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Gubernatorial candidates stump in Superior

Gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers, third from left, greets Superior attorney Toby Marcovich and his wife, Sharon, as he heads into a crowded Thirsty Pagan Thursday evening. Behind Evers is lieutenant governor candidate Mandela Barnes and former state Sen. Bob Jauch. Shelley Nelson /

Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor were greeted Thursday, Sept. 6, by a packed house of supporters at Thirsty Pagan in Superior.

The standing-room-only crowd spilled out to the sidewalk.

"This really is a watershed election," said retired state Sen. Bob Jauch, a Democrat. He said it's time to change the politics of division, disruption and distraction, and restore the politics of compassion and concern for others.

"I'm here to tell you Tony Evers will be the next governor," said Mandela Barnes, lieutenant governor candidate. "We're not going to win by going against Scott Walker. We tried that before ... it did not work for us."

Barnes, a protester in Madison following Gov. Scott Walker's introduction of Act 10, which limited public workers unions' ability to negotiate, served in the Wisconsin Legislature for two terms.

He said the elections in 2010, 2012 and 2014 have shown "we win when we talked about ideas."

Barnes said affordable health care, two-thirds funding for public schools, restoring scientists in the Department of Natural Resources, rebuilding roads, real economic development — not Foxconn — and renewable energy, which is outpacing the rest of the economy in terms of growth, are the ideas that are going to win the election.

"The issues we're talking about are not partisan issues," Barnes said. "Republicans and Democrats want to drive on smooth roads. Republicans and Democrats want to sent their children to good schools. Republicans and Democrats get sick and need access to affordable health care."

Evers is Wisconsin's superintendent of public instruction and serves on the Board of Regents for the University of Wisconsin System.

"I believe we have more that unifies than divides us," Evers said.

Evers vowed to run the race on issues and Wisconsin values, developed as a Plymouth, Wisconsin, native who has had the opportunity to live in various parts of the state.

"Scott Walker started his career as governor of the state, saying, 'We're going to divide and conquer,'" Evers said. "He divided and conquered then, and he's dividing and conquering today ... We have to get back to that time where Wisconsin values count."

Jauch said Evers has fought "heart and soul" against cuts to education.

"We have had hundreds of school districts across the state be forced to raise their own taxes ... for school referendums because they care about education," Evers said. He said he can't wait to appoint regents to the board who care about the state's universities.

"I believe UW-Superior is right on the precipice," Evers said.

Mayor Jim Paine said Evers and Mandela will fight for every resident in Wisconsin.

"I need to move my economy forward and to be able to do that, I need wages to go up," Paine said. "I need benefits to get better, stability to get stronger for all of our citizens so business does better."

Wages and health care will also be priorities under his administration, Evers said.

While Walker talks about 2.9 percent unemployment, a recent study shows that 870,000 can't afford the necessities, like food, rent, utilities and child care, Evers said. He said it's time for change so people don't have to move to Minnesota to get health care that costs half as much as it does in Wisconsin.

Following their appearance at the Thirsty Pagan, Evers and Mandela headed to Vintage Italian Pizza to meet with local educators.