A Richland County resident has announced he is a candidate for the 50th District seat in the State Assembly.
Tom Crofton said he will run as a Democrat for the seat in the State Legislature now held by Ed Brooks, a Republican from Reedsburg.
“It may sound trite, but I’m really worried about the kids,” said Crofton, who lives about 25 miles east of Reedsburg in the Richland County town of Rockbridge.
Crofton said lawmakers’ actions in recent years has damaged policies put in place over the past century that made Wisconsin a model for clean and effective state government.
“Yeah, you’ve got to adjust it and you’ve got to remodel it,” Crofton said. “But just wrecking it without a plan to fix it is crazy.”
Crofton cited Act 10, which eliminated collective bargaining rights for most public employees, as an example of legislation that unnecessarily divided the state and damaged local economies by effectively cutting the pay of public employees who spend most of their money locally.
“The economy didn’t prosper from it,” Crofton said. “We’re lagging our neighboring states that didn’t do Act 10.”
The 50th District includes all of Juneau County and parts of Richland, Monroe and Sauk counties, including Reedsburg.
Crofton, 62, is a retired carpenter who worked 40 years in the construction trade and now operates a 130-acre farm where he raises grass-fed beef. He is serving a third two-year term on the Richland County Board of Supervisors.
If elected, Crofton said he would work to create sustainable food and energy projects, including measures to support biomass energy — the production of ethanol or methane from organic materials such as wood, agricultural crops or wastes.
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“You don’t ask the state to create laws to make people do that, but you create opportunities and pilot projects to show it can work,” Crofton said.
Crofton said a disproportionate share of highway funding has been directed at urban areas in recent years and in the next decade the state needs to shift more attention to rural roads.
“Our infrastructure is really in rough shape,” Crofton said, adding that he supports an increase in the state gas tax to fund road work.
Brooks defeated Crofton for the 50th District seat in the State Assembly in 2008 when the two men vied to take over the post vacated by Republican incumbent Sheryl Albers, who did not seek re-election.
Crofton has a wife, Cindy, and two children now attending college.
Voters will elect representatives to all 99 districts in the State Assembly in the fall election next November.
The fall election will be preceded by a primary in August, and Crofton’s entry into the race suggests a Democratic primary is likely.
Reedsburg-area resident Nathan Johnson announced last October he would run as a Democrat for 50th District seat in the State Assembly.
Brooks, 73, lives in the town of Reedsburg. He has not announced whether he will seek a fifth two-year term next year.