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Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Race For 44th District Seat, Democrat Primary Heats Up

by Lucy Faraday

With only two weeks to go until the election for the hotly contested 44th District Assembly seat for Wisconsin, the race to the finish line is beginning to heat up.  With four Democrats standing for election against, unopposed Republican Primary Joe Knilans, the result on August 14th, looks like it will be a close thing.  Key issues in the campaign include unemployment, women’s rights and education, all matters close to the hearts of Janesville people and Wisconsin people as a whole.

Candidate Profiles

So who is standing in the 44th District Assembly race and what sets them apart from each other? As with many elections personalities will no doubt play a key role, but it is issues that will probably win the day. This year the Democrats are looking at four candidates to choose from; Yuri Rashkin, Sam Liebert, Kevin Murray and Deb Kolste all hoping to gain the Primary position and then go on to topple Joe Knilans on the 6th of November. Lets take a quick refresh of the candidates and what they aim to achieve.

Yuri Rashkin

Yuri Rashkin, 37 moved to the USA from the Soviet Union in 1988. He previously held a seat on the City Council for the last 4 years from which he stepped down in April 2012 in order to concentrate on his campaign for the District Assembly.

Yuri is a keen follower of women’s rights and the arts. Creatively minded himself, he has pursued a successful music career alongside his political ambitions. Yuri has built his election campaign platform around core ideas such as improving women’s rights, helping small businesses grow and expand, protecting the elderly, the importance of public education, protecting the environment and encouraging more transparency in government. He has gained strong support from women’s, environmental and art based groups and seems to be a strong contender in the primary race.

Sam Liebert

Wisconsin born and bred, Sam Liebert has been living in Janesville since the age of 5 when he moved there with his single mom and younger sister.  Sam has actively worked for several progressive Democratic campaigns locally and nationally including the campaign for President Barak Obama and has a considerable interest in grassroots politics.  He has a clear vision of community improvement and working towards making the Janesville community more prosperous, both economically and spiritually.

Sam believes in working from the bottom in order to achieve true social change and has been famous for campaigning for such issues as women’s rights and a stronger investment in the public school system.  However Sam’s key issue is providing people with jobs; specifically good, well paid, family supporting jobs, and it is around this that he has built his platform for the election on 14th August.

Deb Kolste

Debra (Deb) Kolste is another candidate with a clear community focus. Deb has been working in community-focused roles for the last 18 years and has been a Janesville School Board member for the last 9 years.  Her key focuses for her platform are centred on education, women’s rights, transparency in government, workers rights, job creation and the provision of healthcare to support poorer families in the community.

Kevin Murray

Another born and bred Wisconsin boy, Kevin Murray seems to be particularly focused on getting to know all of his potential constituents and has been focusing on door knocking as a key part of his campaign, so that the people of Janesville can really get to know him and what he is about. He is centred on core issues such as improving public education and transparency in government, but in addition to this Kevin is keenly interested in public services such as the Fire, Hospital and Police departments, in order to make Janesville a safer place to live.

Wisconsin Deserves The Best

All of the Democrat candidates are in agreement that Janesville and Wisconsin deserves better than the current incumbent Joe Knilans, although clearly they all believe that they will be the best replacement for the position on the assembly. It is certainly true that the beautiful city of Janesville with it’s amazing architecture (20 % of our buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places), honest decent people, beautiful parks and access to inspiring scenery and countryside ideal for experience days and family gatherings, definitely deserves to be looked after. The community of Janesville deserves to be heard and it is up to you, on August 14th, to decide who is going to stand against Joe and hopefully make Wisconsin a place to be even more proud of.

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