Two county supervisors say they’re likely to seek state post held by Stroebel
The Republicans considering a run to represent the 60th State Assembly District are a familiar bunch — familiar not only to many Ozaukee County voters but to each other as well.
County Board Supervisors Rob Brooks of Saukville and Paul Melotik of Grafton both said this week they will likely run for the seat currently held by Duey Stroebel.
Stroebel, a Republican from the Town of Cedarburg who won the seven-candidate Republican primary and was elected to the Assembly in 2011, is running for the 6th Congressional District seat being vacated by Tom Petri.
“I’m 75% sure I’m going to do this,” said Brooks, whose 12-year tenure on the County Board includes nine years as chairman. “It’s a matter of who else is going to run. I have a lot of respect for Paul and Jake.”
Brooks was referring to Melotik and Jacob Curtis of Grafton, who stepped down from the County Board earlier this month. Both Melotik, who owns Fire Ridge Golf Club in the Town of Grafton, and Curtis, a lawyer with the Mequon firm Phillips Borowski, ran for the Assembly seat in 2011.
Curtis hasn’t ruled out another run, but he said Tuesday it is unlikely he will throw his hat in the ring, primarily because it would mean moving. Redistricting shortly after the 2011 election excluded Curtis’ house from the 60th Assembly District.
The 60th District now includes a large portion of Ozaukee County from Cedarburg to an area just north of Fredonia and Belgium with the exception of Grafton, which is in the 23rd District.
“It’s unfortunate they redrew the lines the way they did because it excluded me from the district I just ran in by about a block,” Curtis said. “If I were in the district, it would be an easier decision, although I don’t know if I’d want to run against Rob (Brooks) and Paul (Melotik).”
Melotik is in a similar situation. His primary residence is no longer in the 60th District, but his second home in Belgium is within the new district boundaries. He said he has consulted with state Government Accountability Board officials who said he can switch his primary residence to Belgium and run in the 60th District.
“Three years ago I worked hard to win the election,” he said. “You need to have a fire in your belly. I was a little surprised, but I still have that fire.”
One of the players other potential candidates were watching closely is Gary Wickert, a Town of Cedarburg supervisor who was edged by Stroebel in the 2011 Republican primary race for the Assembly.
Wickert, however, said Tuesday he has decided not to run because of an attorney general’s interpretation of a state law prohibiting lawmakers from accepting anything of value from a lobbyist or company that employs a lobbyist. According to the opinion written by then-Attorney General Jim Doyle before he was elected governor, the law applies not only to gifts but to fees rendered for service.
That is a problem for him, Wickert said, because he is a partner in the Hartford law firm Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, which counts among its clients insurance companies that hire lobbyists to represent their interests in Madison.
“I want to run but I can’t, and that’s OK because I’m certain we will have a nice conservative candidate whomever he or she may be,” Wickert said.
For Brooks, who owns the Saukville real estate firm Brooks Investment Group and two area taverns, being elected to Assembly would likely mean leaving his county post.
“People tell me you can do both, but realistically, I don’t think that’s possible,” he said.
Brooks stepped down as chairman of the County Board in February 2013 because of the failing health of his parents but remained on the board. Last week, he was elected vice-president of the board.
“I have to decide where I can do the most good — on the County Board or in the Assembly,” he said.
The only candidate who has registered to run in the 60th Assembly District is Democrat Perry Duman of Port Washington. Duman lost to Rick Aaron in the Democratic primary for the Assembly seat in 2011.
The deadline for filing nomination papers is June 2. A primary election, if needed, will be held Aug. 12. The general election is Nov. 4.