Arnie Johnsrud Announces Candidacy for Wisconsin First Assembly District

Arnie Johnsrud, left, announced his candidacy at the 8th annual Pie Party of the Democratic Party of Door County in Egg Harbor on Dec. 7. At right is Garrett Cohn, chair of the Democratic Party of Door County. Photo by Jim Lundstrom.

Retired high school ag teacher and Kewaunee County farmer Arnie Johnsrud has thrown his hat in the ring as Democratic candidate for the 1st Assembly District, a seat that has been held by seven-term Sister Bay Republican Garey Bies since the election of 2000.

Johnsrud ran for the same office in 2012, but lost by 30 votes in the Democratic primary to Patrick Veeser.

“That was tough to get over,” Johnsrud said. “It was basically my wife and I running the campaign with no experience at all. The difference this time, we don’t think there’s going to be a primary.”

An added bonus for his 2014 campaign – Johnsrud retired at the end of the last school year after teaching agriculture at Kewaunee High School for 20 years. Of course, public education is high on his list of political priorities, especially in light of the Republican efforts to throw more public money at private education. “We’ve got great public schools in Door and Kewaunee counties and we have to support them,” he said. “Everything I’ve got came from public education.”

Jobs with living wages is another priority, he said.

“The policies enacted by the current legislature are hurting average people,” Johnsrud said in announcing his candidacy. “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been cut from public education, increasing class sizes and hurting our public schools. Special interests are able to push through legislation that hurts all citizens. Leaders in Madison need to focus on creating good-paying jobs; not squeezing the middle-class.”

Johnsrud was born and raised in Door County. After graduating from Southern Door High School he enlisted in the U. S. Army and served in the Vietnam War. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Johnsrud also worked at Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay for 14 years before becoming a teacher and still operates a farm in the town of Ahnapee.

“I have spent most of my life living and working in Door and Kewaunee County,” he said. “I care about my neighbors and know they need a representative in Madison who understands our community and how to make government work best for us. My diverse background as an educator and farmer, along with my experience bringing people together in our community, makes me the best choice to represent the people of the 1st Assembly District.”

Johnsrud is a member of the American Legion, VFW, and a past president of his church council. He is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys riding and collecting motorcycles. He and his wife Jeanne have raised three children in northern Kewaunee County.