Schmidt wins GOP primary in 45th Assembly
ORFORDVILLE Beth Schmidt credited her involvement in the community and fairness to residents during her time on the Orfordville Village Board for helping her pull ahead of her fellow board trustee in the Republican primary for the 45th Assembly District on Tuesday.
Voters chose Schmidt, a server at Applebee's in Janesville, by a vote of 1,696-1,191 over Russell Rucker, a painter for Schmelzer Paint, to advance to the general election as the Republican nominee.
"I guess we're really ready to get back out there, talking to my neighbors and friends in the 45th—talk about how to bring jobs back to the 45th District," she said. "In the next few weeks, I hope to show a clear contrast between me and my opponent."
Schmidt will face Janis Ringhand of Evansville, who beat Beloit City Councilwoman Sheila De Forest in the Democratic primary Tuesday. Ringhand is the Democratic representative for the 80th District, but redistricting put her in the 45th District.
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, is the incumbent in the 45th, but redistricting put her into the 31st District. Under the new district lines, the 45th includes Orfordville, Evansville, much of the city of Beloit and the towns of Beloit, Avon, Magnolia and Newark.
Schmidt thanked her supporters and volunteers during a phone interview from Villa Pizza in Orfordville. She also said she looks forward to working with Rucker on the village board.
Schmidt was elected in spring 2011 to the village board, where Rucker is serving his second term. Schmidt won the village of Orfordville 105-35, which she said is a result of her involvement in the community, where she has lived for 27 years and raised three children.
When the village board faced decisions on sewer plant upgrades, she said she knocked on doors and got to know her constituents.
"I felt I've been very fair to people when they've come to the board … I think they've known that and respect it, and that's what you see in the vote," she said.
She said she would focus on talking to district residents "to continue to learn what we can do to move this district forward so when I get to Madison, we're ready on day one," she said.
"I obviously understand that we need the trades—we have a skills gap here—(and) also understand we need to be looking to bring small businesses and create jobs."
In talking to farmers and business owners, she said she's also learned of concerns about over-regulation.