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Rashkin to run for 44th's seat

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
October 4, 2011
— Janesville Councilman Yuri Rashkin will seek a 44th Assembly District seat as a Democrat.

The seat is held by freshman Rep. Joe Knilans, R-Janesville. Knilans has told the Gazette he intends to run for re-election in November 2012.


The district includes most of Janesville.


Rashkin's announcement means a Democratic primary will be needed in September. Kevin Murray, a Democrat and Janesville School Board candidate, announced in June he would seek the 44th Assembly District seat, too.


Rashkin will not seek re-election to the city council in April. He will have served four years.


Rashkin, 36, of 4406 Windfield Way, Janesville, moved to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1988.


He is employed part-time by the Madison Media Institute, works as music director at the Luther Memorial Church in Delavan and works as a court interpreter.


He said he is running for the Assembly so "together we can restore respect for the working men and women of Wisconsin.


"Respect for our teachers, for local control of our communities and even for the basic right to vote," he said.


"Joe Knilans has been nothing but a rubberstamp for (Gov.) Scott Walker, someone who turned his back on those who worked with him at the GM plant and who ignored demands of his constituents to stand up to Scott Walker."


Rashkin was involved in a public argument with another council member when Rashkin walked out of a Forward Janesville event after the banquet but before Walker spoke. He said he did it to protest Walker's agenda.


Walker proposed cutting most collective bargaining rights of public employees and requiring state workers to pay for half of their retirement contributions.


Councilman Frank Perrotto said Rashkin's actions were partisan, even though the council is nonpartisan. He said Rashkin should not have shown disrespect to a governor who might help Janesville in the future.


"I stood up and objected to Gov. Walker because I strongly oppose his policies and his undemocratic, exclusionary approach to governance," Rashkin said in announcing his candidacy.


"Vilifying teachers and public employees while passing legislation that seeks to destroy collective bargaining and public education hurts our local businesses and leaves Wisconsin at the mercy of out-of-state interests."


He said he believes in fair pay, a secure retirement and protecting the environment.


Rashkin said he would work to restore education funding and bring jobs to the district if elected.


Rashkin said he is proud to have helped hire City Manager Eric Levitt. As accomplishments, he cited his support of government transparency and his suggestion to begin talks between Janesville and Beloit city councils.


Rashkin is past president of Janesville Noon Lions and Janesville Toastmasters. He is president of United Arts Alliance. He created the Janesville Mile marketing concept for downtown Janesville and hosted the Discover Janesville TV program.



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