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: Dodgeville
Family: Two sons, 13 and 16.
Education: Attended Southwest Vo-Tech-Finance Program, 1983-1985; graduated from Iowa-Grant High School, 1983
Occupation: Mayor-City of Dodgeville; Associate/Government Editor of The Dodgeville Chronicle, 1990-on leave since February 2014.
Previous elected positions held: Elected Mayor of the City of Dodgeville in 2012 with 78 percent of the vote and re-elected in April 2014, unopposed.
What are the top issues facing this district/board/office and how would you work to resolve them?
Throughout the past few years there have been three main issues that we, in the 51st Assembly District, have faced. Our rural schools have been underfunded, businesses over regulated, and the constant concern of rising property taxes.
As everyone knows, school funding and property taxes go hand in hand. Our schools are some of the best in Wisconsin, but unfortunately do not always get the funding they deserve. The school aid formula needs to be revised and made more equitable for rural districts. Though a difficult task, a revised formula could lead to better funding for our children's education and a reduction of property taxes. By doing this, we can help reduce taxes and the overall burden on seniors and the hard-working families in our communities.
If elected, I will also work to review regulations that hamper business growth. The government cannot create jobs, but it can get out of the way of those who can. I will work with both parties to create common sense solutions that will encourage job creation and grow in our state. The same goes for farming.
Farming is not only Wisconsin's largest economic industry, but a large part of our districts as well. I grew up on a farm and I understand the problems an overbearing government can cause on agribusiness. I will work to reduce regulations that affect the farmer's bottom line and give room for the industry to grow.
What are other key issues facing the district/board/office, and how would you work to resolve them?
The use of heroin has been growing and spreading across our district at a rapid rate. As mayor, I am the first person the police chief calls when an individual passes from a heroin overdose. Unfortunately, these calls have become more frequent in recent times.
Rep. Nygren and the State Legislature have made great head way in working to reduce the harm caused by this drug, but I believe more can be done. The people suffering from this terrible addiction need help as well as the courts and law enforcement officials.
I have worked hard to bring this issue to the forefront and open up the dialogue between elected officials and law enforcement in Southwest Wisconsin. By doing so, I have gained the bipartisan support of the Iowa and Lafayette County Sheriffs as well as the Iowa and Green County District Attorneys. This issue is extremely important to me and I will continue to strive to keep our towns safe.
Why are you the best candidate for this office?
I am the best candidate to represent the people of the 51st Assembly District because I have been a lifelong member of this district. I was born and raised here. These people are my family, my neighbors, and my friends. I know the issues we are facing and have the experience and knowledge needed to address them in Madison.
Over the past 24 years, I have been the government editor for the Dodgeville Chronicle. In that time, I have attended over 1,000 school, city and county board meetings, addressing and studying all of the issues affecting our community.
As mayor, I am extremely hands on and work to make myself accountable and accessible to the people. I personally sign every check for the city and work with my staff, line by line, to balance our $6 million budget. I make sure I know where each tax dollar is spent and have balanced the budget without raising taxes.
Most importantly, I strive to put people before politics. I have always been willing to work with anyone regardless of their party affiliation or whether or not they voted for me. I will represent everyone in this district and I will not waiver on that if I am elected. It is because of this philosophy that I have earned the support of former Representatives Brett Davis and Joe Tregoning along with law enforcement officials, school superintendents and many elected officials across the district. I am a citizen of the 51st just like you and I will work to make sure we continue our great traditions and thrive into the future.