Dear Editor,

Clean water and protecting our natural resources is a bi-partisan matter and one that affects each and every Wisconsin citizen. PFAS, a chemical which is contaminating water in Peshtigo and Marinette, is affecting our daily lives and endangering the safety of Wisconsinites. It isn’t only homeowners being forced to give up the use of their own wells and fears of contaminated fish in the Great Lakes, but the long-term health problems that our families will face if we do not successfully address this problem.

Holding Johnson Controls Inc. and other responsible parties accountable for their actions is the first step of the plan; we must rebuild the trust between the citizens and our area businesses—we expect the businesses in our area to act ethically and value our natural resources. If I had the honor of being your representative, I would ensure a strong relationship between the citizens, the city officials, the DNR and myself to guarantee an effective resolution to our water contamination. The DNR must set attainable standards for the decontamination of our affected water and work with our community to achieve clean water. I will encourage all citizens to work with the DNR and city officials to test their wells, as well as continuing to report PFAS contamination in the area. As your representative, I would act on your behalf to continue the testing of wastewater, rivers, and lakes to halt the progressive spread of PFAS. I encourage the passing of Senate Bill 156, which expands the collection of PFAS-containing fire fighting foams and ensures they are discarded in an environmentally safe manner.

My constituents deserve a determined and strong voice in Madison; I will call for continued state and local support to accelerate the decontamination process and help to return my constituents lives to normal. I will work with my fellow legislators and local officials to install efficient water filtration systems and continue to work closely with the DNR; we can protect our natural resources with the help of responsible businesses, effective governing and community perseverance. With my skill set and love of northeastern Wisconsin, I know I will take initiative to begin the process of the decontamination of our community’s water and help to bring us back to our way of life.

Elijah Behnke

Oconto

Candidate for 89th Assembly District