Optimistic that the third time will be a charm, State Representative Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) officially announced his candidacy for the 12th State Senate district seat on March 29.
Aboard his Wilderness Queen Wisconsin River Cruise boat in Rhinelander, Tiffany explained to the assembled group of media and supporters that successfully winning the seat would give him a greater impact in Wisconsin’s political world.
“I have decided the greatest impact I can have on building a better tomorrow for Wisconsin is in the state senate,” said Tiffany. “I am so grateful to the people of the 35th assembly district for allowing me to represent them in Madison. With the experience gained this session, now is the right time to take on additional responsibilities in order to fully represent all people of the 12th Senate District.”
The seat, which is being vacated by retiring incumbent senator Jim Holperin (D-Conover), encompasses a large area of northern Wisconsin, including Oneida, Vilas, Lincoln, Forest and Florence Counties, and portions of Langlade, Menominee and Marinette. It includes Assembly Districts 34, 35 and 36.
Tiffany said that, while Holperin’s retirement announcement made his decision to run easier, he likely would have run for the seat regardless. Tiffany has tried twice previously for the 12th District seat, garnering 47 percent of the vote against longtime incumbent Democrat Roger Breske in 2004, and 49 percent of the vote in 2008 against Holperin. Holperin was just coming off a successful stint as the State of Wisconsin’s Tourism Secretary, and had previously served as the Assembly representative from the 34th District. He was elected to the 35th District Assembly seat in 2010.
“In 2004, I was a relatively unknown novice candidate going up against a long time incumbent in Roger, and in 2008 I was caught in the wave of excitement for Barack Obama,” said Tiffany. “I think that this election will be a much better opportunity for Republicans.”
Tiffany pointed out that his experience during his current term in the Assembly has helped prepare him for this Senate run.
“Obviously the last year has been quite a ride down in Madison,” said Tiffany. “I think with the new foundation that we have set, we are poised for real economic growth in Wisconsin.”
Tiffany pointed out that he ran on a platform of three commitments to the voters during his campaign in 2010: to pass a legitimately balanced budget, to hold the line on taxes, and to reform the Department of Natural Resources. He said that, while there is still work to be done, he’s proud of the progress that’s been made in those areas.
“I feel that I have fulfilled the promises I made to the voters of the 35th assembly district, and will take the same approach when representing my new senate district constituents,” said Tiffany. “Some of the decisions my colleagues and I made were difficult, but they were necessary to lay a new foundation for future prosperity. If elected, I will work tirelessly to build a better tomorrow for the people of northern Wisconsin.”
Tiffany said that Holperin’s negative vote on the controversial changes to the state’s ore mining regulations last month was one of the deciding factors in his decision to run. While he is admittedly skeptical about sulfide mining, such as what would take place in the Town of Lynne in Oneida County, he said the ore deposit in northern Wisconsin can not only be harvested responsibly, it would bring a huge economic boost to the state.
“We need to strike a better balance to utilize this state’s natural resources,” he said. “We have an ore deposit in this state that encompasses between 15 and 20 percent of the total ore reserves in the country. At some point it will be mined. We need to be open to that.”
Tiffany said that he hasn’t heard of any other interest in the seat from his fellow Republicans in the district, but would welcome the challenge should it happen. When reached this week, Oneida County Democratic Chair Paul Knuth said that, while there are many Democrats interested in the seat, none have officially declared as of yet. He expects at least one Democrat to declare their intentions within two weeks.
Editor Craig Mandli is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.