Superstorm Sandy hit Superior Thursday night, or at least the topic did. It was part of the 7th Congressional District debate at UW-Superior.
About 100 people took in an hour of issues that largely reflected the national Republican and Democratic talking points. Former Democratic State Senator Pat Kreitlow says global warming can't be ignored. He says they have to balance industrial regulations with environmental consequences.
"Not using it to poison the water and the air and the land where we live because those represent jobs as well," he says. "So I think most people would agree: Gradual reduction of emissions over time is the right way to go."
Freshman Republican Congressman Sean Duffy agrees that emissions need to be curtailed but he's not convinced about the cause of global warming.
"We all agree there's climate change going on," he says. "We need some better studies to dictate whether it is manmade or not."
The pair also supported new iron ore mining legislation, but disagreed on how to do it. Kreitlow says the bill sponsored by Assembly Republicans that failed to pass this year would have hurt northern Wisconsin, the home of the iron-rich Penokee Range.
"There were too many people who wanted to rubber stamp a bill that was written by the people who could financially benefit most from it," he says. "Can you imagine a bill that was written just by the Sierra Club? Of course not."
Duffy didn't mention the Republican Assembly bill, but says an environmentally responsible mining bill should be passed.
"If we can do it in that fashion and we're complying with federal rules and regulations, let's build the darn mine," he says. "We need good paying jobs over there."
Federal mining regulations do not specify a permitting time limit. The Assembly bill set a limit of 360 days. Both candidates plan intensive touring across this 26 county district between now and election day.