Tony KurtzTony Kurtz announced in April that he would be challenging Representative Ron Kind in the race for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District. Kurtz is a decorated former helicopter pilot and served in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Kurtz retired from the U.S. Army in 2005 after 20 years of service. He currently runs a small business that teaches military personnel to investigate accidents and he also has a farm in Western Wisconsin.

Kurtz lives in Prairie du Chien with his family. While this is his first run into elective politics, Kurtz says the reason he is running is because he’s frustrated with things in Washington.

“People are tired of career politicians who say all the right things, but then blame others for the gridlock and lack of results. We need to get more non-career politicians into Washington. I am also tired of these games and am ready to get some work done.” Kurtz says his first legislative priority if elected would be to prioritize the issues. He says the things that need to be addressed are job growth, a true healthcare reform, and the deficit reduction.

Job growth is an immediate need to revitalize the economy, says Kurtz. However, there are things that make it harder for business owners to hire people. “There is over-regulation on everything and it’s holding our economy in limbo. Business owners want to hire, but the over abundance of regulations make it almost impossible for them.” Kurtz agrees that there needs to be rules set but right now the rules are out of control. He also says manufacturing jobs need to be brought back to the USA and there needs be a change in attitude for trade jobs. “People need to understand that it is OK to be a mechanic, a welder and many other trade occupations because these are good paying jobs.” The other thing that needs to help with job growth, Kurtz says, is a true healthcare reform.

Kurtz says he agrees that the previous healthcare system needed reform, but that what Americans were handed was very one sided and convoluted. “It’s [Health insurance] a ‘one size fits all’ type of plan and our other insurances don’t do that. We pay for what we want and not for anything else.” Kurtz believes competition is good for health insurance companies, and it would be better if people got to choose what they wanted, and not be directed through the exchange to only one or two choices. “Strong conservative strategies like interstate insurance markets to underwrite those with pre-existing conditions and economic incentives are reasonable and workable remedies to Obamacare.” 

Kurtz said the reason deficit reduction is a major priority is because the many people he’s talked to say it’s their major concern “They know this debt, $17 trillion, isn’t sustainable. We need to have incentives in place to encourage departments to save money rather than spend it.” Kurtz added that Western Wisconsin needs a new voice and perspective to tackle the growing fiscal crisis gripping the country. “It’s common sense. You can’t spend more than you earn and if elected, I will fight for a balanced budget and sound deficit reduction.”

One thing that Kurtz is passionate about is veteran’s rights. “We need to have accountability. We need to keep a light on these issues, especially when it leads to scandals such as the VA Hospital in Arizona and other hospitals like it. Unfortunately, there are many other VA hospitals that have waiting lists and veterans shouldn’t have to be referred to other places to find care.” He says that the bureaucracy needs to have better leadership and government needs to do more than “paying lip service” to veterans. Kurtz also wants to make things easier for veterans returning from their tour to be able to find a job and get the help that they need. 

Kurtz faces an August primary with two other Republican candidates: Ken Van Doren and Karen Mueller. He has already earned endorsements from former candidate Chris Anderson, and former State Senator Dan Kapanke.

WRJC will be interviewing other candidates and Representative Ron Kind later this month.

WRJC is doing a previewing series for candidates for upcoming elections. This is the second of many candidate profiles.