Senate

Patrick Testin, R-Stevens Point
SD 24, formerly held by Dem Julie Lassa

Pat TestinBirthplace:
Madison, raised in Marinette

Job history:
Waited tables at a family restaurant through high school; Worked at factories and lumber yards while attending college;
2010: Worked as field director for U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy’s race
2011: Worked on a state Senate recall race;
2012: Ran for Assembly; in the meantime, worked a sales job at a mattress store in Plover;
Worked as a sales representative for a wine distributor for 2 years.

Education:
UW-Stevens Point, graduated 2011 with bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Family:
Engaged to Hannah Henderson. They met in 2011 while working on state Senate campaigns.

I was inspired to run for office because…
I take a look at how fortunate I’ve been to live and work in a state that’s given me every opportunity to be successful, and I want to make sure we’re making this state a great place for future generations.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
Aside from winning our race on Nov. 8, I’d say that the congressional race I worked on for Sean Duffy in 2010. It was my first experience as a campaign staffer, and it was an inside look at how campaigns looked, and that’s something pretty special. And obviously what we did in the 24th was very memorable as well.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
Still be doing my day job, on the road with my sales accounts, and working with business owners to expand our portfolios.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
You can find me back home in Stevens Point at Adventure 212, which is a fitness club. If I’m not there, I’m at home watching TV, watching Sports Center. I’m a big sports fan.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
A cook, a pretty decent cook. I always like making new recipes, and my fiancee loves it.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
Yellowstone National Park. I had an opportunity to go out there when I was coming into freshman year of high school, and seeing the mountains, geysers, hot springs, it’s all really beautiful. That should be on your bucket list if you haven’t been there already.

Donald Trump’s election means…
I think it means a fresh start. There are a ton of opportunities before us, especially when we take a look at what we’ve been hearing about Congress’ renewed effort to give powers back to the state, where they should be. I’m not someone who believes in a cookie-cutter approach to government, but the government closest to the people is most responsive. I think we have a real opportunity here to make some impactful changes in the state, and give power back to the states, where our founding fathers intended it to be and where it should be.

Read Testin’s campaign bio

*****

Dan Feyen, R-Fond du Lac
SD 18, formerly held by Republican Rick Gudex

Dan FeyenBirthplace:
Chilton, grew up in New Holstein.

Job history:
Worked for a printing company in Fond du Lac for 29 years, through 2016.

Education:
Fox Valley Technical College 1986-87, diploma in printing.

Family:
Married to Lori with two children: son is a sophomore at UW-Madison, and daughter is a senior at Fond du Lac High School.

I was inspired to run for office because…
Of my involvement in Republican politics.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
I’d say election night 2016, winning the election.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
In printing management.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
Spending time with family.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
A high school sports fan.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
Visiting Chicago in the summer.

Donald Trump’s election means…
Opportunities for America.

Read Feyen’s campaign bio

Assembly

Jimmy Anderson, D-Fitchburg
AD 47, formerly held by Dem Robb Kahl

Jimmy AndersonBirthplace:
El Paso, Texas, but grew up in Patterson, Calif. Came to Madison in 2008

Job history:
After attending law school at UW-Madison, spent a few months at the state Department of Justice before leaving to start a nonprofit called Drive Clear that aims to curb drunken driving. Anderson was left paralyzed from the chest down after a drunk driver crashed into the car he was in, killing his parents and brother.

Education:
California State University Monterey Bay 2004-08, BA in Integrated Studies
Law School at UW-Madison, 2008- December 2012 (interrupted by the car accident between his second and third year)

Family:
Married his wife, Ashley, in 2008

I was inspired to run for office because…
I wanted to give back to the communities that helped me through some of the hardest points in my life.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
Getting the opportunity to meet everyone in my community through knocking on over 5,000 doors. So just meeting everyone, hearing their stories and being able to carry that to the Capitol.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
Still just be running my nonprofit, trying to use my story to help others who have been affected by drunk driving.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
Reading a good book. I’ve been on a nonfiction kick lately. I finished “Team of Rivals” just before inauguration and I have also recently read “The Politics of Resentment” by Kathy Cramer, “Ringside Seat” by former Sen. Tim Cullen, “Positively American” by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, “Twilight of the Elites” by Chris Hayes, “The Speechwriter” by Barton Swaim, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates and “Thank You for Your Service” by David Finkel.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
Actually of mixed ethnicity. My mother was Mexican, my father was a regular old Caucasian guy. And I came out with green eyes and freckles, so not a lot of people know.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
Tahiti. I went there through a study at sea with Ashley. We went around the South Pacific, and one of our stops was in Tahiti.

