Democratic candidates rally in Wauzeka

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke walks to the podium at Century Hall April 16 as Senator Jennifer Shilling and a room full of ralliers applaud. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

About 175 people filled Century Hall in Wauzeka on the evening of April 16 for a Democratic Candidate Forum, featuring Mary Burke, Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate. Additional dignitaries included 32nd District Senator Jennifer Shilling, who emceed the event; 96th Assembly candidate Pete Flesch, who hails from Crawford County; three candidates for attorney general, Ismael Ozanne, Jon Richards and Susan Happ; and 51st Assembly candidate Pat Bomhack.

Each of the speakers addressed the group—as citizens applauded, cheered and shouted comments—during the one-and-a-half hour rally. The South West Education Association sponsored the event, which also offered a brat feed and social hour.

“As we’re gearing up for elections in 2014, the victory to Wisconsin runs right through the Wauzeka area,” Shilling said. “I want you to use your enthusiasm to support the people seated behind me as they run for election this fall. These people are concerned about the direction of our state, about working class families and senior citizens, about our students pursuing higher education. Mary Burke has that vision for better opportunities in this state.”

Burke, whose dad started Trek Bicycle in a barn in Waterloo (Wis.), led strategic planning at Trek for over a decade. In addition, she was appointed Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce by Governor Jim Doyle in 2005. According to Wikipedia, Burke left the post in November of 2007 to spend more time on non-profit work and family interests. In 2008, she led a study on the financial troubles facing Milwaukee schools. In 2012, Burke was elected to a seat on the Madison school board.

“I want to bring people together and focus on the challenges,” Burke stated. “It’s not going to be easy. We need boots on the ground to give us the best turnout ever this fall.”

The priorities Burke discussed included job creation, health care choices, private voucher opposition, higher minimum wages, small government policy making, collective bargaining restoration and college graduate retention.

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