Politics

Ron Johnson Releases New Ad Highlighting His Record Countering Opioid Epidemic

Sen. Ron Johnson's (R., Wis.) campaign released a new ad Thursday knocking his Democratic opponent, Russ Feingold, for falsely claiming that Johnson has not worked to solve the opioid epidemic that has devastated Wisconsin families.

The ad features Lauri Bedura, a Wisconsin resident who lost her 19-year-old son to a heroin overdose. Bedura discusses hearing about "a negative ad campaign" from Feingold, a former senator looking to regain his old seat, alleging that Johnson had done nothing to combat the opioid epidemic.

"That is absolutely the furthest thing from the truth," Bedura says. "I know that Senator Johnson has been through what I've been through, and he's going to continue to really push legislation so he can help our families."

Bedura is referring to the recent death of Johnson's nephew, who died of a heroin overdose. Johnson went public with the news in March while speaking at a teleconference with Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel.

"I want to champion this cause because this is affecting so many lives," Johnson said while addressing the conference.

Feingold released an ad in early September suggesting that Johnson had not addressed the heroin epidemic during his first term as Wisconsin's senior senator. However, Johnson voted to approve the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, which was signed into law by President Obama. The law expanded prevention and education programs directed toward teenagers and parents about the harmful effects of opioid abuse. The act, which initially passed with a 94-1 vote in the Senate and later by a 92-2 tally after conference with the House, also increased access to addiction treatment services.

Johnson has also introduced the PROP Act, which had bipartisan cosponsorship from Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.). The legislation was aimed at reducing the prescription of opioid medication for those who do not need it.

In Tuesday night's Wisconsin Senate debate, Feingold tried to claim that he did not launch his attack against Johnson's record on fighting drug abuse.

"I didn't say he did nothing," Feingold said in the debate.

"There was a radio ad that said Senator Johnson essentially did nothing," the moderator said, referencing the ad that Feingold had released in September.