Candidate Q&A: Secretary of State Democratic Primary
As incumbent Secretary of State Doug La Follette seeks re-election, Madison Ald. Arvina Martin hopes to take his place as the Democratic candidate in Tuesday’s primary.
Doug La Follette
Address: 1211 Rutledge St., Madison
Job: Secretary of state
Prior elected office: Wisconsin senator
Other public service: Non-governmental organizations
Education: B.S., Marietta College; M.S., Stanford University; PhD., Columbia University
Address: 4901 Waukesha St., Madison
Family: Daughter, Nico, 9
Job: Madison City Council member
Prior elected office: Madison City Council, 2017-present
Other public service: Board member for Wisconsin Indian Education Association, 2005-2007; board member NARAL Pro-Choice WI 2012-present; secretary, chair and vice chair, Democratic Party of Wisconsin American Indian Caucus, 2012-present
Education: Bachelor of arts, Native American Studies, Dartmouth College, 2002
Website or email address: www.arvinaforwi.com
True or false: The secretary of state’s office could be eliminated tomorrow and no one would notice.
La Follette: False.
Martin: False. They may not notice immediately. But over time, as we’ve seen, the lack of accountability over our elections will continue to be apparent. I’m not arguing for the status quo. We need a strong champion and watchdog for our democracy. Our election system is under assault by corporate interests and foreign actors and we must have an aggressive response.
In what way would you seek to make the office of secretary of state more relevant to state residents?
La Follette: It is very important to restore the duties to the office that were wrongly taken over by governors. This will make Wisconsin like the rest of the nation and easier for people to do business in our state.
Martin: I will push to return election administration to the secretary’s office. If duties are not returned to the office, I can still use the position as a bully pulpit to encourage civic participation. I will speak out to empower Wisconsinites with the information they need to cast their ballots.
What qualities do you bring to the job that your opponent does not?
La Follette: I am the only candidate who has the experience and knowledge to work with the governor and Legislature to restore these responsibilities. And continue to provide good service to the public.
Martin: I bring an understanding of the problems many Wisconsinites face when trying to make their voices heard at the polls. Too many roadblocks have been established to prevent voter turnout, and to dilute different points of view. I have experience getting information to voters in order to make sure their voices are heard.