3 Questions With: Rich Zipperer, Chief of Staff for WI Congressman Steil

Aug 19, 2022 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

1. If you were King or Queen for a day and could wave a magic wand, what policy change in Wisconsin would you enact?

To be clear, if I were “King for a day” I would immediately abdicate and call for a democratic election, separation of powers, and a written constitutional system based on the rule of law.   President Biden is bad enough, we sure don’t need a king.That said, my number one policy recommendation would be for Wisconsin to do the opposite of whatever Illinois does.  As they keep raising taxes, we should cut them.  As they coddle criminals, we need to get serious about stopping crime and putting repeat offenders behind bars.  When they elect people like Lori Lightfoot who has failed to back her own police officers and Kim Foxx who has failed to keep hardened criminals off streets, we need to elect officials who will put law-abiding families first, enforce our laws fairly, equally, and firmly, and bring safety to our communities.  Families and businesses are noticing the huge differences between the two states already.  In the 1stCongressional District where I work, Kenosha, Walworth, and Rock Counties are all seeing an influx of jobs, new residents, and growth from people fleeing the crime and high cost of living to our south.  Whether it is gas prices or property taxes, people notice that their dollar just goes further here.  As Illinois continues to show no signs of correcting its mistakes, Wisconsin has a great opportunity to show there is a better way.  Keep spending down, keep lowering taxes, and make our communities safe by getting dangerous criminals off our streets.

2. Favorite supper club in Wisconsin?

So, for most of the last 40 years, this answer would have been Reindls’ Countryside Inn in Menchalville.  Fantastic baked haddock, perfect supper club salad bar, classic Old Fashioneds and 25 cent pool. Sadly, the Reindl family retired from the restaurant business a few years ago and their excellent establishment is now closed.  Today, with many great options, I go with the 5 O’Clock Club in Pewaukee.  Top-notch perch, the best coleslaw I have ever had (seriously how good must the coleslaw be for me to brag about any coleslaw), and it’s a great place for a game of bar dice.

3. Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I have been blessed to have received a lot of great advice over the years, both professionally and personally from my parents, from elected officials I worked for like Governor Walker and Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner and Bryan Steil, from the Sisters at the Catholic grade school I attended, and from many others.  That being said, the single best piece of advice I ever received came from former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen.  When I was first elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, filling the seat he previously held, his advice was “come home every night, don’t stay in Madison.”  That just sounded right to me the second I heard it, and I figured if he could become Assembly speaker following that advice, I could have a major impact doing the same.  That advice (and buying a lot of flowers), has helped keep me happily married for 24 years.  It has also kept me incredibly involved in the lives of all three of my kids and in touch with what people in the real world, who aren’t spending their lives working in politics all day, care about.Bonus:  The worst piece of advice I ever received came from Father (and former Member of Congress) Robert Cornell who was my Professor at St. Norbert College.  He was the first person who ever encouraged me to run for office!