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Richard Ausman is running for Congress. He is the Democratic candidate for the 7th Congressional district in northwestern Wisconsin. He is not a politician. He has never run for office before.
Like the James Stewart character in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Ausman is a “common man” hoping to go to Washington and change things.
He says. “It is time to stop playing the blame game and cool the radical rhetoric that divides us as a people. It is time to move back towards a more traditional moderate center of the road pro-American approach where we are united as neighbors for our common good.”
All politicians portray themselves as just a good ole boy (or gal) that you could talk with in the cafe or have a beer with after work. But Richard Ausman is an authentic ordinary Joe. Because no one with more qualifications or experience stepped up, he volunteered to run against Tom Tiffany.
People complain about politicians being distant and out of touch. People think politicians all lie and are bought and paid for by the special interests. But these beliefs don’t stop them from voting for the venal, ignorant, power hungry doofuses, like Tiffany, who make politics so ugly and divisive.
So now people have a chance to vote for an honest, decent man with no political ambitions who just wants to serve the people and try to make things better for everyone in northwest Wisconsin.
Listen to Richard Ausman in his own words: “I understand prevailing political beliefs are to only provide voters with slogans and minimal information so they will not find something in your background that they object to. However, I am not a politician and that is not the way I operate. I believe I must be an open book to potential voters who would consider honoring me and entrusting me with the privilege of representing their interests in Congress.“
You have probably never heard of Richard Ausman. Outside of announcements that he was running, there has been very little coverage of his candidacy in the press or local news. Wisconsin Public Radio did the mandatory interview (see wpr.org/people/richard-dick-ausman). Most of what we know about him comes from his campaign website (ausmanforcongress.com).
Ausman graduated from UW-Madison with a Business degree. Beginning with working for the school’s student newspaper, he built a career in newspaper and magazine publishing. He has owned and managed two small weekly newspapers and been an executive for a large multi-national magazine publishing company.
Richard says he grew up in a “staunch Republican family.” But the Republican party has changed. He says, “I would prefer not to have a label, however, I am now a Democrat because the moderate middle-of-the-road GOP that I grew up with no longer exists. Folks like me who were raised with a sense of fairness for all and are middle-of-the-road moderates are no longer welcome in the Republican Party. But I have found a new home in the Democratic Party which is aligned with my personal beliefs and values.”
Ausman is running because he believes Tiffany does not represent the best interests of the people of northwest Wisconsin. Tiffany has voted against almost everything including important bills with bipartisan support (see the list on Ausman’s website). Tiffany opposed actions to fight the pandemic and voted against pandemic relief payments that kept the economy from crashing and helped many people in Wisconsin.
On the issues Ausman is best described as a moderate. He is liberal on many social issues, moderate on gun control and conservative on support for the police, support for the military and the war in Ukraine.
Here is a list of his positions from his website:
• Quality, affordable health care is a right and we need a better system that costs less and doesn’t bankrupt people.
• Woman should have the right to control their own bodies and make their own reproductive choices.
• It is time to pass the Equal Rights Amendment
• Public education is an investment in our children and our society. Community college and technical college should be free and educational loans should be 1% interest rate backed by the federal government.
• Veterans and their families should have the best care after serving our country and this care should be available from local providers.
• He does not support de-funding the police (but doesn’t discuss other police reforms)
• He will not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
• He supports family farms and sustainable agriculture. He opposes Republican efforts to eliminate food safety standards, agricultural environmental standards and support factory farms.
• Climate crisis is real and must be addressed. We must protect lakes, rivers, wetlands and water resources. Water is life.
• He is a gun owner, but supports limits on ownership, clip capacity, safety training and red flag laws.
• He supports small business and is not against big business. But big business should not be able to suppress competition and get favorable treatment to the detriment of small businesses and workers.
• Unions have been the backbone of our nation for decades. “I believe it should easier, not harder, for workers both public and private, to exercise their right to organize and join unions and will support legislation to do just that.”
• He supports social programs for families in times of need.
• He is a fiscal conservative. “I have been a business owner and have had to meet a payroll. But I will never vote for huge tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations paid for with borrowed money that creates more and more government debt.”
• He says there is no room for hate. “We should be comfortable being who we are without fear of being considered a lesser person by someone else. Those who instill that fear need to understand why it is wrong.”
He is traveling the district in a campaign bus. He doesn’t have big outside money, a slick organization, or lots of nauseating TV ads. He needs your help.
Everyone can talk to their friends and relatives, put up a yard sign, organize a house party and donate. This is what real democracy looks like.
If Mr. Ausman goes to Washington it will because of ordinary people made it happen.