'Here & Now' Highlights: Charles Franklin, Lance Bagstad, Bobby Peterson, Doug La Follette

Here's what guests on the Aug. 19, 2022 episode said about post-primary election and issue polling, teacher and staff shortages at schools, Medicare cost-savings in the Inflation Reduction Act and what Wisconsin's long-serving Secretary of State said about why he should be re-elected.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

August 22, 2022

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A split screen shows Frederica Freyberg and Doug La Follette in different locations.

Frederica Freyberg and Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

General election candidates in races for governor and U.S. Senate in Wisconsin are off and running toward Nov. 8 – a post-primary Marquette University Law School Poll has the Democratic candidates ahead, but just narrowly in the governor’s race. Just ahead of a new school year, there are still hundreds of teacher vacancies– about 70% of the state’s school districts are considered rural, and a local superintendent explains how staffing shortages can be even more acute in these areas. A public interest attorney details how the federal Inflation Reduction Act reduces prices for people on the Medicare program that includes drug coverage, including capping insulin at $35 per month. In the first of two interviews with the candidates for Secretary of State, incumbent Doug La Follette said he hates the idea his Republican challenger is campaigning on to give election oversight to the office.


Charles Franklin
Director, Marquette Law School Poll

  • A Marquette Law School Poll released Aug. 17 and conducted immediately after the Aug. 9 primary has incumbent Democratic Governor Tony Evers up two points on his Republican challenger Tim Michels, by 45% to 43%. Michels rejects these results and said he believes he’s polling five to 10 points ahead of Evers.
  • Franklin: “Well, I stand behind our poll. First of all, we’re transparent. All of our questions, all of our results, all of our methodology are online. Anyone is welcome to look at it. And believe it or not, believe it or refute it. But campaigns are absolutely free to say whatever they want about the polling results. So I welcome Mr. Michaels’ comments as I welcome the comments of any candidate. But I do my business and I’m transparent about it and upfront about it.”
  • In the U.S. Senate race, the poll shows Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes at 51% to 44% over incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson. The two-term senator has weathered this kind of polling before and then won.
  • Franklin: “Let me point out that Barnes was leading by two before and now by seven. He also got a five point bounce from the primaries. So both the Republican and the Democratic primary winners benefited, I think, from their primaries. As for Senator Johnson, yes, he was behind in 2016, but his campaign steadily improved over the spring and then closed the gap with Feingold throughout the fall. So that’s a great example of an effective campaign that accomplished its goals. Now, the question is, can he do it again?”


Lance Bagstad
Superintendent, School District of Arcadia

  • The Arcadia school district in Trempealeau County is outside any major population area. However, its superintendent said new college graduates seeking teaching jobs prefer the amenities of a city, making it hard to attract new teachers to the area. Arcadia has its teaching positions filled, but not all are certified and some students will be taught by long-term substitute teachers.
  • Bagstad: “I’ve been a district administrator now in my fifth year. I was a principal for 12 years prior to that. I have never seen shortages like this. You know, there’s always been certain areas where there’s been shortages — for example, special education, career and technical education areas, world languages. But we’re now seeing those same shortages hit us at the elementary level, as well as those areas I just mentioned. For example, we had three or four openings at our elementary [school] this year — we had less than 15 applicants for our positions. We had a 4K position open — we only had two applicants for that position. So that’s really unusual. In the past elementary positions, you’d get 40, 50, 60, even sometimes 100 applicants. They’re just not out there at this time.”


Bobby Peterson
Executive director, ABC for Health

  • The Inflation Reduction Act makes changes for Medicare Part D recipients by capping their out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs at $2,000 per month and capping their price for insulin at $35 per month.
  • Peterson: “It’s a big change. I think it helps to reduce some of the costs that people are facing. I think it’s important to remember, though, that nothing in health care is simple and nothing in the Inflation Reduction Act with health care is simple either. So it’s important that we distinguish that this is primarily going to be helping people that have Medicare Part D coverage. So that’s a subset of Medicare folks. It’s going to be folks that are getting Medicare Part D, and a lot of these changes don’t unfold for a couple of years or so. The $2,000 cap doesn’t start until 2025.
  • Peterson said the price cap on insulin for people on Medicare Part D is a big deal because $35 per month copay represents a major cost savings when costs of the life-saving drug can run into the hundreds of dollars per month.
  • Peterson: “That one starts right away in 2023, so that’s important for people that need insulin because it was getting really bad.”


Doug La Follette
Wisconsin Secretary of State and 2022 Democratic candidate

  • The incumbent Wisconsin Secretary of State, a Democrat, has held the position for more than four decades and he wants to hold it for another four years. His Republican challenger, Amy Loudenbeck, wants to give the office oversight over elections. La Follette said he thinks that’s a “horrible idea” and added, “Wisconsin needs to keep the independent nature of our election administration.” La Follette described why he believes he can beat his challenger in the November election.
  • La Follette: “Because I’m going to campaign and I have been elected many times. I think people trust me. I’ve been around a while. They know me, they trust me, and this becomes particularly important in this election because, because as I’ve said, it’s all about the integrity of the election process. And when I say what I’ve said this evening about the importance of keeping partisan politics out of the election process, they will listen. They’ll believe Doug La Follettee. There’s a lot of lies. There’s a lot of fake facts going on now the last few years in politics. But people I think trust Doug La Follette to be a straight shooter and tell it like it is. That’s what I’m going to do.”


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