Sunday, September 12, 2010
SEAN DUFFY BUILT FOR THE RUGGED 7TH DISTRICT
Wisconsin 7th Congressional District Candidate Sean Duffy has a Christmastime YouTube video that he put on his campaign site in 2009 where he and his family are hunting for the perfect Christmas tree and the chainsaw ran out of gas. Sean broke the tree down with his bare hands, an act of bravado that isn't an anomaly for a family lineage extending back to four generations of pioneers and lumberjacks. He may be running for Congress and for the right to walk the polished, pristine halls of Capitol Hill but his roots have been cemented squarely in rural Wisconsin for longer than he's been alive.
Sean's great-grandfather, Hugh, moved to Hayward in 1883 and was a founding settler of the community as well as a lumberjack. His grandfather, Walter Duffy, was Register of Deeds and county judge for Sawyer County, Wisconsin. His father, Tom Sr, is a lawyer in Hayward and his brother, Tom Jr, also opened his own law practice in Hayward and ran for Sawyer County judge last year. And then there's the logrolling angle: While Sean holds 2 speed-climbing titles, his brother Brian holds 5 logrolling titles, and an even younger Duffy niece Taylor is a multi-logboom running champion who won her first championship at the age of 15.
Born on October 3, 1971, to Thomas and Carol Duffy, (WIKIPEDIA) Sean is one of 11 children born and raised in Hayward. He began log rolling at age 5 and speed climbing (which involves sprinting up 60 and 90 foot poles) at age 13. As a teen, he competed in the National Lumberjack Championships and is a three-time world champion in the 90-foot speed climb. He has a marketing degree from St. Mary's University, and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. In 1997 during his first year at law school, he was cast for and starred in MTV's Real World Boston. He played a Republican on the show. In 1998, the alumni from previous Real World shows, were cast together in Road Rules: All Stars. On the set, he met his future wife, Rachel, (RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY: MOTHER, STAY AT HOME ADVOCATE). They married on April 4, 1999 and the couple now has six kids Evita Pilar, Xavier Jack, Lucia-Belen, John-Paul, Paloma Pilar and MariaVictoria Margarita.
"My kids logroll in the summer," he told the MCLATCHY-TRIBUNE news agency in May of this year. "This is part of my family's tradition. I've traveled all over the country tree climbing and logrolling. You don't get more Wisconsin than me."
Hayward boasts one of the best logrolling training schools in the country and soon as his kids learn to walk, Sean takes them to logrolling school in the summer. They compete in the Youth division of the Lumberjack World Championships each summer. Evita has already placed 3rd in recent competition.
Here's my interview with Sean recently where he told me about his campaign approach and what he planned to do if he were fortunate enough to win the 7th District race and end up in Washington DC.
1. DAVID OBEY GAVE UP HIS BID FOR RE-ELECTION IN APRIL. HOW MUCH OF THIS DO YOU ATTRIBUTE TO PRESSURE FROM YOUR CAMPAIGN?
You know some people have speculated that I had quite a bit to do with Dave leaving. They've said that he would have stayed there but for the fact that he had a serious challenge this year. I don't know what's in Dave's heart, I don't know what the reason is that Dave got out, only he and his family know that so it's pretty tough for me to speculate. I'll leave that to the bloggers and pundits like yourself!
2. HAVING RECENTLY STEPPED DOWN AS ASHLAND DA, CAN YOU TELL ME HOW TOUGH THIS DECISION WAS AND HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO FOCUS MORE ON THE TASK AT HAND?
I loved my job as Ashland DA. I loved to work representing the citizens of Ashland County. I love putting guys behind bars, the best job I've ever had, but I also think it's important that if you are going to take a step like this and run for Congress you have to be able to look at your life and acknowledge what you can and can't do. I was being a full time father, a full time husband, a full time District Attorney, and a full time candidate and I struggled to do everything well so I decided to give that job up and run full time here and I think it's important that with the problems we face in the country, it's imperative that we have a new direction and this seat is part of this new direction and I wanted to make sure I was giving it my all. So I pondered it for a long time and Rachel and I came to the conclusion that, that was probably the best move. I think to leave the citizens of Ashland County with a District Attorney who is fully engaged, especially as I look at how much it is going to take to win this campaign, is the right way to go, and to recognize that on my part I think is important and that's what it's all about. I'm less concerned about my old job and I am more concerned about the hard-working families here in Wisconsin in the 7th Congressional District and that is why I resigned as the Ashland County DA.
Sean campaigning at the Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin Cranberry festival
3. IN THE EVENT THAT YOU ARE ELECTED TO CONGRESS, WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU'D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH AS A REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE STATE OF WISCONSIN?
The first thing: Any unspent TARP money and unspent stimulus money should be sent back to pay down the deficit. I think this will send a resounding message to Americans and the rest of the World that the days of American bailouts and stimulus are over.
4. WHAT ISSUES ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU AS A CANDIDATE FOR THE 7TH DISTRICT AND HOW DO YOU PLAN TO TACKLE THOSE ISSUES ONCE YOU ARE ELECTED
The economy and jobs, I think, are the most important. I feel that we have seen government try to borrow and spend our way to prosperity and sustainable job growth and the bottom line is that, that doesn't work and it's never worked. I think that economic growth and sustainable job growth comes from the private sector; people who invest in their vision and it is those folks who create jobs and create wealth, I mean the Bill Gates of the world are the ones who create prosperity and growth and not government spending and I think we need to put a focus back on the true job creators in the private sector, not government. Number 2, we have to start to reduce our debt and balance our budget. We have a 13.3 trillion dollar debt. That breaks down to more than $43,000 dollars for every man, woman, and child in this country and when my little Maria Victoria was born about 5 months ago, she came into the world owing about $43,000 in national debt. This is unacceptable. We are mortgaging our children's future and that is just unacceptable.
Sean hopes to be all smiles on November 3rd!
5. YOU'VE BEEN MARRIED TO RACHEL FOR 11 YEARS NOW. CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE ROLE THAT FAITH PLAYS IN YOUR MARRIAGE AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BOTH OF YOU IN YOUR ROLE AS PARENTS?
Rachel and I are both Catholics and it isn't just a commitment between the 2 of us, it is a commitment between us and God and that is, I think, a pretty powerful statement that you make with someone once you include Him in your vows and I think it's important that we raise our children within a sound Faith and that's what we've done in our home. Our kids go to Church every Sunday and they are very well educated in their Faith and I think that plays a huge part of our life and our parenting and I think that plays a huge part in our relationship.
6. RECENTLY RACHEL GAVE BIRTH TO YOUR SIXTH CHILD, MARIA VICTORIA, A PREGNANCY THAT WAS CONSIDERED "HIGH RISK". WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR'S AND RACHEL'S RESOLVE TO SEE THIS PREGNANCY THROUGH AND YOUR REASONS BEHIND IT?
Those I like to keep personal. We have had 2 of those pregnancies that were considered high risk and we chose life, you know, regardless of what hand we are dealt or our kids are dealt and so that's our belief and so the belief just isn't in words, the belief is in practice.