Caledonia resident and political newcomer Randy Bryce announced Tuesday that he will run as a Democrat for the 21st Senate District seat, which includes most of Racine County.
Bryce, 49, has lived in Caledonia for nine years and works as an ironworker. He will run against the winner of the Republican primary where candidates Van Wanggaard, of Racine, and Jonathan Steitz, of Pleasant Prairie, are running for the Republican nomination.
Wanggaard served on the Racine County Board for 10 years and was elected in 2010 to represent the 21st Senate. The term started in 2011, but he left office after losing to Democrat John Lehman in the recall elections of 2012. Lehman is not seeking re-election for the seat and is running for Lt. Governor. During the 2011 recall elections, Steitz also ran against Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha) and lost.
Bryce is running for office to stop the partisan games, and stop the attacks on veterans, he said. He served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer from 1983 to 1986, is divorced and has a nine-year-old son.
“The people I talk to are sick of the extremism,” Bryce said. “There seems to be no middle ground with the Republicans. And you are not seen as ‘with them’ if you are not behind them 100 percent.”
Bryce also criticized Gov. Scott Walker for the job creation failures in Madison because Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs.
“I have always put my community first,” said Bryce, “After the partisan games of the last sessions allowed partisan redistricting, attacks on veterans and a job creation failures, I knew I had to stand up for the community that I love.”
Bryce ran for the 62nd Assembly race, but lost in the primary in 2012. He worked on Rob Zerban’s campaign when he ran against Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) for the first congressional district. Bryce has also been an active member with the Ironworkers Union.
“It is time to stop the single-party rule in Madison that jammed through countless pieces of harmful legislation without regard for the impacts on our communities,” Bryce said. “From making it harder for veterans to obtain compensation when dying from service-caused mesothelioma to the failure to keep up with our neighboring states in job creation, our community deserves better. I am running to give the 21st State Senate District the representation it deserves.”
Wanggaard, 61, and Steitz, 39, largely agree in supporting Walker’s efforts to reduce taxes and the size of government, Steitz believes that he’s the “reliable conservative.”
As a former lawyer, Steitz said he is qualified for the job because he ran his own small business, has an MBA from Northwestern University and works in financial services for Robert W. Baird & Co., in Milwaukee.
“We have not had as reliable conservatives that can lead the charge,” Steitz said. “I want to be a leader in the conservative movement and support Governor Walker in leading reforms in the tax code.”
But Wanggaard, who is a retired Racine Police officer, argues that he’s got a strong track record of cutting taxes and shrinking the size of government.
“At this point, we’ve got a primary to deal with first. So we’re going to focus on knocking on doors, going to events and meeting new people from the new district,” Wanggaard said. “It’s all about record, not rhetoric. It’s making sure that people know how we got to where we are at.”