RHINELANDER - With only two days until the elections politicians are taking every opportunity to reach out to voters.
The 7th Congressional Race is now the most expensive in the state.
Republican Representative Sean Duffy and Democratic challenger Pat Kreitlow have jointly spent more than $8 million on their campaigns.
In an area where manufacturing companies provide most of the jobs, ensuring small businesses succeed is a top priority for 7th district candidates.
Democratic candidate Pat Kreitlow "Small business owners around here deserve relief in a couple of different ways. One it's small middle class families where those small business are who should see tax relief by extending tax reliefs for 98% of Americans but also there should be tax credits for businesses that hire workers."
With Environmental Protection Agency regulations like Boiler MACT which requires paper mills to reduce pollution emissions--some small businesses struggle to stay successful.
Republican candidate Sean Duffy said, "We've passed over 30 jobs bills that have taken the weight of government off our small businesses like manufacturing and our farmers. It's important we let them focus more on running their businesses and expanding, growing, and hiring people instead of dealing with government, the red tape, rules, and regulations."
In the Northwoods, unemployment teeters close to 8%. Putting people back to work is what Congressman Duffy says is the only way to fix our deficit.
"The most important thing we can do is grow the economy. There's not a correlation with raising tax rates and bringing in more revenue. There's a correlation with the economy and putting more people back to work. When more people are working and making more wages more money comes into the federal government," said Duffy.
"Deficit reduction is only going to come with a balanced approach. You can't tax your way to prosperity. You can't cut your way to prosperity. Mega millionaires need to pay their fair share and make sure they're not paying a lower rate than hard working families around her. But you also have to go after the wasteful spending," said Kreitlow.
Growing up Kreitlow says his family struggled. He waited in line with his mother for food stamps. And was the first in his family to attend college. He says his story shows he's more in touch with hard working Americans.
Kreitlow said "My story is much more like there's. My work ethic is like theirs. We're very practical folks around here."
As a father of six and someone who grew up logging in Wisconsin, Duffy says he's more in touch with voters than his opponent.
Duffy said, "I've been open and accessible making sure I'm listening to voters whether it's my town hall at least once every year per county I've done more than that with coffees with your congressman."
Kreitlow and Duffy will continue traveling around the state reaching out to voters. Both candidates say they're confident going into Tuesday's race. »
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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