledge to make decisions that impact the state. I understand and appreciate science’s role in areas ranging from education, the environment, to the state’s economy.

Phil Anderson (Libertarian Party)

I will always consult relevant scientists and scientific research in making decisions, and am committed to staffing departments of state government with scientists appropriate to the mission of that department. One good example is the DNR, which the current administration has politicized. I pledge to return the DNR to the supervision of scientists who will provide unbiased, evidence-based solutions to environmental challenges we face.

Michael White (Green Party)

A science adviser is the first step. I know there are many professionals working in state government, in our universities, and in our communities, to gather the data. Separating dogma and opinion from fact, is always the challenge. But transparency of what the government is using as fact, to base policy making, is the first place to start.


Manufacturing is making a big comeback in Wisconsin. How should Wisconsin manage the environmental impact of industrial activity while remaining an appealing location for new business?

Tony Evers (Democratic Party)

These issues are not mutually exclusive. For too long, we have treated them as if they are. Advanced manufacturing is popping up across the state in ways that respect its environmental impact and the community generally. But we cannot afford to compromise our natural resources and the regulations that safeguard them when a business comes along that promises the world. The costs and benefits of decisions must be weighed in a transparent fashion that allows for the free flow of information. Only then can we be sure that we are making the right choices in regards to economic development and our precious resources. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Phil Anderson (Libertarian Party)

We must uphold the property rights of residents to NOT be polluted. This basic obligation of government has been turned on its head by the current administration, especially, but not limited to, the environmental/legal exceptions granted to Foxconn.

Michael White (Green Party)

Recent peer-reviewed literature, subject to open scrutiny, has documented species die off, related to accumulating environmental toxins, and to rising temperatures. I am a bee keeper, and I am well aware of the controversies surrounding neonicotinoids, and the devastation caused by the varroa mite, just to mention one example. PCBs have been leaking into our watersheds and are now being found in in apex ocean predators (killer whales) in sufficient concentrations to cause population collapse. As much as 70% of all coral reefs are projected to die by 2040, based on the current projection of rising temperatures and global warming. This August, we saw an algae bloom in Lake Superior, of a magnitude never seen before.

We need to reverse the EPA course. We need transparency and scrutiny of environmental impact. We should encourage science, business, innovation, government and citizen action that creates a new model of industry, with new industries aimed at fixing our problems, not creating more of the same.

Candidates for Representative in Congress
(Districts 1 and 5)


Wisconsin farmers are facing hardships from a dwindling honey bee population. Bee keepers are reporting a nearly 20% loss each winter, which is not sustainable. What policies will you promote to ameliorate the loss of our bee population?

District 1 – Ken Yorgan (Independent)

The evidence is conclusive, neonicotinoids and other insecticides and pesticides have had a devastating impact on the bee population. In addition, I believe that bees being shipped to pollinating zones and being given sugar for food while their honey is harvested for commercial purposes, are being exploited and subjected to stress that makes them even more vulnerable to chemical assault. We ignore this reality at our own peril and I will promote banning neonicotinoids and other chemicals that are so destructive to bees.

District 5 – Tom Palzewicz (Democratic Party)

We need to better enforce current environmental protections and return the EPA to doing its job. I also believe we need to invest a much higher amount of funds into research on environmental protections and climate change to prepare for the future and limit global impact on the environment. In addition, I would support streamlining the process of regulating the use of new chemicals when evidence suggests they cause damage to bee populations and/or the environment in general.


Many Wisconsin educators have expressed a concern for the state of our public schools. A lack of funding for critical programs, outdated buildings with lead pipes, low compensation and benefits for teachers creates a poor competitive environment for talented educators and severe achievement gaps between inner city and suburban neighborhoods. STEM education is important for Wisconsin to be economically competitive and for people from low-income backgrounds to find good jobs that end cycles of poverty. What legislative changes can Wisconsin make to improve conditions in our school system and close the education gaps that exist across socioeconomic divides in the state?

