MARINETTE — Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel spent a little time in Marinette on Saturday at the Marinette County Republican Party headquarters at 1515 Marinette Ave., where he greeted supporters and talked about the issues at stake in Tuesday’s midterm election. 

Schimel is seeking re-election to the seat he has held since 2014. Prior to serving as state attorney general, Schimel was district attorney for Waukesha County for eight years. 

“I’ve been traveling everywhere,” Schimel said about his campaign. “People are excited, so I’m encouraged by that.” 

Schimel said his number one priority, should he be re-elected, would be the drug epidemic in Wisconsin. 

“We just had our most recent drug take-back event this last weekend,” he said. “We broke our own previous record, and we lead the nation in this work.” 

Schimel also promoted his new “Dose of Reality” program, which will help employers “be better able to manage the risk of hiring people who have completed drug treatment court or are in recovery.” 

“We need them in the workplace, and they also need to get back to work,” he said. “Because once you’re in recovery, you can support your family, if someone gives you that opportunity. So we’re going to teach employers how to manage that risk.” 

As for the concern many voters have about whether or not those with pre-existing conditions will be able to keep their health insurance, Schimel called the debate “the biggest lie of the political year.” 

“There is no candidate for legislative office, state or federal, from Wisconsin at least, that doesn’t favor protecting people with pre-existing conditions,” he said. “They’re all in favor of it, they’ve all promised to do it. It’s a lie. No one is taking it away.” 

In response to his decision to involve the State of Wisconsin in a lawsuit that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which contains protections to keep insurers from denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, Schimel said he believed the ACA to be unconstitutional. 

“It is failing,” he said. “It’s not taking care of Americans. They said rates would go down — rates have gone up, 42 percent, on average, in Wisconsin. They said that more options would be available to consumers. The opposite’s true.” 

One of the common criticisms Schimel receives is that he has politicized the office of Wisconsin Attorney General too much. In August, 45 former assistant attorneys general said as much in a letter released by his Democratic opponent, Josh Kaul, and called the office “a mess” and accused him of not doing his part to protect Wisconsinites. 

In response, Schimel said he found the former assistant attorneys general themselves to be too political. 

“Those people, 73 percent of them signed the Walker recall petition, 40 out of the 45 have Democrat donor histories,” he said. “These are partisans ... it’s nonsense. I would compare that to the 64 elected sheriffs endorsing me.” 

As for the debate about the Back Forty Mine project in Menominee County and its possible effects on the Menominee River, Schimel said the attorney general would not get involved “until there’s a final decision made.” 

“If that decision is negatively impacting Wisconsin, then absolutely we’ll get involved and protect Wisconsin’s water,” he said. 

Schimel will face challenger Kaul in the midterm election on Tuesday.