Green Bay, WI (WFRV) Now to the State's 30th Senate District, where long-time incumbent Democrat Dave Hansen is facing Republican political newcomer John Macco. Local Five's Kris Schuller sits down with both men -- who are in the midst of a very high-profile race.
Ask Dave Hansen how many doors he's knocked on in the past 12 years - and he'll tell you not nearly enough. "We want people to know we're out there and we will work real hard for them," said State Senator Dave Hansen.
It's the endless hours Hansen has spent meeting voters in his district - that's helped him remain in Madison since 2000. "It's all about being at events."
Now he's running again for another 4-year term in office, after surviving a recall election July 2011 - for his role in protesting Gov. Walker's Act 10. It was a decision that made national headlines.
"The last year and a half has been tough," said Hansen. "But for everyone that's unhappy with me, you have those that have been very supportive."
His opponent - a political newcomer named John Macco.
"I'm new to the game," said John Macco. "People don't know a lot about me."
Perhaps not in politics - but the Macco name is known in the business world. Once president of Macco Floor Centers - he opened Macco Financial Group in 2004 and runs it with his sons. "I'm standing on the shoulders of a lot of people to do what I'm doing," said Macco.
Macco says he decided to run after serving on the board of Old Main Street and working with the state to push through improvements. That experience got him thinking of what else he could do....if elected to serve in public office. "We sat down to think about what we could do to make the pie bigger in Green Bay and we thought how to do it regionally."
Both men are long time residents. Both say they come from humble beginnings and both are fighting for a job that pays roughly $50,000 a year. But you'd never guess that by the money being spent on their campaigns.
According to both candidates, roughly $1.5 to $2 million has been spent on this race on all political ads - funded by outside groups and both campaigns. This race is one of several that could decide which political party holds the majority in the Senate for the next two years. Both men say the spending is over the top.
"8 out of 10 people in the country don't believe we should be spending that kind of money on a campaign," said Hansen.
"It's goofy and if I had my druthers I would wish we could get the third party money off the table on both sides," said Macco.
Both men say the biggest single issue facing the state is job creation. Macco say he supports a mining bill that could put thousands of people to work.
"This is a win-win in the state - we need to figure out a way to do that and I think we can."
Hansen says he will back funding for manufacturing - which provides good paying jobs. "We have to let our young people know that being in manufacturing is ok - welders -diesel mechanics make good money."
And as they debate the issues and knock on doors as they head into the home stretch of a very long political season, both men say voters are telling them one a very similar message. it's time to end the partisan politics.
"People are profoundly fatigued on both sides," said Macco.
" We've got to find a way to be less polarized." said Hansen.