Pfaff and Pocan Visit UW-Platteville Campus

State Senator and U.S. Representative touring UW campuses in District 3


Morgan Fuerstenberg graphic

State Senator Brad Pfaff and U.S. Representative Mark Pocan visited campus in the Platteville East Room in the Markee Pioneer Student Center on Monday, Oct. 3, as part of a series of UW System campus tours in Congressional District 3.

Wisconsin’s Congressional District 3 contains a total of 18 counties: Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Grant, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, Richland, Trempealeau, Vernon and Wood.

Democrat Ron Kind has represented District 3 since he was elected in 1997. He announced last August that he would not seek re-election. Rep. Pfaff is the Democratic candidate and Derrick van Orden is the Republican choice.

The series of campus visits by Rep. Pfaff and Rep. Pocan began with UW-La Crosse earlier on Monday; later that evening, Pfaff and Pocan visited UW-Platteville. On Wednesday, the pair visited UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stevens Point, UW-River Falls and UW-Stout.

Rep. Pfaff opened the conversation on Tuesday with an explaination of why he is visiting campuses. “If you take Platteville, La Crosse, River Falls, Stout, Eau Claire and Stevens Point, we have well over 40,000 undergraduates … That’s how important it is. It’s your voice, and it’s your ideas.”

Rep. Pfaff and Rep. Pocan then opened the floor to hear about some concerns from students.

Student Senator Ben Behlke shared feedback he had heard from other students regarding the student loan debt crisis, student veteran assistance, federal funding for TRIO and Student Support Services, reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and mental health resources.

Rep. Pfaff shared concerns regarding resource and financial security for college students, explaining, “When we were at UW-La Crosse this morning, I learned that, like me, when (Rep. Pocan) got through college, Pell Grants helped him get through. The cost of an affordable higher education is so very, very important.”

Rep. Pocan, who serves on the Education and Labor Committee, added that “We’re trying to make sure that if you’re smart enough and capable enough, there should be no barrier to get a university education, especially in the UW System.”

“The TRIO program, too, is super important,” Rep. Pocan added. “We’ve put a lot of extra funding into it for people to go to a university. I’ve visited a lot of TRIO programs in my district … and we’re concerned that if (Ron Kind’s) seat goes to a Republican, that we won’t keep the majority (of these programs) by subtraction.”

Another student mentioned concerns about issues regarding military veteran suicide, homelessness rates and keeping the Department of Defense for actions in Afghanistan.

“That’s a good question. I think we need to keep the Department of Defense accountable, and I think we need proper oversight,” Rep. Pfaff responded. “We need to make sure, as well, that we provide the resources for current enlisted members as well as for retirees and veterans. That’s mental health, physical health, job training opportunities and housing assistance.”

Other concerns raised by participants included broadband internet access in rural areas and how community members may interface with their representatives to bring essential infrastructure to their communities.

The elections for the U.S. House of Representatives will occur on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Voting is available on campus in Ullsvik Hall. Proof of residency and a photo ID are required to register to vote. Proof of residency may be printed from PASS. Student IDs are not valid photo IDs for voter registration, but a UW-Platteville Voter Identification Card can be obtained for free at the Campus Card Office located in the lower level of the MPSC.