District 50 Candidate Art Shrader rails against tribalism
Democratic Assembly Candidate Art Shrader feels tribalism is the greatest challenge facing District 50.
“People don’t ask the question of why, instead they say ‘I’m a Democrat’ or ‘I’m a Republican,’” Shrader said. “We’ve gotten to the point where family members don’t talk to family members and neighbors don’t talk to neighbors… that’s not what this country is about.”
District 50 covers all of Juneau County and parts of Monroe, Richland, Vernon and Sauk counties.
Shrader has run for the seat before. In 2016 he faced off against Ed Brooks and received 42 percent of the vote to Brooks’ 58 percent. But Shrader believes there were circumstances in 2016 out of his or Brooks’ control, and that 2018 will be different.
“I ran in 2016 against Ed Brooks because I thought that the system was rigged against the people here in the 50th,” Shrader said. “The people here deserved a champion that would fight for them. And since then, nothing has changed.”
Shrader has a bachelor of arts in Political Science and History from Winona State University and a degree from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also served in the Marines and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He works at WCCU Credit Union as a business loan officer and lives in Reedsburg.
Shrader plans to secure more resources for public schools, advocate for an end to gerrymandering and establish high-speed internet in rural areas.
“People here are going without resources,” Shrader said. “Frankly, I’m quite tired of the idea that Dane county is more important than Juneau County.”
As a community banker, Shrader feels his experience will help when it comes to Wisconsin’s budget.
“I read through the entire state budget,” Shrader said. “There are a lot of things in there that could be fixed.”
In particular, Shrader feels the level of Wisconsin’s borrowing is unsustainable.
“The state of Wisconsin is borrowing money for current needs,” Shrader said. “If you’re going to say you’re about fiscal responsibility, you’ve got to do it, you can’t just say it.”
Promoting competitive districts is also a core part of Shrader’s platform.
“When you gerrymander a district so that it favors one party or another, you eliminate competition,” Shrader said. “And when you eliminate competition, you get stuck with people who just say yes to their party’s desires. That’s not in the best interest of the people.”
Shrader emphasized that running against Brooks and voicing his differences of opinion is not personal.
“Ed’s a good guy,” he said. “I have no problem with Ed.”
If elected to the Assembly, Shrader hopes to be a leader in the legislature.
“I have no intention to be a benchwarmer,” Shrader said.
Wisconsin’s infrastructure is something Shrader hopes to see improved, both in roads and rural internet access.
Shrader also feels the Foxconn deal suggests money can be found for vital public projects.
“If we could find 4.5 billion dollars for a Chinese company, I’m sure we can find a billion dollars to wire the state,” Shrader said. “We’re falling behind.”
If elected, Shrader plans to have regular town halls with constituents and hear feedback.
“I don’t just want to hear from people who support me. I want to hear from Republicans, I want to hear from Independents, I want to hear from everyone.
Voters in the 50th Assembly District will decide on their representative Nov. 6.