Jamie Taylor/river news
State Rep. Mary Felzkowski is flanked by, from left, State Senator Tom Tiffany, Rick Ross and his wife Myra Ross as she announced Monday, March 2 that she was running for the Tiffany’s seat as he seeks the congressional seat vacated by Sean Duffy.
Jamie Taylor/river news
State Rep. Mary Felzkowski announced Monday, March 2 at the Great Lakes Timber Professional Association that she would be running for the 12th Senate District seat. Looking on were Myra Ross and Henry Schienebeck, executive director of the GLTPA.
3/5/2020 7:30:00 AM Felzkowski announces run for state senate Seeks 12th senate district seat formally held by Tiffany
State representative Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) announced Monday she is running for the Wisconsin 12th senate district seat formerly held by Tom Tiffany, who is running for the seat in the 7th congressional district vacated by Sean Duffy last fall.
Felzkowski made the announcement at three stops in the district, including the Great Lakes Timber Professional Association in Rhinelander. The other two stops were in Merrill and Laona.
Henry Schienebeck, executive director of the GLTPA introduced Tiffany saying the congressional candidate has proven to be a strong supporter of the wood products industry while serving in Madison.
"And we really look forward to working with him as he moves on to serve Wisconsin in the 7th Congressional District," Schienebeck said. "And we're really looking forward to great things when that happens."
Schienebeck said that in Felzkowski, the region will continue to have a strong leader.
Tiffany reminded those in attendance that he proceeded Felzkowski in representing the 35th assembly district.
"Mary has done just a terrific job representing the 35th assembly district over the last eight years," Tiffany said.
The state senator said he has been honored to represent the district, and that he hopes that Felzkowski will continue to be the "out-sized voice" he has been for the Northwoods in Madison.
"We want to make sure that the issues that are important to us up here is heard down in Madison," Tiffany said.
He challenged Felzkowski to continue protecting the property rights of people in the Northwoods.
"I think that Mary is very like-minded with me on that, and we have to be very vigilant about that, because it isn't that a lot of legislators don't care about property rights, they just don't dedicate the time to it because it doesn't effect them in the same way that it does right up here," Tiffany said.
He alleged that Gov. Tony Evers "has forgotten about northern Wisconsin."
"His emphasis has been benefiting Madison and Milwaukee and not taking care of northern Wisconsin," Tiffany said. "You see it with the vetoes that are out there."
He said there are a "bunch of people" qualified to represent the residents of the 12th senate district.
"We have a deep bench as conservatives and Republicans here in northern Wisconsin, especially in rural Wisconsin," Tiffany said. "But I don't think there is anybody better than Mary Felzkowski to represent the 12th senate district. I know she will do a terrific job, I know she will be diligent, she has the experience of being a leader and a servant. Having served on the finance committee, she knows how the money is spent in Madison, she knows areas that should be reformed in terms of our budgetary concerns."
"Mary has always been a leader no matter where she's been, and I know she will continue to do that as a senator from the 12th senate district," he added.
Felzkowski acknowledged that she has been following in Tiffany's footsteps to the assembly, and hopefully the senate.
"It's easy to do when you're following someone who has integrity and courage and the ability to stand up to special interest groups - which he has done - and not compromise your integrity in any way," Felzkowski said.
She said she got her integrity and drive from her father, who started a Christmas tree farm.
"And that is what northern Wisconsin is all about - integrity and values and the courage that people up here have," Felzkowski said. "And I feel very honored to be able to have the ability to represent them."
She said that people think of farming as being the number one industry in Wisconsin, overlooking the importance that the timber industry plays in the state's economy.
"They don't think about logging and the forest products industry. It's number two in this state and it's well over a billion dollars," Felzkowski said. "And the jobs it produces in the northern part of the state are intricate and integral to this part of the state. Family supporting jobs are not found all over, and this is one of the mechanisms we can do to preserve that."
She said that there are a lot of rights and values in the state that need to be protected, including property and gun rights.
"When you talk about protecting the Second Amendment rights, that just goes hand-in-hand with our entire constitution and freedom of speech and what we need in northern Wisconsin for our constituents," Felzkowski said.
She said after her last re-election, she got 20 minutes to sit down with Evers, who she had worked with as a member of the joint finance committee when he was the state school superintendent. He asked her what her biggest concern was.
"And I said please do not forget about rural Wisconsin and don't forget about northern Wisconsin. We have our own needs that are different from the rest of the state," Felzkowski said. "Sadly, in his first State of the State, Gov. Evers never mentioned rural Wisconsin once. And, as Tom said, his veto message was a direct attack on northern Wisconsin, whether it was our schools, our roads, are mental health care facilities; all the things we have special needs for up here, they were ignored.
"So, hopefully, going forward we will get a little more attention out of him."
She said that in the eight years she has served in the assembly, the northern part of the state has seen tax cuts and more funding to schools. She also mentioned the rural task force on schools she co-chaired with Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander). She said that task force highlighted how the needs of northern schools are different from the southern part of the state.
"And with Tom's help in the senate, we were able to accomplish a lot of that," Felzkowski said.
She said that many of the businesses in northern and rural parts of the state don't have over 1,000 employees, but there are a lot of jobs that employee between 25 and a few hundred jobs.
"Those are the people that we cannot forget because they are our job creators," Felzkowski said. "They are the ones that are important to us. So as we move forward, and hopefully if I am lucky enough, and I hope I am, to represent the 12th senate district, we are going to focus on things around tourism. We are going to focus on things around manufacturing, property rights, cutting taxes and rural growth because we have products, goods and services that we need to get to the mills."
She said transportation and the educational system in the senate district is another area that she will focus on if elected.
Jamie Taylor may be reached via email at jamie@rivernews online.com.
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