By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The August 11 primary ballot will have two Republican candidates and two Democratic candidates for the 3rd U.S. Congressional District.
Democratic Incumbent Congressman Ron Kind (LaCrosse) will face Democratic candidate Mark Neumann (La Crosse), and Republican Jessi Ebben (Eau Claire) will face Republican Derrick Van Orden (Hager City).
The 3rd Congressional District includes the Counties of Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Grant, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, Richland, Trempealeau, Vernon and Wood.
Ron Kind is a native of La Crosse and graduated from La Crosse Logan High School. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a degree in law from the University of Minnesota.
Kind commutes weekly to Washington D.C. and lives in La Crosse with his wife, Tawni. Their two sons are college students.
Since 1997, Kind has represented the 3rd Congressional District. He is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which covers a variety of areas, including tax policy, Medicare and Social Security. He also serves on the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Trade. He became a member of the Subcommittee on Health in 2007 and has focused on the issues relating to small businesses, especially in the area of healthcare.
From 1997 to 2010, Kind served on the Natural Resources Committee and was co-chair of the Upper Mississippi Caucus, where he emphasized restoring the river and combatting invasive species. Kind also has worked on moving the farm bill away from subsidies paid on cash crops to agribusinesses and toward conservation to help farmers across the country.
He is chair of the New Democrat Coalition and is co-chair of the Congressional Fitness Caucus, the Congressional Organic Caucus, the National Parks Caucus and the Upper Mississippi River Basin Task Force. He is a former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.
Mark Neumann served as a Franciscan brother for 20 years, and during that time, spent six years as a medical missionary in Africa. He was a pediatrician for 35 years.
Neumann lives in La Crosse.
He believes the health of people and the health of the planet should be the purpose of government and that government should work for the good of everyone.
Neumann believes elected officials should serve as a resource for their communities and that they should encourage political conversation in those communities.
Jessi Ebben has lived in Wisconsin since she was a young child. She grew up in central Wisconsin, and she and her husband now live in Eau Claire.
Ebben was a student at UW-Eau Claire when Act 10 was passed and realized her views were conservative and chose to become a Republican.
Following graduation, she worked for nearly five years in public relations for two municipalities near Minneapolis. She and her husband moved back to Wisconsin in 2017, and Ebben now works in public relations for a healthcare organization. Her job more recently has focused on helping rural clinics respond to COVID-19.
Derrick Van Orden is a retired Navy SEAL. He and his wife, Mary Jane, have been married for nearly 30 years, and they live on a small hobby farm in Hager City.
After growing up in a rural area, Van Orden joined the Navy when he was 18 years old and served for 26 years. He retired as a Navy SEAL Senior Chief and had five combat deployments and several other deployments. His first combat deployment was to Bosnia Herzegovina, and he also served in combat tours to Afghanistan and Iraq. Van Orden has served in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South and Central America as well.
During his military service, he starred in the motion picture, “Act of Valor” and also appeared in two other films. He is the author of “A Book of Man: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to the the Lost Art of Manhood.”
After he retired, Van Orden and his wife decided to reopen the village cafe and re-established the Butternut Cafe.