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Waukesha's Kathleen Cummings is sixth and final Republican in District 97 state assembly race

June 2, 2014

Kathleen Cummings had been interested in the District 97 state assembly seat for more than two months.

But the longtime Waukesha County Board supervisor and city of Waukesha alderwoman said she wasn't going to make a decision on whether she would run for the position until after her daughter's wedding at the beginning of May.

The wedding has passed and Cummings has made her decision. She's all in.

Cummings joins a crowded field of Republican candidates that also includes fellow city alderman Aaron Perry, former town of Waukesha supervisor Joe Banske, real estate sales director and former city of Waukesha alderman Scott Allen, Humana consultant Brandon Rosner and GOP activist Vince Trovato.

Ready to run

"When we talk about family values, I needed to be present in the moment as being the mother of the bride," Cummings said about holding off on making her decision. "After (the wedding) I was focused on the decision."

But it wasn't until after a trip to her home state in Ohio over Memorial Day to see family that sealed the deal.

She returned to Waukesha, collected more signatures to be eligible for a spot on the ballot, and then submitted the necessary paperwork last week. (Candidates had until June 2, to file their nomination signatures.)

She looked at the field of candidates and said none can match her experience.

"I wanted to offer a clear choice," Cummings said. "I believe my conservative candidacy offers a clear choice as I have worked for (the people's) interests for the last 15 years. I'm the only one who can say that. I can point to what I've done."

Public profile

Cummings has been a mainstay in the local government scene over the last 15 years.

She has been a supervisor on the county board since 1998 and an alderman on the common council since 2001.

Cummings also most recently considered a run at the city of Waukesha's mayoral position this past spring. She filed a campaign registration statement but did not turn in her declaration of candidacy papers.

"At the time for my family, it was not the right time," said Cummings, who has three adult children and takes care of her autistic son.

Cummings says now is the right time for her to run for the state seat.

If elected, Cummings has specific goals she would outline.

"I want to be that conservative voice that will support our veterans, to end our wasteful spending and abuse of state programs and to keep the talent right here in Wisconsin for jobs," Cummings said. "I would be a voice for special needs families and the aging population in Waukesha County."

She said she has "a proven track record" in cutting money to help taxpayers. Cummings cited being a catalyst in reducing the city's cemetery budget for this year by $18,000 in advertising and another $15,000 in consulting.

"That's a clear example of cutting wasteful spending," Cummings said. "Over the years I've cut wasteful spending on other things for the city to save money."

The race ahead

A Republican primary will be held Aug. 12. The winner will advance to the Nov. 4 general election.

The primary ballot has a somewhat similar look as the city of Waukesha's aldermanic election in 1998, when Cummings also faced Allen, who won the seat and served on the city's council for three years.

Despite announcing her intentions later than the other candidates in the District 97, Cummings doesn't feel at a disadvantage.

"It just means I have to work harder and not let up," Cummings said. "But I didn't get into the race if I didn't think I would win."

The race has a rash of candidates because the incumbent, Rep. Bill Kramer (R-Waukesha), is not seeking re-election. Kramer is facing sexual assault charges in Waukesha County.

The 97th Assembly District includes the southern half of the city of Waukesha, the southwestern portion of the town of Waukesha, the southeastern portion of the town of Genesee and the northeastern portion of the town of Mukwonago.

All of the candidates are city or town of Waukesha residents.

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