Fresh off wins in Tuesday’s election, three local incumbents and one newcomer looked ahead to what they hope to accomplish in the Wisconsin Legislature.
WISCONSIN ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 49
Wisconsin Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, was elected to his fifth term.
Tranel said Wednesday that he wants to stay focused on his recurring campaign promise to grow a qualified local workforce for existing careers.
“Going door to door and campaigning the last few months, what we constantly heard were challenges managing the workforce,” he said. “There are good-paying jobs that offer health insurance and benefits and a sustainable wage, but we can’t fill them. We need to invest in worker-training programs. We have some innovative ideas to get high school students into technical college sooner. We’re trying to think outside the box.”
Tranel said the job vacancies span the manufacturing, agriculture and service industries. It is a good problem to have, he said, but one he looks forward to solving.
“Elections give people the opportunity to exercise their freedom,” he said. “It’s also a job review. It’s humbling to be elected five times now. This job wouldn’t be worth it if the things you do weren’t appreciated back home.”
WISCONSIN ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 51
Wisconsin Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, retained his seat Tuesday, besting Democratic challenger Jeff Wright in a second straight election — but by a narrower margin this time around.
That wasn’t unexpected, though, Novak said Wednesday.
“I am a Republican that represents a Democratic district,” he said. “The reason I win these elections is I’m very engaged. I have an independent streak. They know me. They don’t see me just during election time. Looking at the totals, we had a little blue wave in my district, so I am honored to have survived that.”
Novak said he plans to continue supporting local governments, children and the elderly in his third term in the Wisconsin Assembly.
WISCONSIN ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 96
Voters in District 96 again chose to have a Republican represent them, as Loren Oldenburg bested Democrat Paul Buhr. The two men were vying to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Republican Lee Nerison, who has held the position for 14 years.
“I’ll continue with what Lee Nerison started, with common-sense decision-making,” Oldenburg said Wednesday. “We’ve got a unique district here. Down in Crawford County, tourism is a big issue, so we need to support that. And all over, roads and health care are front-and-center issues.”
WISCONSIN SENATE DISTRICT 17
Wisconsin Sen. Howard Marklein retained his seat on Tuesday.
“We worked hard during the campaign, and we worked hard during the last four years, and people responded to that,” the Republican said Wednesday.
He said that, moving forward, he will continue to focus on the rural issues he has in the past — roads, schools, broadband access and hospitals, especially as related to emergency medical services support.