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Democrat Kelly Westlund launches campaign against Sean Duffy

Ashland city councilwoman and small business owner Kelly Westlund has announced her candidacy against U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston.

Speaking before a packed room at the Wausau Labor Temple, Kelly Westlund took a hard line against Duffy. The Ashland city councilwoman said if elected, one of her first priorities would be raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

"Sean Duffy refuses to support raising the minimum wage to a living wage for working people, and then he complains that he struggles to get by on his salary of $174,000 a year," said Westlund.

Westlund said she would make an issue out of Duffy's role in the events leading to the U.S. government shutdown.

"In this district there are a lot of federal workers, and when those federal workers weren't getting their paychecks, that's money that wasn't being reinvested in our local communities," said Westlund.

In a press release, Westlund's candidacy was slammed by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, which said she "would be nothing more than a blank check for Barack Obama."

Westlund told reporters that she would stand up to the president on the issue of social security cuts. "It's kind of absurd to me that Sean Duffy would talk about me being a blank check for President Obama when he's a blank check for big money interests like oil companies."

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate praised Westlund's candidacy, but didn't rule out the possibility of a primary.