Donald Trump’s election means…
We as Democrats have to do a lot of self reflection. I think we need to learn why it is people feel like they can trust Donald Trump more than us and answer why that is, and do a better job of representing what it is that the people want.

Read Anderson’s campaign bio

*****

Treig Pronschinske, R-Mondovi
AD 92, formerly held by Dem Chris Danou

Treig PronschinskeBirthplace:
Eau Claire

Job history:
Residential construction for 21 years, self-employed business-owner in residential construction for the last 11 of those years

Education:
Chippewa Valley Technical College 1996-97, construction management degree

Family:
Married for 18 years to Becky, with one 11-year-old daughter, Rachael.

I was inspired to run for office because…
I feel like I could make a difference and relate to other people in my district and Wisconsin.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
Getting re-elected as the mayor of Mondovi. But that could change on a daily basis.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
How about a construction worker? I think that’s what I would like to do, that’s what I love and what I am.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
Hunting with my family.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
A competitive slow pitch softball player.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
There’s so many of them. Siesta Key, Florida. It’s warm there.

Donald Trump’s election means…
Politics has cycled.

Read Pronschinske’s campaign bio

*****

Rob Summerfield, R-Bloomer
AD 67, formerly held by Tom Larson

Rob SummerfieldBirthplace:
Bloomer

Job history:
Family supper club business (Two Acres Supper Club) for last 12 years in Bloomer Chippewa Valley Land Title Company co-owner

Education:
UW-Stout, graduated in 2002 with a BS in Business Administration

Family:
Married to his wife Kim, with three daughters: Emma, 7, Violet, 5 and Charlotte, 1

I was inspired to run for office because…
I have always followed politics closely and watched it. I thought it’d be a great public service to return to my community. Once a seat became open, I talked with my wife, and we decided now is a good time to throw my hat into the ring

My most memorable moment in politics was…
Me winning my race.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
Looking into getting into more business ventures.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
Spending time with my family, and especially spending time with my family on the golf course.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
Younger than my wife (by six weeks).

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
I haven’t really been out of Wisconsin much, cause we do most of our family trips in-state. The best trip was maybe Washington, D.C.

Donald Trump’s election means…
A great chance for us Republicans to show the nation that we are the correct party to lead us into the future.

Read Sumerfield’s campaign bio

*****

Don Vruwink, D-Milton
AD 43, formerly held by Andy Jorgensen

Don VruwinkBirthplace:
Auburndale, Wis.

Job history:
Taught from 1975-2011, mostly at Milton High School. Subjects: Advanced Placement history, U.S. history and government
City of Milton Parks and Recreation Director, 12 years
Substitute teacher, 2011-2016
Milton City Council, 2011-2015
April 2016: Elected to Milton School Board

Education:
UW-Stevens Point 1970-1975, B.A. in Broad Field Social Studies, political science, minor in coaching
UW-Whitewater 1982-1986, Masters in history

Family:
Married to Beth, and has one son, Craig

I was inspired to run for office because…
Because of what I was seeing going on in education. I’m a big advocate of kids and I want to make a difference in helping to change education to meet 21st century needs. We’re still teaching some of the classes that we taught back when I started, and now that there’s new skills demanded in the workforce, we need to start changing our classes to meet the demands of our workforce, and that’s what I’m trying to do on the Milton School Board. So that was probably my biggest motivation — and also help relieve the burden placed on teachers.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
I guess winning on the primary election day. Knowing that the hard work I did paid off to win the primary, because I had a great opponent in the primary. I was really a novice to it, but I worked hard to make myself well known throughout the district.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
Definitely sitting in the classroom now teaching kids, because that’s what I did all my life, 41 years of it, and kids energize me. But being here, I think I can help kids in a different way, by looking at curriculum and helping teachers.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
I love to watch the Wisconsin Badgers, and I’m a Brewers fan, but I also love umpiring games. Umpiring games is something I don’t consider work. I love umpiring and I love to golf.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
I’m still a kid at heart, even though I’m going to be signing up for Medicare next year. Being around young people all my life has made me feel younger, and I have to remember sometimes that I’m going to be 65 next year. I’m still basically a kid at heart.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My wife and I have been there probably 20 times.

