OSHKOSH, WI -- While the eyes of the nation are on the presidential candidates, voters in Northeast Wisconsin are paying close attention to local races. One is the state Senate District 18 race between Republican Dan Feyen and Democrat Mark Harris.
On Thursday, the two met at All Saints Lutheran Church in Oshkosh to discuss their positions on issues with voters during a candidate forum, hosted by the Lutheran Office for Public Policy.
Senator Rick Gudex, who represented state Senate District 18, decided not to seek re-election this year, leaving a key seat open in a state senate Republicans currently control.
Harris (D-Oshkosh) is the Winnebago County Executive, while Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) is the 6th Congressional District Republican Party Chair.
At Thursday's forum, the two touched upon a variety of issues. Both candidates agreed they're concerned with the state's proposed transportation budget for 2017-2019. It includes delaying construction on State Highway 23 from Fond du Lac to Sheboygan.
They also said there is a worker shortage in their district, and part of fixing that is better education funding.
Keeping workers in state starts with the UW System, said Harris, because many students come from out of state to attend school.
"If we allow the University [of Wisconsin] System to suffer and not be competitive with other Midwestern universities, we'll actually have a bigger worker shortage and a bigger crisis than we would otherwise have," Harris said.
Preparing skilled workers can also help the shortage, according to Feyen.
"We're one of the strongest manufacturing districts in our entire state, and a lot of them are looking for skilled labor," said Feyen. "They're trying to grow, but they can't grow if they don't have the people to do it. So we need to work with our business schools, tech schools, and high schools to get the right programs in place."
NBC26 will have in-depth profiles of each candidate closer to Election Day on November 8th.