Sen. Jauch Says Passion is Still There, But Tired
Posted at: 10/09/2013 10:15 AM
| Updated at: 10/09/2013 6:10 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
Longtime Democratic state Sen. Bob Jauch, of Poplar, announced Wednesday he will retire and not seek re-election in 2014. He has served in the Wisconsin legislature for 31 years.
In 1982, northern Wisconsin voters elected Jauch to the Assembly. Four years later he made the move to the Senate and has served the 25th Senate District ever since.
Jauch's district covers the northwestern corner of the state. It includes Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Price, Iron, Washburn, and part of Burnett counties.
"As you know from living in the north, it's the largest district and furthest distance from Madison. I've traveled over 750,000 miles and I've been involved in the most contentious issues in the legislature," said Jauch.
Those contentious issues, 67-year-old Jauch said, have bookended his political career. From the spear fishing treaty controversy of the 1980s and 1990s, to the volatile mining debate, where Jauch has been an outspoken opponent of Republican bills.
Jauch was also one of the 14 Senate Democrats who fled the state in 2011 in an effort to block passage of Gov. Scott Walker's proposal ending collective bargaining.
"I don't apologize for one second my passion. I've had to aggressively fight that the citizens of the north are treated as equals with everybody else," said Jauch. "Whether that be fair funding for schools, health care, economic development, or infrastructure so the north can thrive and grow."
Jauch said he loves his district and the people, but it's time to retire. He said he's not too old, just too tired to sustain the level of commitment and the high standard of representation his constituents expect.
Jauch made the announcement during a news conference Wednesday in the state Capitol. He said he made the announcement in Madison, rather than in his district, because they were in session. Jauch added the "system is broke" and "it was an important message to share in an institution that seems to be on weak knees."
State Representatives Nick Milroy (D-South Range), Janet Bewley (D-Ashland), and Stephen Smith (D-Shell Lake) released the following joint statement regarding Jauch's announcement:
"Although we are saddened by the loss of his wisdom and experience, we want to congratulate Senator Bob Jauch on his pending retirement. While the Legislature will lose one of its most intelligent, thoughtful and longest serving members, we understand the Senator’s desire to enjoy a well-deserved break from the long commute.
“Senator Jauch has served the people of Northwestern Wisconsin with compassion and courage in a way that few others have. He has been a tireless advocate for the needs of people who often do not have a voice in Madison. He has been on the forefront of issues that really matter and has been recognized for those efforts by groups as diverse as the Wisconsin Education Association Council - Friend of Education Award, the Wisconsin Counties Association - Outstanding Legislator Award, Arts Wisconsin - Arts in the Community Award, and Clean Wisconsin – Clean 16 Award.
“One thing that everyone could learn from the Senator is the importance of true bipartisanship. Time and time again over his 31 years in the Legislature, he has demonstrated the value of reaching across the aisle to come up with solutions that benefit the people of the state. He will be remembered for many things, but his legacy will be his commitment to put the needs of the people before politics.
“Our combined service doesn’t begin to compare to the number of years the Senator has been working on behalf of our communities. But we have learned from him in the short time we have been here, learned from his ability to carefully analyze the facts and the political realities and devise a strategy to obtain the best possible result. We hope in time to be the kind of legislator he has been.
“We thank him for his extraordinary career of public service and wish him and his wife Cecilia the best of luck as they start this new chapter of their lives.”