Donald Trump’s election means…
I think what it’s going to do is want to drive people to elect politicians that are more nonpartisan. I think his election is showing the great divide in our country, and I think people want Republicans and Democrats to come together to solve problems instead of there being one party that sets all the agenda.

Read Vruwink’s campaign bio

*****

Ron Tusler, R-Appleton
AD 3, formerly held by Al Ott

Ron TuslerBirthplace:
Appleton

Job history:
First job at Fleet Farm in Appleton, before working for a moving company, and then as a valet at Appleton Medical Center;
While an undergrad at UW-Milwaukee, student taught at three different Milwaukee public schools
In law school, worked with Outagamie County DA, followed by Winnebago County DA for second year, and then in the Outagamie County public defender’s office;
2010: Worked as associate attorney in Appleton as a general practitioner;
2011-13: Alan Hoff Law Offices, LLC; became partner in 2013 at Hoff, Panzer & Tusler, LLC;
2014: Began Tusler Law, LLC;
Volunteer: Outagamie County Republican Party chair 2015-16; Boy Scouts of America, Executive Officer 2011-present; membership chair of Gathering Waters 2013-2014.

Education:
UW-Milwaukee: Urban Education, History and Honors major and a minor in political science, 2002-07
Marquette Law School, 2007-10

Family:
Married in 2011 to wife, Devon; no children

I was inspired to run for office because…
Well, several reasons, first is I love my country: I love my state, and I want to work hard to do my very best for it, and this was an opportunity I saw to help others and to help our state, to help our taxpayers. And I’ve always wanted to run for office, especially for what my great grandfather, Gordon Bubolz, was able to do as state senator. He helped a lot of people, and I really admire that. I have the very best intentions to help our state and my constituents.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
My primary. In the primary you’re competing against candidates that are very similar in your political beliefs and on that night I kind of felt very grateful for the people of the 3rd Assembly District in that they overwhelmingly chose me to be their representative. I think it had a lot to do with the volunteers that helped me, the relatives that supported me and my wife’s dedication to our state and me. I felt very honored that night, very grateful, and I don’t take their trust in me lightly.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
Helping the community in other ways. I was helping the Appleton Area Jaycees, I was helping the Boy Scouts, those were all successful ventures that I knew I did some positive good; that’s my approach to politics just like anything else, helping the people that are less fortunate than me, giving back to the state that’s given me so much.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
I’d rather be working. I love all the things that I do. I’m very fortunate, because I am involved in things that matter so much to so many people. I generally work most days, and when I’m not working I’m a little bored.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
One of the happiest people you will ever meet. Very much in love with my wife, and our partnership is so strong that I feel like I have a friend in everything that I do. I think that marriage is truly one of the primary foundations of a happy life, and I wish more people would get married.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Florida. I love traveling, and i travel every chance that I get. Every trip is a highlight of my year. However, I really enjoy snorkelling at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Florida. It’s a great opportunity to see thousands of different fish and have a real outdoor experience that anyone can do.

Donald Trump’s election means…
It means that a majority of Americans want our federal government to get back to its constitutional roots. The dissatisfaction associated with federal politics is very rational and reasonable. Federal government has ballooned into something no one really intended it to be. When I look where my taxes go, I’m amazed at how much the state of Wisconsin does for me with the small amount of taxes that I pay, however sickened by how much money goes to the federal government and how much little positive impact it has on my day-to-day life. Our country would be stronger if our taxes were more fair, more beneficial to the taxpayer. I think Donald Trump wants to do that, and it remains to be seen if he’ll find a way to do that. I certainly wish him the best.

