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Sen. Johnson shares fiscal call to action

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, left, speaks with Bruce Vrooman of Superior, right, following a town hall meeting Friday at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical Center in Superior. (Maria Lockwood)

There was a lot U.S. Senator Ron Johnson didn’t say at his first town hall meeting in Superior on Friday. He focused on facts to lay out the country’s financial troubles.

“Frequently what I tell people, is the analogy would be I’m trying to grab America by the lapel and go ‘do you see what we’re doing to our kids? Do you see what’s happening?’” Johnson said. “We’ve got to be aware of this so we can actually take action to prevent, really, some pretty bad things happening in the future.”

He discussed the state of the budget, which if unchecked, could boost the deficit to more than $125 trillion in the next 30 years. The key to reversing it, Johnson said, is robust economic growth.

“You have to make Superior or Wisconsin or American an attractive place for business

risk-taking, investment, expansion, job creation,” Johnson said. That includes keeping energy prices low, make the tax structure more competitive with the rest of the world and not overdo regulations that could restrain economic activity.

Sustainable high wages will come about when businesses compete for labor, he said, not because the government mandates it.

Not everyone subscribed to the senator’s analysis.

“The Republican philosophy doesn’t work,” said Terry Mireau of Superior. “Consumers are the job creator. When you and I have money in our pocket, we create jobs. … The bulk of the population has to have liquid. That’s the job creator.”

Don Johnson of Superior agreed with the senator that tax loopholes need to be closed.

Sen. Johnson said he would like to get rid of the tax code along with loopholes, special treatment and deductions. Loopholes exist, he said, because the tax rate is so high. The government needs to raise revenue it needs without doing economic harm. That would require a budget cap.

“To me that’s the real key, limiting the size of government,” the senator said. “You have to obviously start taking a look at these programs, and you have to start making adjustments for them so they are themselves solved.”

Residents appreciated the visit.

“It’s fantastic to hear from him in person,” said Alissa LaValley of Superior, who has emailed the senator and his staff and gotten good response. “I think it helps us feel a little more connected.”

Bruce Vrooman of Superior got to the meeting late. He spoke of his son Jeremy, a U.S.

Army staff sergeant who died serving his country in Iraq.

“I lost my son; it’ll be six years in July,” Vrooman said. “It tears your guts out and it makes you so angry. Iraq was well on its way to being a democracy for the Middle East anyway, they were well on their way to peace and this president squandered it and wasted the lives of my son and others.”

A status of forces agreement or some sort of cease fire or truce should have been in

place before the U.S. troops withdrew, Vrooman said. At this point, he said, “I don’t know how you fix it.”

But he still felt it was important to attend the town hall meeting.

“You always hear people say that you know, your vote doesn’t matter, they don’t care. Well, if you don’t get involved in talking about, let them know what you’re thinking and find out what they’re thinking, you’re right, you don’t count,” Vrooman said. “As long as you get out there and talk to these people, your congressman and your senator, and not even them necessarily, their staff, and be civil to them, they want to know what you have to say.”

The Power Point presentation Sen. Johnson gave at the meeting is available online at