WAUSAU, Wis. (WBAY) - US Senator Tammy Baldwin and state senator Leah Vukmir Baldwin got testy at times as they debate health care, Justice Kavanaugh, marijuana and other issues Saturday night in a televised debate by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.
In one particularly fierce exchange, Vukmir said Sen. Baldwin "didn't have the decency" to meet with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, after Baldwin claimed she asked the White House seven times for a meeting. "Are you that ineffective as a senator?" Vukmir asked her directly. "You are responsible for getting that done. You did not get that done."
"You're wrong about the process," Baldwin responded, saying she was one of a number of senators who were denied time with Kavanaugh. Baldwin added she has a 99.6 percent voting attendance record.
With non-binding referendums about marijuana in front of more than half of Wisconsin voters in November, the candidates were asked if they support removing marijuana's classification as a Schedule I drug.
Baldwin turned the question to marijuana's medical benefits, saying, "A doctor should have free rein to talk about all options for treatment."
"This is an issue that should be decided at the state level," Vukmir said. "We have a serious opioid addiction problem... I don't want to be in a position to be contributing to that problem, making it worse."
On several occasions, the panelists had to redirect the candidates to answer the question that had been asked.
When asked how they would protect Wisconsin farmers if they couldn't get immigrants to work in their fields, Vukmir discussed protecting the borders and reiterated "the wall must be built," while Baldwin talked about making sure immigration laws are fair.
On Friday, the candidates spoke about veterans issues separately at the Disabled American Veterans Fall Conference in Stevens Point.
"I want you to know my commitment to your care and the needs that you have will be met, and that's why I have been somebody that has fought so hard in Wisconsin to look within and find waste and there is waste in government," Vukmir told the gathering.
"The point is not to ignore the real pain that veterans may experience, either visible or invisible, but to provide as many alternatives as possible so that veterans can get safe care," Baldwin said in her address.