Read Tusler’s campaign bio

*****

Chuck Wichgers, R-Muskego
AD 83, formerly held by David Craig

Chuck WichgersBirthplace:
Born on the south-side of Milwaukee, moved to Muskego after third grade

Job History:
Worked construction around the state while taking classes through Waukesha County Technical College;
Worked in sales from 1985 through 2016, notably serving as the director of development for southeastern Wisconsin at the Catholic Radio National Network and the last 15 years in medical sales;
1999-2002: Elected as Muskego city alderman and served on the Waukesha County Board of Supervisors.

Education:
Muskego High School;
Took night classes at Waukesha County Technical College for two years; studied sales and marketing.

Family:
Married for 25 years to wife, Michelle, with eight kids: Grace (8), Kate (10), Tommy (12), Maggie (14), Maria (16), Emily (18), Samantha (21), and Abby (23).

I was inspired to run for office because…
I was asked to run for state Assembly to be a citizen legislator and help reform government in the state Capitol.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
In the late 90s in the city of Muskego, there was a development being proposed that caused a knee-jerk reaction throughout the community. It was a very large business park at the gateway of our community, and the development wasn’t perceived to be the highest, best use for our community or the region. The development would have provided more light industrial warehousing and commercial space than the region could handle, according to consulting firms and government agencies. So a citizen’s groups fought that project as proposed, and suggested a less expansive project. And we were told by petitioners, ‘You can’t fight City Hall, they have more money than you.’ We fought City Hall and won for the residents of our community. I was the co-chair of the committee that fought City Hall. And we won without fanfare, we followed the letter of the law and used grassroots efforts, no shortcuts.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
Spending quality time with my wife and children. My children are still willing to spend time with me.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
Passionate about social justice issues. For example, fighting for the rights of the elderly, disabled, wounded soldiers, uneducated, imprisoned and poverty-stricken.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
Not Illinois.

Donald Trump’s election means…
From a historical perspective, we have a big question mark. Donald Trump is capable of being a Ronald Reagan or the opposite of a Ronald Reagan. He could go either way. We continue to pray as a country that his reforms serve the people justly and wisely. But we’ll stay tuned and watch the soap opera unveil itself.

Read Wichgers’ campaign bio

*****

Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls
AD 30, formerly held by Dean Knudson

Birthplace:
Born in Madison; family moved when he was about 10 to Augusta, a community near Eau Claire

Job history:
Worked at Madison TDS in their operations group for three years;

Spent a year working at a health care software company based in Eau Claire;

Took a job in the Twin Cities;

Jan. 1, 1997: Decided to start his own language translation service company with his wife, called Sajan, Inc. Today, it employs about 130 people in the western part of Wisconsin. He still serves as its CEO;

2015: Opened a winery in River Falls with his wife.

Education:
Graduated from Augusta High School: 1990;

Spent one year studying computer programming at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire;

Moved to Madison, took courses through UW-Milwaukee, but didn’t finish because he was offered a job in Eau Claire during his third year of schooling.

Family:
Married to wife, Angel, for 27 years this year, with two sons: Josh and Nick. Josh married to wife, Mandy, with three daughters: Taylor, Addalyn and Harper. Nick is a law student with a son named Montee.

I was inspired to run for office because…
I see the dynamic opportunity of western Wisconsin, having been an active part in it economically for the past 20 years. Recognizing the opportunities that exist to us are so substantial, I felt compelled to be an integral part of that change. I want to rethink how our economic development practice interacts with our education systems. I think it’s paramount to couple education with business, and I want to be the person to do it.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
Well, this is my first endeavor. I guess it would be the wonderful opportunity to meet so many fantastic people in the campaigning process. I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect the raw, authentic interactions at people’s doors. For all the crap we see on TV, we should be inspired in this state by the actions of our friends and neighbors.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
Creating businesses, which is what I’m doing.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
Enjoying time with my family.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
A guitar player. I play a wide variety of music, including some of the ‘80s stuff. Today I find myself gravitating toward some country music. It’s therapeutic. I like doing it.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
St. Lucia in the Caribbean. My wife and I have been there a few times. Man, it’s a wonderful place.

Donald Trump’s election means…
It means that Americans have signaled a desire for something different. It means new opportunities that we will all have to manage very carefully. I’m of the feeling that I’m truly ready for a change, something to disrupt the status quo. I think we need people in government who are there to serve and not to stay. With Donald Trump, I’m going to be optimistic, and hope the fearful things are never realized, and hope he changes the country.

