Rhinelander native Susan Sommer became the latest person to throw a hat in the ring for public office, as she announced her intentions to run for the 12th District State Senate seat at a press conference in Rhinelander May 3.
Sommer, a Rhinelander native and 1978 graduate of Rhinelander High School, is running as a Democrat for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jim Holperin (D – Conover). Sommer, who now lives in Phelps and works as an associate attorney with the law firm of O’Brien, Anderson, Burgy & Garbowicz, LLP in Eagle River, is the second Democrat to declare their intentions to run for the seat, joined UW-Stevens Point professor Lisa Theo of Tomahawk.
“Partisan politics are tearing this state and this country apart,” said Sommer Thursday. “We have to elect politicians that will work for the common good of the people they represent, not their personal ideology.”
Sommer said that jobs and the economy are the topics that people are most worried about right now. She said she knows first hand how difficult it can be to find living wage jobs in the Northwoods.
“When my husband and I moved back home to northern Wisconsin in 2008, we did so without jobs,” said Sommer. “It took us a long time to find work, so we know how difficult this economy has been on the people up here.”
Sommer said she’s been strongly considering a run for office for several years, and nearly decided to run for the 34th District Assembly seat as an independent before choosing to run for Holperin’s seat as a Democrat.
“I’ve always considered myself an independent thinker, but the reality is that we live in a two party system, and it can be very difficult to win an election as an independent,” said Sommer. “I chose to run as a Democrat because that party has the ideals that I most respect and most match my own.”
Sommer received her law degree from Marquette University in 1987, beginning her career as a prosecutor in the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office. She left the field in 2004 to join the Americorps program, where she built houses with Habitat for Humanity in South Carolina. It was there where she met her husband, Tuck.
“I get fulfillment serving others,” she said. “I have skills that I can offer to help others. That’s a big reason why I’m doing this.”
Whoever wins the September primary for the seat will likely face Tom Tiffany (R – Little Rice) in the November general election.
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