District 1 – Ken Yorgan (Independent)

This is primarily a state level issue, though the Federal Government plays an important role in protecting the constitutional rights of those in the educational system, be they students, teachers or infrastructure personnel. Public education is tremendously important and its integrity must be preserved. Its goal is to provide a continuous stream of academically and technologically competent citizens, capable of assuming the work and responsibilities of building and maintaining our civilization and culture. Those are the jobs that are most important and that should provide the financial rewards that will mitigate poverty. We have an absolute responsibility to provide equal preparation for and access to that work and those jobs, across all racial, cultural and gender lines, and I promise to support that.

District 5 – Tom Palzewicz (Democratic Party)

As a Congressperson, my ability to affect change in our education system will be limited to the federal government level, however I believe we can do much to improve our education system at the federal level. First and foremost, we must get the Department of Education back to working to protect students in both k-12, and higher education, and we can and should develop a system of federal education funding that helps close funding gaps across socioeconomic divides throughout the country.

Internet and Technology

Internet browsing and social media are an integral part in the daily life of Wisconsin citizens. Recently, concerns over social media privacy and data sharing have gained national spotlight. In 2017, Wisconsin lawmakers enacted limits on data collected from internet service providers without user consent. Do you think internet privacy has been sufficiently addressed in Wisconsin? Under your administration, how do you intend to further address internet and data security?

District 1 – Ken Yorgan (Independent)

Another state level issue, however, I fully support “net neutrality” and refinements to such policies as “The Patriot Act” which I believe affords far too much intrusion into the private lives of citizens. I would recommend that Wisconsin’s legislature repeal the ban on the concept of “broadband as a utility” and allow municipalities to offer that in the way that Chattanooga, TN has. It inspired remarkable economic growth for them.

District 5 – Tom Palzewicz (Democratic Party)

I believe the steps taken to protect the privacy of Wisconsinites makes needed progress in this area. In Congress I will support any policy that works to protect privacy on the internet and ensure that the rights of Americans online are not violated.

Net Neutrality

Earlier this year the Federal Communications Commissions repealed statutes that prevented internet providers from discriminating or charging differently based on website content. Without this net neutrality safeguard, Wisconsin citizens are at risk of losing access to online content at the discretion of their internet provider. Do you think Wisconsin should enact legislation requiring internet service providers to treat all online content equally?

District 1 – Ken Yorgan (Independent)


District 5 – Tom Palzewicz (Democratic Party)

Net neutrality is an incredibly important aspect of keeping the internet open and accessible and I wholeheartedly support net neutrality protections. One of my priorities in Congress will be to reverse the current administration’s recent decision to roll back net neutrality protections and ensure that the internet remains accessible and fosters fair competition and availability to information for everyone who uses it.

Physician Shortage

The Wisconsin Council on Medical Education & Workforce estimates that by the year 2035 there will be a 20.1% increase in primary care physician demand, leaving a shortfall of approximately 750 physicians. What steps or legislation do you think are important to ensure Wisconsin residents have access to quality health care clinicians?

District 1 – Ken Yorgan (Independent)

As a candidate for the US House of Representatives, I am committed to healthcare finance reform. Private, for profit health insurance has been a corrosive deterrent to a functioning and successful healthcare delivery program and should simply be phased out. We currently pay abusively more for our health care and receive embarrassingly poor outcomes, not because the care itself is deficient, but mostly because access to it is economically out of the reach of millions of citizens.

There will always be sufficient numbers of young people motivated to participate in healthcare, as long as they are not financially and administratively punished for doing so. Go to for more on this subject.

District 5 – Tom Palzewicz (Democratic Party)

I believe one of the biggest steps we need to take to fix our broken healthcare system, including physician shortages, is enacting a true universal healthcare system. This will ensure coverage, drive down the costs of healthcare, and reduce administrative costs which will also allow for better pay for doctors and less administrative work on their end, thus making the physician career path more desirable.

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