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On the record with Rebecca Kleefisch: An NBC 26 exclusive interview

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Posted at 3:52 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 18:00:55-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — In an NBC 26 exclusive interview, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch discusses her views on the current and future state of education, health, crime, and elections in Wisconsin.

"I am a proven reformer. The best indication of what you will do in the future is what you've done in the past," Kleefisch said.

Kleefisch served as Wisconsin's lieutenant governor from 2011 to 2019 under the Scott Walker administration. She is now one of three Republicans running to be Wisconsin's 47th governor.

Kleefisch said education reform is needed to get kids back on track after months of virtual learning.

"We need to put parents back in charge of their own children's educations. It's why we need to have dollars actually following a child's education and not buildings and bureaucrats; why we need true universal school choice across Wisconsin; and it's why we need transparency now in curriculum and ban the teaching of critical race theory."

Kleefisch said she wouldn't require students or staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

While Kleefisch said she's fully vaccinated herself, she said she would remove vaccine mandates and encourage individual choice when it comes to getting the vaccine.

"You can't force someone to choose between their livelihood, putting dinner on the table, their job, and a medical treatment they don't feel comfortable taking," Kleefisch said.

When it comes to reducing crime, Kleefisch said she'd put 1,000 more cops on Wisconsin streets.

"I’m going to use the Wisconsin State Patrol where violent crime is surging and we don’t have enough police recruits," Kleefisch said. "I’m going to use the bully pulpit of the governor’s office to back the badge, and we’re going to do true bail and sentencing reform so we stop letting bad guys back onto the streets.”

According to Green Bay police, the biggest jump in violent crime is shots fired cases. A spokesperson with the department said they saw a 35% increase in shots fired cases from 2020 to 2021, investigating 81 of those cases last year.

Kleefisch said she'd use some money from the state's $2.9 billion budget surplus to fund her initiatives to crack down on crime and for education reform. Kleefisch said she'd also look to use that surplus for long-term tax reform.

As far as an investigation into Wisconsin's 2020 election, Kleefisch said she would ban ballot harvesting and ballot drop boxes moving forward.

"I also will abolish the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which I found to be lawless and unaccountable," Kleefisch said. "Then I will also establish, under the Department of Justice, the office of election integrity and public trust so we can audit both going forward and backward."

NBC 26 previously interviewed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Nicholson. NBC 26 hopes to talk with more candidates for Wisconsin governor as we get closer to the election.