As one state official announced his retirement Monday, another announced her candidacy to fill the vacancy in December.
After 14 years in state government, Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) decided to not seek re-election for a third term in the senate, the senator announced in a statement Monday morning. Moulton will retire from the State Legislature when his term is up in December.
Shortly after his announcement, Rep. Kathy Bernier (R-Lake Hallie) announced she was running to replace Moulton in the 23rd Senate District, during an announcement in Lake Hallie Monday morning. Bernier has been part of the assembly since 2010 and previously served as the Chippewa County clerk and as a board member with the Village of Lake Hallie.
The 23rd District Senate race will appear on the ballot for the Tuesday, Nov. 6 general election, among other local and statewide elections.
The relationship between the two candidates is “very close,” Bernier said, and her decision to run to claim the vacancy Moulton leaves came during conversations between the two.
“I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity, so I decided I would run for the Senate and fill as best I can the shoes of Sen. Terry Moulton,” Bernier said. “He’s a man with a big heart, and I hope to follow in his footsteps.”
According to his statement, Moulton’s decision to retire comes from a sense of accomplishment in his work at the state level.
In a news release, Moulton said he has seen success in his goals of working for smaller government, a reduced tax burden and a better jobs climate. He thanked his family, his staff and Jesus Christ.
“Making the decision not to run again was difficult for me, but I am looking forward to serving the community in new ways in the future,” Moulton said in Monday’s statement.
Should voters elect her to Moulton’s current position, Bernier said she is hoping continue work on education and employment, specifically in attracting more workers to the state.
This summer Bernier is also hoping to help re-write the state’s tax code to do more with sales tax and limit the amount of dependence Bernier said the state has on income and property tax.
“I think Kathy is a very strong candidate, well known in the area and well known in the district,” Moulton told The Herald Monday afternoon. “She carries a very strong conservative message… I will support her 100 percent.”
Despite running as a Republican, Bernier emphasized her desire to work with both sides of the aisle when speaking with The Herald on Monday.
“When we run as partisans, often times media and some partisan folks like to focus in on the differences rather than the agreements,” Bernier said. “I have a healthy respect for the opposite party I’ve always worked well and respectfully toward them
Bernier said she will be active in local districts both as a representative and as a candidate.
Moulton served two terms in the state Assembly before he was elected to his first Senate term in 2010 representing the 23rd District. This past session he served as chairman of the Senate agriculture committee. Moulton has also served on the sporting committee, the Joint Legislative Counsel, the Governor’s Council on Tourism and as vice-chair of the Senate Building Commission and the Health and Human Services Committee.
Moulton’s decision not to run comes after Democrat Patty Schachtner upset Republican state Rep. Adam Jarchow for an open seat in northwestern Wisconsin’s traditionally red 10th Senate District.
To learn more about the Nov. 6 election, visit elections.wi.gov/elections-voting.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.