There may be a battle shaping up for one of the state’s most liberal legislative districts. The Democrat running to succeed longtime state Representative Spencer Black is Brett Hulsey, who’s been the subject of a critical ad by Green Party candidate Ben Manski. “He’s saying he’s for a different kind of politics, but these negative, misleading attack ads funded with out of state and out of district donors, that’s just the worst kind of politics,” Hulsey said recently during a rally for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. But Manski, who attended the same rally, said the ad is simply a contrast between his record and that of Hulsey, a former staffer for the Sierra Club. “Literally the day after he left the Sierra Club he was lobbying for the utilities,” said Manski. “The Sierra Club called him at the time a coal lobbyist.”
But Hulsey, owner of the environmental consulting firm Better Environmental Solutions, said he’s working to replace coal with renewable sources of fuel, including switchgrass. “We have a plan right now to displace half of Wisconsin’s coal use with switchgrass,” Hulsey said. Constituents in the west side Madison district need to know that he and Hulsey “have made different choices,” said Manski, an attorney. “What we’ve done in the past will have an impact on what we’ve done in the future.” The two candidates are vying to pick up the mantle of Black, who built a reputation as a leader on environmental issues during a 25 year career as a legislator.
One area of agreement between Hulsey and Manksi seems to be maintaining jobs at the UW Madison, which is part if the 77th Assembly District. Republican David Redick and Constitution Party candidate David Olson are also on the ballot in the heavily Democratic district.