Read Zimmerman’s bio

*****

Rob Stafsholt, R-New Richmond
AD 29, formerly held by John Murtha

Birthplace:
St. Croix County; lived there his whole life.

Job history:
Grew up on a farm, has been a farmer all his life;

Around 1993, dad purchased a salad dressing and food manufacturing company in Prairie Farm called Scoop’s Delight Salad Dressings;

Stafsholt took over company, sold it around 2000;

Went to work for a mortgage broker, starting in St. Croix Falls before moving to a new branch in New Richmond;

Purchased rental properties, still manages them.

Education:
1994-98: Studied business administration with an emphasis in communications and minor in history at UW-Eau Claire;

1998: Transferred to UW-River Falls; double majored in business administration and farm management; graduated 1999.

Family:
Single, with 13-year-old daughter, Maggie.

I was inspired to run for office because…
I want to help form what the future looks like for my daughter when she’s 40.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
There’s a lot of them. I would say inauguration day with my family and friends being present.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
I would be back home in our community working on more local issues.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
Spending time with my daughter, which usually involves hunting, fishing or just enjoying our great natural resources here in Wisconsin.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
A fairly straight-shooting guy. If you ask me a question you’ll usually get an answer.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
There’s no place like Wisconsin, but if you’re forcing me to pick, I would say Ontario. It’s beautiful and a lot less people and scenic and pristine.

Donald Trump’s election means…
I think that’s the question everyone has. That I think the status quo is going to be shaken up a bit.

Read Stafsholt’s campaign bio

*****

Pat Snyder, R-Wausau
AD 85, formerly held by Dave Heaton

Birthplace:
Born in Boone, Iowa. Moved to Milwaukee when he was 3, and grew up there.

Job history:
1979-2000: Worked in radio outside of Des Moines, Iowa;

2000-2012: Worked at WSAU in Wausau;

2012: Ran for state Assembly, lost;

Became outreach director for U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, worked in the 7th Congressional District.  

Education:
1974-1978: Attended University of Iowa, graduating with a communications degree and minor in public relations.

Family:
Married to wife, Shawn, for nearly 37 years, with two kids: daughter is a 4th grade public school teacher in Wausau, son is a quality assurance analyst with Epic Software in Verona; both his children are married, and his daughter is expecting a child in July.  

I was inspired to run for office because…
I guess my motto is this: ‘We can get a lot accomplished if we don’t care who gets credit for it.’ I’m thinking so much in Madison and even the national capital doesn’t always get done because everyone has their own agendas, but my own agenda is the people I represent. We have low- income pockets here and manufacturers and jobs that they’re looking for people, and I guess that I was motivated because I think I can help people become more prosperous in their own lives. We just want to make sure we take care of and protect the taxpayers and reach out to those folks that might need some extra training through various programs. I think if people can improve their lives for the better, it’s good for them, good for their own financial stability and good for the state of Wisconsin taxpayers. I do like that motto ‘If you don’t care who gets credit for it, you get a lot done,’ and that’s me. I’m not one who likes to put Band-Aids on things, and I’m more likely to find a solution to stop and solve a problem completely.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
I guess my most memorable thing was putting out my first legislation as a legislator, and that was my “Right to Try’’ bill with Rep. Kleefisch. That was the most satisfying thing I’ve done early in my legislative days, because I’m a volunteer with the Aspirus Hospice. I see folks there who have come to terms with their life and are there with their loved ones and families. But this would allow families who have maybe not come to that conclusion yet to look at other life-extending measures. It takes away some of the red tape and other hurdles to reach out to drug companies and have more opportunities to be part of their clinical trials. At least, it now gives them the chance to try. Thirty-three other states have done it. I guess my personal connection with seeing and working with the folks who have come to terms with this, and even those who have not, has really inspired me. And then Rep. Vruwink told me about a mother who died at a young age, 35, with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Her husband also has it, meaning they passed it to their kids. And there’s concern that the kids will now inherit this. But now there’s hope that the kids will have the ability to get on a clinical trial to fight this. And that’s something we can do as legislators to help and impact the constituents out there. It’s not a great deal of people, but that doesn’t make it any less important. While this is my most memorable moment so far, I hope there’s a lot more in the future. For example, I’m also hoping to get a drug court in Marinette County. Talking to the sheriff as of a month ago, we only have 400 inmates, but 80 percent of those are drug-related offenses, either as users, dealers, breaking and entering to get money for drugs or other things. We have to figure out a way to treat this, and it goes back to the basis of solving problems rather than putting Band-Aids on things to make short-term fixes.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
I guess a motivational speaker because I would love to be able to energize people to believe in themselves. I’m an advocate that believes God doesn’t make mistakes and every one of us has unique talent and quality, and if there’s a way I could somehow motivate someone to better themselves, I would love to do it. I want to see the younger generation really believe in themselves, and also work to be nicer to one another. It’s going to be so exciting in the world ahead with all the technology advances, and one thing we need is just to be a little nicer to each other.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
I would love being at a Packers game. We have season tickets. If not, I do enjoy going to the hospice house and visiting with people.  

