In a few short days, University of Wisconsin students face an extremely important choice between two fundamentally different candidates. Tammy Baldwin has been a representative of UW students and the City of Madison for the past 14 years in Congress, and her record of advocating for students, championing health care reform and defending women’s rights makes her an outstanding choice for the U. S. Senate.

Time and time again, Tammy Baldwin has been on the side of Wisconsin students and their families. Tammy was the leading advocate for important provisions in the Affordable Care Act, including allowing all young Americans under the age of 26 to stay on their parents health insurance and outlawing discriminatory insurance practices that denied Americans with preexisting conditions access to health insurance. President Obama and Tammy Baldwin passed student loan reform, saving the government an estimated $60 billion, according to the Associated Press, and lowering interest rates on federal loans – a move that has saved the average Wisconsin student almost $1,000 a year. Tammy’s votes for equal pay for equal work for women and increased funding for Pell grants are two more important distinctions between her and her opponent, and demonstrate that she has always been fighting for us in Congress.

Now, Tammy’s opponent, Tommy Thompson, is a familiar name for many of us in Wisconsin, but the sad truth is that Tommy Thompson has changed. Over the better part of the last decade, he cashed in on his Washington influence to make millions as a lobbyist. Even worse, the Tommy Thompson of the 1980s and 1990s would not even recognize the extreme, Tea Party candidate now running for U.S. Senate.

The choice between the two candidates could not be clearer – Tommy Thompson supports massive, budget-busting tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, while Tammy Baldwin thinks they can afford to pay a little more to reduce our deficit. Tommy Thompson wants to repeal Obamacare, resulting in higher co-pays for contraception and the denial of coverage for those with preexisting conditions, and Tammy Baldwin championed the expansion of health insurance to more than 33 million Americans. Tommy Thompson opposes marriage equality, meaning that some of our closest friends would continue to be denied basic human rights because of whom they love, but Tammy Baldwin has always supported marriage equality. The extreme positions that Tommy Thompson has taken are deal breakers for Wisconsin students, and we must support Tammy Baldwin.

We have a lot of work to do to continue moving our country forward and build on the 5.2 million new jobs that were created in the past 31 months. But we cannot move forward with an outdated politician whose extreme ideas hurt students. We must move forward with Tammy Baldwin, our advocate for students, women and Wisconsin’s middle class families. I hope you will join me on November 6, when we proudly cast our ballots for Tammy Baldwin.

Andrew Suchorski ([email protected]) is the Chair of the Wisconsin College Democrats