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FIRST-TIME CANDIDATE KOHL NOT LOOKING BEYOND ASSEMBLY RACE
Democratic state Assembly candidate Dan Kohl today dismissed as “unfair, unfounded and presumptuous” speculation that his primary bid for the Milwaukee Assembly seat being vacated by Rep. Sheldon Wasserman is a stepping stone for a U.S. Senate run.
Although he has yet to even make it through a five-way primary, speculation about his motives has already surfaced and is fueled by the fact he is the nephew of U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, who may be looking for a strong Democratic candidate to run when he decides to retire. An Assembly run, the calculus goes, would be one test of viability. While joking that he should perhaps view it as a compliment, Kohl dismissed the notion that he harbors broader ambitions.
“I have no plan beyond serving in the Wisconsin state Assembly; I'm not doing this as a stepping stone,” Kohl said. “It is human nature to speculate, but I'm certainly not looking beyond this race.”
Other primary candidates include Andy Feldman, Guy Johnson, Sandra Pasch and Rosemary Ponik.
Kohl said he is running because he grew up in an environment where he was part of a tradition of hard work, community involvement and public service.
“I feel very strongly that I have the best mix of talents and experience to serve the residents in the 22nd District,” Kohl said. “One of the reasons this is such as natural fit is that I love the North Shore, I enjoy living in the North Shore; I've been here my entire life; I'm raising my kids here; They go to school here. I am tremendously excited by the opportunity to represent the district in the Wisconsin state Assembly.”
Kohl, a graduate of UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee, spent the majority of his professional career in management with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Working in business I do have an understanding of some of the challenges businesses face and some of the challenges we face in metro Milwaukee in modernizing our economy, creating more family-supporting jobs and more opportunities for young professionals,” Kohl said. “As a freshman legislator I feel like I could hit the ground running.”
Kohl also serves in a leadership role with a foundation that is working on bringing a boarding school for at-risk youths to Milwaukee, something that fits in with what he described as his top priority, education.
“High-quality education is the key to everything we do as a state,” Kohl said, adding that he is committed to maintaining outstanding public schools and ensuring the university system gets the support it deserves.
Kohl said he's been getting a lot of encouragement from residents as he's been knocking on doors -- three to five hours each day, more on weekends -- along with good ideas on addressing issues.
He's also won some support from potential legislative colleagues, he said, but declined to give names at this time.
In addition to knocking on doors, Kohl says he's been raising funds, distributing yard signs and attending community events. Today also marks the official launch of his campaign website: http://www.kohlforassembly.com
NOTE: Other 22nd District candidates will be profiled in future editions of Milwaukee Notes.