'Here & Now' Highlights: Sen. Mary Felzkowski, Jennifer Dorow

Here's what guests on the February 10, 2023 episode said about remediating PFAS contamination across Wisconsin and running in the 2023 election for Wisconsin Supreme Court.

By Frederica Freyberg | Here & Now

February 13, 2023

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Mary Felzkowski and Frederica Freyberg sit in chairs in an office with U.S. and Wisconsin flags, a bookcase with glass doors, an armoire with mirrored doors and a door in the background and a desk with file folders and coffee mugs in the foreground.

Frederica Freyberg and state Sen. Mary Felzkowski (Credit: PBS Wisconsin)

Republican State Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, discussed the possibility of spending part of Wisconsin’s budget surplus to clean-up PFAS pollution across the state. Four candidates are running in the Feb. 21 primary election for Wisconsin Supreme Court — in the fourth of a series of interviews with these candidates, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow discussed running as a conservative.

State Sen. Mary Felzkowski

  • Represented by Felzkowski, Senate District 12 is home to the town of Stella, a rural community in Oneida County where tests on private wells have shown the highest levels of PFAS contamination in Wisconsin. About 50 households are being supplied with bottled water, but as a member of the Joint Finance Committee, Felzkowski would like fellow budget-writers to use some of the projected $7.1 billion state surplus to help remediate the “forever chemicals” contaminating drinking water in her district and around the state.
  • Felzkowski: “I do believe that any type of remediation will be a public/private partnership, but we have a chemical that was developed, studied by the FDA and the EPA, and given a stamp of approval by the government, but said this is a good chemical — go ahead and use it. We use it in medical devices. We use it in food. We use it in waterproofing or clothing. We use firefighting foam with the Rhinelander airport is being sued right now because they’re saying that they are one of the contributors to the PFAS contamination. Yes, they are, but they were mandated by the FAA to utilize it and have it on hand. So are we really going to bankrupt a company that was using a government-approved chemical? And told that it’s safe to use? If we do that, I think they can be part of the solution, but I don’t think they’re the sole solution.”


Jennifer Dorow
Candidate, Wisconsin Supreme Court

  • Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Dorow is one of two conservative candidates campaigning for the seat ahead of the Feb. 21 primary election. Two liberal candidates are also in the running. THe April 4 general election will determine the ideological balance of the court. Dorow described her judicial philosophy.
  • Dorow: “When a judge or justice inserts their own political agenda, policy views are personal opinions on what the law should be — that’s my definition of legislating from the bench. I say that because it’s the role of a judge to apply the law as written to the facts of the cases that come before us, to never prejudge those cases, to be fair and impartial. In our government, we have a system that’s set up a very clear separation of powers. Our legislative figures write — our assemblymen, our senators. They make the law. That’s where the policy of the state is set. And then judges interpret that when called upon to do that. And so it’s very important that judges act more like umpires. Right — we don’t make the law, we just decide the law. And if you think of the analogy to baseball, right — just calling the balls and strikes — not the pitcher, not the catcher, but just calling the balls and strikes.”
  • Here & Now senior political reporter Zac Schultz is conducting interviews with each of the four candidates running for Wisconsin Supreme Court leading up to the Feb. 21 primary. Two candidates will then advance to the April 4 general election, with the winner determining the ideological balance of the court.


Watch new episodes of Here & Now at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays.

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