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Duffy challenger kicks off campaign, wants to see Affordable Care Act expandedSubmitted: 12/10/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com


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."

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St. Germain's Shanna Stein committed herself to yoga when she was 18. 

She lost more than 100 ponds and gained a new view of her body image. 

Now 14 years later, she is using that new view to help others. 

"You set these goals and they're so far away and you're like someday," said Stein.

 "And now it's here and it's happening so it's just kind of surreal."

Because of her past, Stein is committed to providing a space to uplift people.

 She created a monthly wondrous woman class, providing a place for women to encourage each other's body in a positive way. 

"When I look at people coming into my studio and when I see their struggles and what they're going through I know because I've been there," said Stein.

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The Three Lakes Principal loaded bike after bike -- 29 on this trip -- into a trailer parked outside of Mel's Trading Post in Rhinelander Thursday afternoon.  The school district purchased 63 bikes to promote healthy habits in Three Lakes students.

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It appears Merrill City leaders won't punish two of its workers for taking items from a now demolished building on the Lincoln County Fair Grounds. 

After about a month-long investigation, Mayor Bill Bialecki sent out a statement Thursday morning on behalf of the common council with a decision.

It said, "The actions of City Administrator Dave Johnson and Fire Chief Dave Savone, although not in violation of city Ordinances or policies, were in poor judgment. They have been advised to follow City ordinances and policies to avoid improper conduct or the appearance of such conduct, as it reflects poorly on City Government."

Back in July, Savone got the okay from Johnson to help a friend take some shutters and tables from the 
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"I've stated from the beginning that there were no laws, ordinances or policies that were violated, and that is what the investigation showed," Johnson said. "So, I mean, how can I feel other than vindicated?"

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"There are little things that we are planting seeds and as those seeds are planted, later on others can help it grow as well," said UW Extension Youth Agent Nancy Ann Miller.

Throughout the day, the middle schoolers rotated through hands-on positive activities.
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This is the twelfth year the positivity conference joined at St. Germain Park.

Conference coordinators say the end goal is to leave the kids with a lifelong memory of the Northwoods.


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