OSHKOSH – On Friday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) hosted a listening session with Wisconsin parents to hear their concerns about COVID-19 masking practices, critical race theory, gender identity curriculum and school board elections.
Watch the full listening session here. Excerpts can be found below.
On Biden’s Failure to Unify America:
“I'm looking forward to an interesting discussion. Just a little background, and in terms of how all this came about is I've been doing events as I travel around the state with parents who are concerned about what has been happening with their school systems. I was on the podium when President Biden was inaugurated. And what I think, doesn't come as a surprise, I didn't vote for President Biden, and there's a lot of his policies I don't agree with. But, when President Biden repeatedly said that his number one goal as President of the United States was to unify and heal this nation, I was thinking, I'll sign up for that, you know, absolutely, that is what we need to do. It is, as Lincoln said, ‘a house divided cannot stand,’ and the fact that we are so divided as a nation, it weakens us. It actually encourages our adversaries. And so, I think of all the policy things we have to do to fix problems in this nation, the first and foremost thing is we need to come together as a people. And it is just true after every tragedy whether it was a personal one, whether it's a regional one, hurricanes in Florida, tornadoes, floods, Midwest wildfires out West… Don't we always come together? Don't we send truckloads full of construction supplies and construction workers to help rebuild after 911? We came together as a nation. We didn't come together during the pandemic, it was politicized. And to a certain extent, what we'll be talking about here today is what parents witnessed due to the response to COVID but also as they're kind of looking over their children’s’ shoulders at what was being taught online. I think that's certainly what I've heard in previous sessions. I'm expecting to hear that today.”
On School Choice:
“I'm a huge supporter of school choice. We've taken the discipline of the marketplace out of two large areas of our economy – healthcare, where only $0.10 of the dollar is paid for by the consumer or the patient and education, which is largely a monopoly. You lose the benefit of guaranteeing the lowest possible price, the best possible quality, and the best possible level of customer service out of those two areas. Is it any wonder why those are the two areas of our economy that we are habitually dissatisfied with? So I'm a big supporter of school choice, particularly for children trapped in failing schools.”
On the Value of Work:
“This is what I was doing before I became a U.S. Senator. I was involved in education, trying to make sure that our children and their parents knew all their options. Listen, a four year degree is great, but what does it say about kids who don't want to get a four year degree? You don’t have to get one. There's no first or second class way to realize your full human potential. We need people to build things. There are great careers in manufacturing, construction, and the trades. All work has value.”
On Cancel Culture:
“I want to thank everybody for coming here today. I certainly want to thank the people that lent their voices and exercised their freedom of speech. I hope nobody pays any kind of price for exercising their freedom of speech. We need to discuss these things, nobody agrees one hundred percent with somebody else, but let me emphasize again the need to unify and heal this nation. The way you do it, is try and concentrate on what unifies us not exploit what divides us. Concentrate on the areas of agreement. It’s the only way we’re going to accomplish this. As a nation, as a state, as a community that’s what we have to do.”