State News: Special Election Results, Renewable Energy

Tuesday’s Primary Results

A field of six candidates running for the 10th state Senate District has been narrowed down to three, with state Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, and Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, moving on to a special general election next month.

Jarchow edged out fellow Assemblyman Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls, winning 56 percent of the vote with Zimmerman garnering 44 percent.

In the Democratic primary, St. Croix County medical examiner Patty Schachtner won convincingly by garnering 70 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial results.

Schachtner’s campaign has been bolstered by assistance from the State Senate Democratic Committee.

The 10th Senate District includes portions of Burnett, Dunn, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties. The seat was held for 17 years by former state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, who left the Legislature when Gov. Scott Walker appointed her to lead the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection on Nov. 10.

Jarchow and Schachtner will now go on to face Libertarian candidate Brian Corriea in the special general election on Jan. 16.

Republican anti-abortion candidate Rick Gundrum won the GOP primary for the 58th State Assembly District special election. The contest is to replace state Rep. Robert Gannon, who died in October. Gundrum is chair of the Washington County Board of Supervisors and is a village trustee in Slinger. Gundrum said he opposes all abortions, including when the woman is raped or a victim of incest, or when her life is in danger. Democrat Dennis Degenhardt, a former credit union executive, will face Gundrum in the Jan. 16 general election.

Democrat Greta Neubauer, 26, will more than likely take the office in the Assembly District 66 race because there’s no Republican opposition in the general election next month. She’ll replace another Democrat, Cory Mason, who recently was elected Racine mayor. In Tuesday’s primary, Neubauer beat another progressive, Racine Alderman John Tate, by an eight-point margin.

“Seeing Donald Trump getting elected last year was a huge catalyst for me,” Neubauer told reporters at her election night party. She said she’s inspired by Democrats’ recent gains around the country.


Bad River Tribal Members Seek Justice

Around 60 people turned out for a community meeting last week on the Bad River reservation to voice their views on the shooting of 14-year-old Jason Pero by an Ashland County sheriff’s deputy Nov. 8.

Ashland County Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich shot and killed Jason after the Bad River teen lunged twice at the officer, according to preliminary findings from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Jason’s mother Holly Gauthier said law enforcement was unsympathetic and insensitive when releasing those findings, which coincided with memorial services for the teen. The DOJ planned to issue a full report within a month of the shooting, but Gauthier said they’re still waiting.

Community members said the shooting of Jason demonstrated a systemic problem between Ashland County law enforcement and the tribe. Tribal members also expressed a lack of trust in local and state authorities to provide a fair and transparent investigation of the deputy’s actions and Jason’s death.

Tribal Chief Mike Wiggins said the tribe’s request for a federal investigation is under review.


Lasee Sponsors Changes to Landlord-Tenant Laws

State lawmakers are considering a number of changes to the laws governing landlord-tenant relationships in Wisconsin, including some that opponents argue could contribute to homelessness.

One provision in the lengthy bill, introduced by state Sens. Frank Lasee, R-De Pere, and David Craig, R-Town of Vernon, would require renter’s eviction records to be publicly available for 10 years.

Brenda Konkel, who works at the Tenant Resource Center in Madison, argued the notice of an eviction hearing, even if the tenant wins the court case, could keep that tenant from being approved for a new place to live. Konkel said the change could increase the chances of someone remaining homeless or becoming homeless.

The bill would also loosen historic preservation requirements for people who want to make repairs or changes to their homes.


Pepin County Ends Annual Fair

Pepin County has announced they’ll no longer host an annual county fair. The Pepin County Fair Association said in a statement the decision was based on a lack of volunteers and uncertainty about where the event will be held.

Marie Ritscher, county 4-H and youth development agent through University of Wisconsin-Extension, said local officials have been considering combining the fair with neighboring Buffalo County for several years.

Patricia Malone, UW-Extension’s area director for the region, said Pepin is the first county in recent memory to end their annual fair.

But Malone said many counties throughout the state struggle to get enough volunteers.


Coalition Focuses on Conservative Support for Renewable Energy

A new conservative group aims to build more support for renewable energy projects among Wisconsin Republicans.

Former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson is among those joining the Wisconsin Conservative Energy Forum, which launched last week.

Executive Director Scott Coenen said he wants to reframe the discussion around solar, wind and other renewable energy sources to reach those conservatives who have been reticent to consider them.

“It’s an argument about economic development. It’s an argument about job creation,” Coenen said. “A lot of these sites are going to be up in very rural areas in Wisconsin, places that could use economic development and job creation.”

Coenen said the price of renewable energy is increasingly competitive with fossil fuels, and that adding more wind and solar will complement Wisconsin’s changing energy portfolio.

Almost 20 states have similar groups, according to the Conservative Energy Network.


Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2017, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.

Article Comments