Most people don’t know that I’m…
It helped this time going out and doing the doors, just meeting people around the area. Before that, though, everyone thought I was close-minded, because I was a conservative talk show host. Many that answered their doors thought I was close-minded and set in my ways. But once they got to know me, they realized that it wasn’t really the case. I wouldn’t be married 37 years to my wife, who is a Democrat, if I was what everyone thought I was: an ultra-right-wing conservative. My wife would never put up with that. And my daughter, as a teacher, also isn’t the happiest with Gov. Walker. But they can talk to me about it, and they know that I’ll listen. I’m open and easy to access and talk with. That’s kind of the best thing. I’m not a one-agenda-driven conservative. While I might have a foundation of fiscal conservatism and goals to protect the taxpayer, that doesn’t mean that’s all.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
I’ve been to a few, but I haven’t been to a lot. I would have to say the Black Hills in South Dakota. I think that has so much to offer between the mountains, of course the monuments there, and just going through the Black Hills themselves. It’s a combination of nature and history.

Donald Trump’s election means…
It means that the standard operating procedures of Washington, D.C. will be changed. And the reason I say that is in my opinion, the reason why Donald Trump kind of came to fruition is the frustration of the people with the status quo in Washington. I really think that the Midwest section of the U.S. was really out of touch. I felt that working as the outreach director for Sean Duffy at town halls. We went up to Florence County, right next to the UP, and we had five people show up the year prior to the presidential election. The next year we were up there, we had 35 people show up, and they were all mad. They grilled the congressman, and they showed their frustration about things not getting done. When George Bush was in office, nothing would get done because the minority party wouldn’t talk, and then Obama got in, and much of the same happened. And now an outsider comes in, and I’ll tell you, Donald Trump breaks the mold. I think deep down he really wants what’s best for America. And I think so many people are against it, because if we’re used to something the way it is, change is really tough, and it’s not so much the change but the transition too. I hope the transition helps make the Democrats and Republicans work together, and if the people see their government working, maybe they’ll calm down a bit. I really do think Donald Trump was a creation of frustration from voters who felt their voices weren’t heard and thought the status quo in Washington was against them. The people I know and I’m around aren’t white supremacists. Sure he’s rude, crude and obnoxious, but in the long run, if he can bring people together, and if he really does go into the inner cities and help, and if he can really do that and it’s getting better, many just think of all the good that will come of that. My wife and daughter are all upset. I don’t argue, I just listen, and that’s what I’ll do as a legislator too to people who come up to talk to me about it. Yeah, he’s not going to be right all the time, and all of us are human, but you’ve got to be big enough to realize you make mistakes and own up to them.

Read Snyder’s campaign bio

*****

David Crowley, D-Milwaukee
SD 17, formerly held by now Sen. LaTonya Johnson

Birthplace:
Born and raised in Milwaukee.

