The Monroe Times contacted candidates in area races and gave them the opportunity to submit profile information. The following profiles were returned and are published below as they were submitted. Democrat Dick Cates, Republican Todd Novak and Libertarian Adam Laufenberg are running in the Nov. 4 general election for the 51st Assembly District.
City/town of residence: Town of Wyoming; Spring Green postal code 53588
Family: Spouse Kim J. Cates; children Shannon (32), Eric (29), Peter (deceased age 7, 1994; Childhood Leukemia)
Education: Ph.D. Soil Science (1983), College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), Univ. WI, Madison
Occupation: Farmer, self employed; Founder/Director, WI School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, UW-Madison College of agricultural & Life Sciences. My family and the Cates Family Farm were honored with the 2013 Sand County Foundation and WI Farm Bureau Federation Leopold Conservation Award for life-time stewardship of Lowery Creek, a class two trout stream that runs through our farmland. I am a member of the Spring Green Lions Club, and I served as an area and River Valley High School ski racing coach for many years.
Previous elected positions held: Presently, Treasurer, River Valley Board of Education (third-term)
What are the top issues facing this district/board/office and how would you work to resolve them?
I'll give priority to rural issues, public schools, civility.
My name is Dick Cates and I would be honored to serve as representative for the citizens of the 51st District in the State Assembly.
My family and I live in Wyoming Township in Iowa County. I'm a farmer, small business owner, and agricultural science and business instructor. The best thing in my life happened in 1974 when I met my best-friend-to-be, Kim Johnson. We married a couple of years later and were blessed with three children, Shannon 31, Eric 28, and Peter (who died from childhood leukemia).
My background has prepared me well to serve in the legislature. I've served locally on the Spring Green Community Foundation Board, Town of Wyoming Plan Commission, and presently as Treasurer of the River Valley Board of Education.
I've served in state-wide capacity for more than a decade on our Wisconsin Department of Agriculture's Board of Directors and its numerous issue-focused working groups. I've also served nationally in an advisory capacity to several USDA Secretaries of Agriculture, during the George W. Bush administration, on beginning farmer and rancher policy.
I am running because I cherish Wisconsin's representative, democratic tradition. Our country is the longest-standing republic on earth, and the freedoms and progress we've made as a civilization have been hard won.
But too many times it feels to me that we've lost our way. The strong partisan, and often angry, dialogue that dominates our hallowed halls in Madison - and Washington - doesn't serve us well.
I know how to listen and to engage in civil, respectful dialogue. I've learned to find common ground amongst diverse interests and at the same time stand firm on my principles.
As your state representative I will work to lift the public conversation to a level that is civil, respectful, and honest. I'm not interested in more government, or zero government, but effective government.
I will champion the rural communities that we value so dearly. And I cherish our small, rural school districts and take the charge of the Wisconsin constitution to heart: that every student in Wisconsin deserves the best publically-funded education we can offer.
Over the past 30 years, I've built and run my family's small business, trained new farmers - so essential to the future of our economic well-being - and managed a nearly $20M budget in a school district with declining enrollment. I will use this economic development experience to show fiscal responsibility and to appropriate public funds fairly, where they serve the highest public good.
During my term in Madison, I will focus on the issues that matter in southwest Wisconsin:
Prioritize funding for our rural public schools and stop the increase of vouchers.
Job creation through broadband expansion, renewable energy development, farm-to-community food connections, infrastructure improvement, and worker retraining for tomorrow's careers.
Growing Wisconsin agriculture while conserving and protecting farmland and our natural resources.
Strong, affordable rural healthcare.
Our tradition of local control over community decisions.
An open, just society where all have equal rights and opportunities to live meaningful, secure lives.
If these issues - and my pledge of civility, respect, and integrity - are important to you, I will appreciate your vote on Nov. 4.
I am honored that the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, and Craig Culver, Co-founder and CEO, Culvers Franchising are among a long list of individuals and organizations endorsing me and my campaign. Check this out, and more, on my website www.cates4assembly.com.
Sincerely, Dick Cates
Town of Wyoming, Iowa County
What are other key issues facing the district/board/office, and how would you work to resolve them?
See my statement, above.
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
I am the only candidate who has made a clear statement and commitment to fair funding for our rural schools and to fight to stop the increase of private school vouchers. This is the number one concern of the citizens of the 51st Assembly District and across rural Wisconsin.
I have made a public pledge to keep dark third party money out of my campaign; I have asked my opponents to do the same, but have not received a response.
I am the only candidate with business experience: Over the past 30 years, I've built and run my family's small business, trained new farmers - so essential to the future of our economic well-being - and managed a nearly $20M budget in a school district with declining enrollment. I will use this economic development experience to show fiscal responsibility and to appropriate public funds fairly, where they serve the highest public good.
I am the only candidate with a long-time proven record of civil public service: For the past 21 years I have served in elected and civic responsibilities. During this tenure I have not only attended hundreds of meetings, but I have deliberated the most contentious issues and I have cast thousands of votes. I am running for the State Legislature because I cherish Wisconsin's representative, democratic tradition. I know how to listen and to engage in civil, respectful dialogue. I have a long proven record of finding common ground amongst diverse interests, and at the same time standing firm on my core principles.