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Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008

State Assembly Endorsements

ENDORSEMENTS 2008

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Assembly Republicans proved last year that they are not putting the best interests of Wisconsin residents first. Republican leaders were happy to play games— and fund-raise—while shamelessly stalling budget negotiations. This sort of partisan brinksmanship has no place in serious state matters that affect all of us, no matter what one’s party affiliation. Fortunately, voters can make the state Assembly a saner place by electing qualified Democrats, who only need three more members to secure a majority. Here are some Democrats who deserve a vote on Nov. 4:

Peggy Krusick, who has represented the city’s Southwest Side in the Seventh Assembly District since 1983, deserves re-election. Her hard work on issues relating to seniors and students will be needed in the years ahead.

Tony Staskunas, a longtime West Allis representative for the 15th Assembly District, has earned respect as a moderate Democrat who is most concerned about ensuring full funding for education, which is sure to be a critical issue in the next legislative term.

In the 14th Assembly District, covering Wauwatosa, Brookfield and Elm Grove, Democrat Dave Hucke is taking on conservative Leah Vukmir for the second time. Hucke would be a welcome alternative to Vukmir, who has shown a disturbing level of ideological purity in the Assembly. The district’s voters deserve better than a knee-jerk Republican soldier. Hucke’s desire to build more next-generation science-based jobs in the state is something voters should seriously consider.

Dr. Rene Settle-Robinson would be a better choice than the current representative for the northern suburbs in the 23rd Assembly District, former TV meteorologist Jim Ott. Ott, a climate-change skeptic, votes in lockstep with the most conservative wing of the Republican Party. He even voted against requiring emergency rooms to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. In contrast, Democrat Settle-Robinson, a surgeon, is an expert on health care, one of the most pressing issues facing the state.

Racine voters have three strong candidates on the ballot. Robert Turner, a strong advocate for health care reform and the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) commuter rail line, should be supported on Nov. 4. Highlights of Cory Mason’s first term in the state Assembly include his fights to protect the Great Lakes from pollution and to ban toxic toys in the state. Linda Flashinski would be a welcome alternative to Robin Vos, the Republican incumbent representing the western portion of Racine County. (See the full endorsement of Flashinski for more information.)

We like entrepreneur Larry Zamba’s enthusiasm and pro-environment message, especially his support of electric vehicles, hybrids and renewable energy sources. Zamba is clearly better suited to represent the needs of Burlington and western Kenosha County than incumbent Samantha Kerkman, who voted against providing full medical care to rape victims, and wants to allow pharmacists to decide whether they should provide medication that has been properly prescribed by doctors. Zamba’s vision for Wisconsin is more compassionate and progressive.

Voters in the city and town of Waukesha in the 97th Assembly District would be well served by Ruth Page Jones, a Democrat who is proposing sensible solutions for this region's challenges. She supports mass transit, quality public schools and environmentally friendly policies that will also spur sustainable growth in Waukesha.