GREEN BAY (WKOW) — Tim Michels has argued there’s nothing unusual about his campaign platforms differing from the way trade groups, which count his family’s construction business as members, have lobbied on issues such as gas taxes, the right to work and illegal immigration.
Michels responded to criticism on Tuesday while kicking off a statewide tour in Green Bay. This week, former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch launched a new announcement with former Governor Scott Walker, with whom she served for two terms between 2011 and 2018.
Kleefisch cited reports from the conservative newspaper, Wisconsin Right Now, which noted that Michels was on the board of directors of the Transportation Development Association, a group whose president had previously called for raising gas tax and fees. vehicle registration.
“While Rebecca and I fought for reform, Tim Michels’ company teamed up with union bosses and those pushing for a gas tax hike,” Walker said in the announcement.
Michels said the attack was misleading because Michels himself never pushed for gas tax increases or opposed right-to-work legislation, which Walker signed. in 2015.
“I’m a bit disappointed,” Michels said. “I thought Scott Walker would have done his own homework.”
Michels faced further criticism on Tuesday when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported while Michels was chairman of the board, the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association lobbied against a bill that would have denied government contracts for companies who hire illegal immigrants.
Michels, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, ran ads pledging to deny driver’s licenses, tuition assistance and “benefits” to illegal immigrants.
“Tim Michels will not take responsibility for his company’s campaign contributions during a higher gas taxKleefisch campaign manager Charles Nichols said in a statement on Tuesday.
Michels said that even in instances where he was the head of a group’s board, there were times when the positions taken by the group did not align with his views. Michels insisted in an interview on Tuesday that he did not let his personal beliefs influence the construction group’s lobbying efforts.
“Even when you’re in a leadership position, you talk to other members about what’s right and what’s wrong,” Michels said. “It’s not authoritarian when you run a trade group. You represent hundreds of different businesses.”
Wisconsin’s primary election is August 9. Michels said internal polls show he has a nine-point lead over Kleefisch. A Marquette Law poll released last month found the two in a virtual tie with Rep. Tim Ramthun a distant third. Business owner and former Marine Kevin Nicholson dropped out of the race earlier this month.