Popular Rhinelander buisinessman Rob Swearingen has decided to enter the political arena.
Rhinelander native Rob Swearingen, the longtime owner of the Al-Gen Dinner Club in town, officially announced his intention to run for the Wisconsin State Assembly in the 34th Assembly District as a Republican on April 17.
“Everyone knows that the most important issue facing Wisconsin today is jobs and the economy,” Swearingen said. “I plan to use my track record of success as a business owner to help build a better business climate that will translate into jobs for Northern Wisconsin.”
Swearingen is no stranger to the political arena, as he has served for the last 41/2 years as the President of the Wisconsin Tavern League, and has often gone toe-to-toe with legislators when it comes to laws that effect the league’s members.
“My involvement with the Tavern League has given me a glimpse inside the process,” said Swearingen. “Things have gotten very polarized in Madison…it’s frustrating to everyone.”
With nearly two decades of experience running a small business, Swearingen said he knows what it takes to balance a budget, how to create jobs and what needs to be done to further economic development in the region.
“Northern Wisconsin is not only a good place to live and work, but it is also a premiere vacation destination,” explained Swearingen. “Because the lifeblood of the economy in the Northwoods is tied to tourism, the state needs to do all it can to promote this vital industry, especially in the 34th District.”
Swearingen also pledged to work to protect taxpayers in Madison. “Wisconsin citizens are struggling right now,” Swearingen said. “The worst thing that could happen in this environment is for the government to put its hand out to take more from their pocket. While difficult, we must continue to control spending at the state level and protect taxpayers.”
Swearingen is a life-long resident of Rhinelander, graduating from Rhinelander High School in 1981. He and Amy will celebrate 20 years of marriage this year, and have two teenage daughters attending Rhinelander High School.
Swearingen said he’s considered running for office in the past, but decided to take the opportunity this year largely due to his frustration with the political climate in the state. He understands that running for office can often be difficult if the candidate is also a business owner, but said he’s never tried to hide his political beliefs.
“We have extremely loyal customers at the Al-Gen,” said Swearingen. “This very well could have a negative impact, but I feel very strongly that I’m making the right decison.”
The 34th Assembly District includes portions of Vilas, Forest, Florence and Oneida Counties including the communities of Rhinelander and Eagle River. The seat is currently held by State Representative Dan Meyer (R-Eagle River), who announced his retirement earlier this year.
“Representative Meyer was a well-respected Legislator and a strong voice for Northern Wisconsin in Madison. I look forward to working hard to represent the citizens of the 34th Assembly District in Madison much the same way he did.”
Swearingen joins a crowded field of candidates for the post, as already announced are Democrats Roberta Retrum of Eagle River and Merlin Van Buren of Rhinelander, Republican Alex Young of Rhinelander and Independent Todd Albano of Woodruff.
Editor Craig Mandli is available at email@example.com.