Three announce plans to run against Ryan

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JANESVILLE — Three candidates have lined up to oppose Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for his First Congressional District seat.

The Republican congressman and former vice presidential candidate has held the seat for the last 17 years and will be difficult for anyone to defeat.

Three newcomers to politics have lined up to take up the challenge of facing Ryan — two Democrats, Tom Breu of Janesville and Ryan Solen of Mount Pleasant, and a Libertarian, Jason Lebeck of Janesville.

Breu, is a married, father of seven, who retired from his 20-year plumbing engineer career at Erdman Company in the fall of 2014 to campaign against Ryan. Breu said he got involved in politics by chance.

"I was a low information voter," Breu said.

Breu and his son attended a debate at a Janesville school to fulfill his son's Boy Scout of America merit badge requirement. Ryan was a member of the debate.

"I remember walking to the car thinking, "this is so wrong.," Breu recalled.

Since then Breu has been involved with the Democratic Party for five years. He wants to focus on health care and hammer in on Wall Street. Breu said the pendulum swing went from labor to big business and now its swinging back.

Solen is also entering politics for the first time. He is a husband and father to four children. He currently serves as the Wisconsin Democratic Party Veteran's Caucus secretary/treasurer. 

The Iraq War veteran said he chose to run because he kept seeing the same things over and over again.

"Shuffling money around doesn't fix problems," Solen said. "I wanted a change I could be a part of, I want things to work better than they were."

Solen said his two main issues would be the economy and health care.

"I think if we could get a grasp on those two items, we could get people feeling better about the county as a whole," he said.

Solen supports a single-payer health care system. While he said the national debt needs to be addressed.

"We're spending possibly two-and-a-half times what we pay for education on just interest," he said. "We need to balance the budget and clear that debt."

Lebeck, is married and a father. He currently works at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as a computer technician.

He said he decided to run because the voice for moderates and independents didn't seem to be represented in the other choices.

"Both sides of the aisle seem to want bigger government," Lebeck said. "We have a very polarizing two-party system, but there's a lot of people who don't identify with either party and I wanted to give a option to those people."

Lebeck said he would like to restore the federal government to its role in the constitution. He would like to bring the troops home.

"We need to allow conflicts in certain regions to play out without our interference," Lebeck said. "As we get our military presence out of the public sphere, I hope that opens up avenues with peaceful trade."

Lebeck also wants to stop the war on drugs, which he said costs taxpayers money and separates families.

Meanwhile, Congressman Mark Pocan, D-Madison, who represents the Second Congressional District will face no challenger in the Democratic primary election. Peter Theron, a Republican, has indicated he will challenge Pocan in the general election. Theron is no stranger to the race having faced Pocan during the 2014 election and Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in 2008. Pocan was elected in 2012.

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