Candidate Questions and Answers: 31st Assembly District


Responses to the Wisconsin State Journal Candidate Questionnaire. The election is November 8. Republican candidate Ellen Schutt did not respond.


Brienne Brown

Family: Married with two children

Use: Small Business Owner/UW-W Instructor

Before elected mandate: Communal council of white water, 2019-2021, 2021-2023

Other public service: Founding Board Member of Whitewater Makerspace, 2012-2022; Library Council, 2013-2023; program director for the Whitewater Community Foundation, 2013-2016; founding board member of the Whitewater Grocery Cooperative, 2017-2022; appointment to the common council, 2017; Community Involvement and Cable Television Commission, 2018-2020; Plan and Architecture Review Commission, 2019-2023; Technology Park Council, 2020-2021; Equal Opportunities Commission, 2021-2023

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Education: BA in Journalism and MA in Health Education, University of Texas at Austin

Campaign Email: [email protected]

Assembly District 31

Questions and answersWhy are you the best candidate for this position?

I have years of experience in city commissions, as well as governance and budgeting experience in city council. I have founded, worked with, and written successful 501(c)3 grant proposals that fill gaps that government often fails to fill. I have a background in public health and community development as well as an in-depth knowledge of finding evidence-based solutions to problems.

What is the most important issue of this election and how would you approach it?

Reproductive health care: The government should not make pregnancies compulsory, as is the case in authoritarian regimes. A woman should have the freedom to decide how to use her body. Moreover, we have no safety net for women who have babies and the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. We need to make health care affordable and accessible before we put women at risk.

What changes, if any, would you make to the state’s electoral system?

I support nonpartisan redistricting reform. I support Assembly Bill 395 and Senate Bill 389, which build on Iowa’s successful 42-year-old redistricting process, which delegates boundary drawing to a state entity. non-partisan. I am listed with a common cause.

What are your priorities for the state’s $5 billion surplus?

Education and Public Safety: Our K-12 education system is underfunded, with more than 120 school districts under operational referendum. Two-thirds funding has been promised, and we should keep that promise. The UW system is underfunded and operates with an outdated funding formula. Our police and first responders are woefully underfunded and also need updated training, social workers and equipment.

Should abortion be legal in all cases, illegal in all cases, or something in between? Explain.

Abortion is health care. Abortion should be safe and legal. Doctors take an oath to “do no harm” and rarely perform a late-term abortion unless it is to save the mother’s life or to ensure she can have future children after discovering a non-viable fetus. The use of abortion as a medical procedure should be based on science and medical ethics, not religious views.

How should the state improve educational outcomes, particularly in the wake of the impact of the pandemic on student achievement?

Funding our schools: Children have plastic brains, and as long as they have a fully funded support system (English as a second language, social workers, psychiatrists, well-paid teachers), they can learn and catch up. As an instructor at UW-Whitewater, I know the most important thing in education is instilling curiosity and a love of learning. Teaching until the test has always been a bad idea.

How should the state address its workforce challenges, both in the public and private sectors?

Strengthen unions (including teachers’ unions), fund universal 4K, and make childcare affordable. COVID has killed people and influenced early retirements. Mothers left the labor market to care for children. We need a safety net that doesn’t punish women for having babies. Unions are needed for learning and training, as well as advocating for fair pay.

Was Michael Gableman’s investigation of the 2020 election a good use of taxpayer resources? What follow-up should there be?

The investigation was a waste of taxpayers’ time and money. Gableman admitted he didn’t even know how the electoral system worked. No evidence of his work was produced in court. Representative Vos should be reprimanded for continuing to pour taxpayers’ money into an “investigation” that was conducted by an unqualified and blatantly partisan employee.

Norma A. Roth