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Milwaukee Area Residents Reveal What They Would Ask Presidential Candidates

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Republican presidential hopeful Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks to guests gathered for a campaign event in Iowa.

Anticipation is building among Republican activists and voters. This week, Fox News will host the first 2016 presidential debate featuring GOP candidates.

 As of Monday, there are 17, but the network plans to include only the ten with the highest polling numbers. Gov. Walker has consistently ranked as a top tier candidate, so he is assured a spot on the stage.

We visited several places around town, to ask people what they want to hear from the candidates. Monica Beltran is buying groceries at Pete’s Fruit Market on 16th Street, in the heart of Milwaukee’s Latino neighborhood. Food is her livelihood.  She recently graduated from culinary school and works as a pastry chef at a country club.

Beltran says she came to Milwaukee from Mexico a few years ago, so she wants to know if the presidential candidates would continue the deferred action program. It temporarily allows certain undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S.

“I’m an immigrant and right now I benefit from deferred action for students and undocumented youth. So, just their view on it and if they would continue it or make it a road to citizenship,” Beltran says.

Beltran says she plans to watch the debate Thursday evening. Another person who will be glued to the TV is Joseph Cole. He and his father own a clothing store on Milwaukee’s west side, on 60th and North. Cole says many of his friends are bogged down in student loan debt, so he wants to know how the presidential candidates would address their needs.

“People are going to school for all these years and not being able to pay back their loans in return, due to the low income they’re receiving even after getting their education. So, just more programs to help people get a better education at a lower cost,” Cole says.

Cole says another question comes to mind, when he thinks about all he’s learned so far, as a new business owner. How would the presidential contenders simplify the tax system?

Over in downtown West Allis, Scott Lager is going door to door at businesses, asking people if they want to contribute to disabled veterans. Lager says he’s served in the military for 27 years, and while he works as a machinist, other veterans are not as fortunate. He’d ask the candidates how they would address the needs of veterans.

“Take care of our troops when they get home, the wounded warriors and the people who have emotional, mental and physical problems. Help them get a job, help them feel wanted when they get home, help them feel proud,” Lager says.

Lager says he’d also like to hear the candidates’ positions on foreign policy. When I got out to Waukesha, most people I spoke with wanted to talk about the country’s defense strategy. Mark Walley is strolling through the downtown. He wants to know in particular, how the hopefuls would defeat the Islamic State.

“Between ISIS and Cuba and Vietnam, there’s a lot of people out there who don’t like us and we have to handle it efficiently and I’m worried that we’re not on the right track,” Walley says.

Diane, who didn’t want to give her last name, says she would like to ask the candidates how they would beef up the military.

“Because if we’re going to have boots on the ground, how are we going to be ready to go? They shouldn’t be downsizing it,” Diane says.

Diane says she’s particularly interested in military matters because her grandson serves in the U.S. Army. And she says she’s paying quite a bit of attention to the presidential race at this early stage because Gov. Walker is a candidate.

On Tuesday, we’ll talk about how he and the others are likely preparing for this week’s debate.

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