WAUSAU - In the 2012 elections, the campaign for Rep. Sean Duffy's 7th congressional district seat become the most expensive congressional race in Wisconsin history.
Duffy cruised to a win over Democratic challenger Pat Kreitlow.
Heading into 2014, Duffy has a new challenger, and she opened her campaign with a punch.
"Too many people feel that Sean Duffy isn't willing to listen to our concerns, to work on our behalf, or to vote in a way that represents our best interests," said Ashland Democrat Kelly Westlund.
Westlund came out swinging on the first day of her bid to unseat Republican Congressman Sean Duffy Tuesday in Wausau.
"Unlike Sean Duffy, I plan to do more than ask for your vote. I plan to earn it," she told supporters.
Westlund slammed Duffy time and time again to open her campaign.
"I need to make sure I can draw the contrasts and show people how I'm different from Sean Duffy. But I think that it's not necessarily anti-Sean Duffy to tell the truth and say that he says one thing in the district and votes another way when he gets back to Washington, D.C.," she told reporters after the event.
If she's elected, Westlund will make a huge political jump.
She currently serves on the Ashland City Council.
By contrast, the sprawling 7th Congressional District covers roughly the northern third of Wisconsin.
While attacking Duffy for his actions in office, she said she will wait until she's heard from more people in northern Wisconsin roundtable events to form her own specific policy ideas.
"Those are going to help me solidify some policy positions, and at that point, I'll be able to present some positive alternatives to what Sean Duffy has to offer," Westlund said.
But she took a strong stand Tuesday on a fairly controversial issue - the Affordable Care Act.
"I'd like to see it expanded. I'd like to see it expanded, I'd like to see negotiation over drug prices, I would like to see a public option, frankly," she said.
Westlund said Tuesday she's most interested in presenting the positive vision for the future of the congressional district during her campaign.
But she started by targeting Duffy, and the Republican Party of Wisconsin labeled her Tuesday as "nothing more than a blank check for Barack Obama and a rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi's backward agenda."
MINOCQUA - Channeling your child's energy can be quite a task. The Family Resource Connection from Children's Hospitals of Wisconsin has found a way to combine music and movement to stimulate your child's development.
The Music Garden program is designed to awaken your child's imagination while celebrating the remarkable bond shared between you.
IRON COUNTY - Humans aren't equipped for single-digit and sub-zero temperatures, but huskies definitely are.
During cold snaps like this week, dog sled drivers can't pass up an opportunity to take the dogs out running—dog sledding or skijoring.
MJ Slone and Chad McGrath in Springstead have 11 huskies at their home. All the dogs are from shelters or families that can't take care of them anymore.
"It was often a sled driver with a team who had maybe 30, 40, 50 dogs and one dog wouldn't fit the team anymore or teams so we would get it," said McGrath.
For Slone and McGrath, taking in dogs started more than 20 years ago.
"Well, I brought home a pup from Alaska because I had worked up there doing some consulting work," said Slone. "My idea was to skijor, which was a fairly new thing in 1990 in the U.S….And then I realized dogs don't like to run alone, so I got another dog….and then I got another dog."
These dogs aren't competitive —they're mostly for recreational racing. Slone and McGrath host outdoor groups and school kids for sled dog racing throughout the winter. They encourage people to get out and try these sports during the winter, even if it's bitterly cold.
"It's the partnership with the dogs," Slone said. "They bring an enthusiasm to your life that you just can't get….They are always happy to see you."
MILWAUKEE - Democratic Party leaders say Milwaukee was chosen to host the presidential debate because of the state's battleground status in the Midwest.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she expects Democrats to do well this fall in Wisconsin considering the position of the Republican field, which she says is far to the right.
WAUSAU - Wausau Police want to find a convicted dog killer now accused of prostitution.
They're looking for 23-year-old Sean Janas. In 2014, Janas was convicted on two felonies for poisoning her boyfriend's dog. She spent a year and a half in prison after she was convicted in the death of the German shepherd-Labrador mix.
Last month, an undercover officer got in touch with Janas, who was advertising as an escort on the website Backpage.
EAGLE RIVER - Jewelry, flowers, dinner, and chocolate all rank high for traditional Valentine's Day gifts. If your sweetheart has a sweet tooth, there are many choices.
"Chocolate is probably number one," says Debbie Preuhs, owner of Country Store of Eagle River. "Then turtles and also fudge. But chocolates wins out. Our busiest days are those two days before Valentine's Day and then Valentine's Day."
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