State Representative Bob Ziegelbauer announced Monday that he is a candidate for reelection to the State Assembly – but not as a Democrat. Ziegelbauer, of Manitowoc, said he’ll campaign as an independent. “Everybody knows that the party system is broken,” Ziegelbauer. “It’s dominated by the special interests on both sides, on both parties. My priority is the people of this communitty, and I’ve always been an independent voice for the people of this community, and this fits me much better than that broken system would.”
Ziegelbauer has won nine elections as a Democrat to the Assembly, where his conservative voting record has often put him at odds with the party. And Ziegelbauer said that Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan’s decision to remove him as chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee was retaliatory, because Ziegelbauer had voted to prohibit payments to hospitals which perform certain abortions. “Yes, that underlined for me how out of step the Democratic Party machinery was getting,” he said. “I admired John and Robert Kennedy when I was growing up. They were pro-life and pro-growth Democrats. They cared about doing the right thing for real people, and they understood that the best thing we could have was a growing economy that gave people lots of opportunities to work. We need so badly to turn this state around, that just follwowing the old broken system’s pattern of special inetrest group against special interest group, and payoffs for campaign contributers, that won’t work. We need our economy back on the path to prosperity, where people have opportunities to enjoy living in our state.”
Ziegelbauer’s decision to run as an independent means he won’t have to face Democrat Kerry Trask of Manitowoc in the September primary, but will have to best Trask and Republican candidate Tyler Martell in the November general election. In addition to serving in the Assembly since 1992, Ziegelbauer was elected Manitowoc County Executive in 2006.
Brian Norton, WOMT