Skare to Challenge Lasee for Senate Seat

Dick Skare fielded several telephone calls after Rep. Garey Bies’ Jan. 20 announcement that he would not run for an eighth term representing the 1st Assembly District.

“Are you going to run?” was the question callers asked. And it was a valid question since Skare had sought the seat twice before as a Democrat, losing to Bies by 4,063 votes in the 2010 election and by a mere 850 votes in the 2008 election.

But looking at the unlevel playing field in the Assembly (60 Republicans to 39 Democrats), Skare didn’t want to be sitting on his hands for the next two years. He reasoned that he might be able to make a real difference by running instead for the 1st District Senate seat that has been held by Republican Frank Lasee since 2010 because the current Senate makeup stands at 15 Democrats and 18 Republicans.

“I got a pretty enthusiastic response from the state party,” Skare said. “It’s not a simple process. I can’t run as an independent. I just don’t have the resources and organization. So it was important to have their support.”

The 1st Senate District includes all of Door and Kewaunee counties, part of rural Brown County, northern Manitowoc County and much of Calumet County.

“I’ve kept involved with the district beyond Door County,” Skare said, mentioning that he has been an active member of Kewaunee County’s Buy Local program because of the restaurant he and his wife and two daughters run, The Cookery in Fish Creek.

He has also been involved in the Lakeshore Industry Cluster Initiative, an economic development program initiated in 2012 by the Economic Development Corp. of Manitowoc County, in conjunction with economic development organizations in Door, Calumet, Kewaunee and Sheboygan counties.

“The objective was to take the assets of our area and kind of leverage them and see if we can grow economically,” Skare said. “I didn’t get involved because I was running for office, but because it’s the kind of thing I like to do.”

Skare has served on the Gibraltar Town Board since 1992, with a two-year break from 2002 to 2004. He was also the organizer and president of the sanitary sewer project in the Village of Fish Creek from 1981 to 1987, and served as board member and chairman of the Door County YMCA during the time the two new facilities in Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek were planned and built, served as board member and chair of the Sunshine House from 2002 to 2008,and serves on the Door County Tourism Zone Commission since 2005, all of which Skare believes gives him the skills necessary to get things done in the Senate.

“I am going to run as a small businessperson,” he said. “I’m a neighbor, I do things in the neighborhood, and have that kind of attitude. What problems do we have? Let’s get folks together, figure out a solution and go forward. I don’t care where the solution comes from. I’ve never asked on the town level, I never asked at the Y, you can’t do this because you’re a Democrat or Republican. That’s what I’ve learned over the years and that’s the way I’m going to do it now.”