WISCONSIN (WQOW) – Longtime Democratic Congressional incumbent for Wisconsin’s 3rd District, Ron Kind, was challenged on the virtual debate stage Monday morning by Republican challenger Derrick Van Orden.
The event, moderated by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Ezra Wall, covered a variety of topics during the hour-long debate; but one of the main discussions centered around the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked about key factors in managing the virus, Rep. Kind stressed the importance of an elected official leading by example, saying that without an image of safe social distancing and mask-wearing, a community is less likely to adhere to pandemic health guidelines.
“The positivity rate is skyrocketing, the hospitalization rate is skyrocketing, our death rate here in Wisconsin is going up,” Kind said. “And it starts with the lack of leadership coming out of The White House and those running for office like my opponent, who still refuses to adhere to the basic medical guidelines in order to keep each other safe.”
When asked the same question, Van Orden spoke on critical vaccine development before discussing the necessity of finding a balance between public safety and personal freedoms. While defending himself against kind’s allegations, Van Orden stated he’s “engaging with American citizens at their level of comfort”, before stressing that in order to tackle the pandemic, a representative needs to interact with impacted communities.
“It’s incredibly important during a time of crisis to make sure that everyone has the most pertinent information available,” Van Orden said. “And that’s what we’re doing for our folks, we’re gathering information from the constituents here in the 3rd District who, quite frankly, I have run into more people who have never seen Ron Kind over 24 years that he’s been in office.”
When Kind laughed in response, Van Orden was quick to address the Democrat, saying, “I don’t know why that’s funny, Ron.”
During the debate, both candidates were also asked about police reform, health care, election integrity, immigration, support for minority communities, and the state of the country under the Trump administration.