Job history:
First job at age 14, doing lawn maintenance;

Worked in youth development from ages 16-24 at Urban Underground, the Children Outing Association Goldin Center, YMCA and Safe & Sound, Inc, where he worked with community partners, organizations and the Milwaukee Police Department to reduce crime in Milwaukee;

In 2010, had first political start working as the African-American statewide organizer for former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold;

Worked briefly on recall elections for the state Democratic Party in 2011;

Became then-County Supervisor Nikiya Harris’ county aide in August 2011;

Worked as aide to then-Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd from Jan 2013-15;

Left in 2015 to run for alderman, lost by 150 votes;

Announced his intention to run for Assembly, campaigned and won.  
Education:
Attended Milwaukee Public Schools his whole life, graduating from Bay View High School in 2004;

2007-2013: Attended UW-Milwaukee for a BA in Community Education and Educational Policies, but did not graduate. He pulled himself out of school to work in Madison, and to also take care of his mother.

Family:
Married in April 2016 to Erica, with a 9-year-old stepdaughter named Alyssa; on June 10, he and Erica will have a baby girl, the first grandchild in the family.

I was inspired to run for office because…
As a community organizer, I’ve always wanted to empower the community to make changes for themselves. But when you’re working in the community, you quickly realize that for many of the issues facing communities of color, a lot of policy changes need to happen. I realized that the only way to make sure the community had the best access to these types of services was by running for office. So I ran for office. What really inspired me is to see individuals running for office that really believed in the communities they represent. I also have a really supportive family. My family has always believed that I would be involved in public life in some capacity, so they’ve always inspired and supported me.

My most memorable moment in politics was…
One of them is actually during the 2010 campaign. It was actually election night, even though we had lost. You go above and beyond as a campaign worker, and being the African-American statewide organizer, I had to travel to many different counties, including Racine, Dane, Kenosha and the Fox Cities area. Everyone was sad about the fact that we lost, but the campaign manager came up to me told me, ‘David, you did an awesome job.’ The one thing that stood with me, and this is when I really realized that politics is something I want to go into, was when he told me that this is one of the first years he didn’t have to worry about the black community coming out to vote. He said we had been doing a good job not focusing on one area of the state. It was George Aldrich who had that conversation with me. That all helped spark an interest in me of being involved in politics because it was my first political job. And now, even as I travel across the state as a representative, those same folks I talked to as the statewide coordinator are still seeing me and talking to me, and that’s also memorable. Still when I go to Kenosha, and still when I go to Racine, people look at me and say, ‘David, we called it.’ They remember the days I was running from office. But the more people I met, the more people I developed relationships with, the more I wanted to do it, and the friendships I developed over the years is something I remember too. The relationships you develop with people is what’s truly amazing about the whole thing.

If I weren’t in politics, I’d be…
I would probably still be doing community organizing. But I would also be involved in business development, helping to connect the dots between businesses and the workforce, helping businesses find access to the resources they need, helping them find different types of contracts to apply for and different types of bids they can apply for.

When I’m not working I’d rather be…
I would rather be with my family. Working on politics can definitely take a toll on the type of time you have, so any time I have I’d rather be with my family, with my wife, with my stepdaughter.

Most people don’t know that I’m…
I don’t know how to explain this, but I’m a Democrat. But I’m also an independent thinker. I use as much information as I can take in to make decisions, but I also like to make sure I come with my own independent analysis for my constituents. Most people also don’t know I grew up in inner city Milwaukee. Most don’t know my parents at one point were on drugs and did have different issues, so when people see me, a lot of them think I had this great upbringing, and I’ve actually been able to use it as a position of strength. I understand that I can use it to push myself and my community forward.

My favorite place outside Wisconsin is…
I haven’t traveled as much as I’d like, but I’d have to say the Washington, D.C. area. I know that probably sounds so cliche, but really the amount of conversations happening in D.C., how fast everything is moving and the fact that politics is my drug of choice — it’s the place I love to be immersed in. Then there’s the amount of business, policies and money to help people around the country and so on. I’m in love with it, and like I said, it’s my drug of choice.

Donald Trump’s election means…
That everybody can run for office. But I also think it means that there’s a bigger fight on our hands. When I say fight, I think we need to do a better job of connecting people with other people outside of their community. When we think of Wisconsin alone, Milwaukee has always been a lightning rod when running for politics. That’s in terms of poverty, education, quote-unquote bad things happening in the city. But in reality, a lot of these same issues also are happening in rural Wisconsin, which also happen in urban and suburban Wisconsin. This is really just an opportunity for us to learn from one another.  

Read Crowley’s campaign bio

 

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