A Reedsburg resident is giving another shot at running for the state legislature in the fall election.
Art Shrader announced his candidacy as a democrat for the 50th Assembly April 9 at the Reedsburg Public Library. Shrader ran against Incumbent Ed Brooks (R-Reedsburg) in the 2016 election. Brooks 58 percent of the vote compared to 42 for Shrader.
Brooks, who is currently serving a fifth term in office, has not announced plans to run for reelection.
In his announcement speech, Shrader said he would strengthen the workforce by increasing support for local public schools, create an end to gerrymandering, end special interest money in politics and bring high-speed internet to rural areas in Wisconsin. He pledged to give the people of the 50th Assembly District a voice and to represent every community member within the district.
He spoke against the Foxconn manufacturing plant in Racine County. The Taiwanese electronics plant is expected to bring around 13,000 jobs and contribute an estimated $51 billion over 15 years to Wisconsin’s economy, according to a report from the Associated Press.
While Shrader said he wasn’t against the development of jobs and, at times, is in favor for public-private partnerships, the $4.5 billion devoted to the facility should be put into small, rural communities around the state. Communities within the district, which include communities like Reedsburg, Mauston, Necedah and Richland Center, carry total populations of around 10,000 people or less.
“Foxconn does very little for us and provides us virtually no opportunities within the 50th district assembly district,” he said. “We need someone to fight for those opportunities for us.”
In addition, he said fixing of bridges and roads and the expansion of internet to rural areas is another topic he hopes to address throughout his candidacy.
“While we talk about place making and trying to get our young people to come live here without having access to high speed internet throughout the state of Wisconsin we are going to fall further and further behind because high speed internet is the interstate system of now,” Shrader said.
Congressman Mark Pocan (2nd Congressional District), Jay Townley of the Juneau County Democrats, Marty Richards of Richland County and several other area candidates and supporters were present at the announcement of Shrader’s candidacy. Townley said people in the smaller communities have not been given a voice when it comes to making legislative decisions.
“We’ve had a people without a voice for too long,” Townley said. “The people of Juneau County they are diverse, they are good people they are hard working people but their voices have not been heard in the legislature of the state of Wisconsin. Art Shrader is going to change that.”
Currently, Shrader is the only candidate within the 50th Assembly District who has announced their intent to run for the position. Candidates have until June 1 to file paper work to run for office in the fall election. The fall primary is August 14 and the general election is November 6.