Dane County Board Supervisor Dianne Hesselbein will declare her candidacy for the 77th Assembly seat currently occupied by Rep. Spencer Black, who announced plans to retire two weeks ago. A source sent The Sconz a copy of the press release that will be made available to other media outlets later this afternoon.
"As a concerned parent, local elected official, and community advocate, I have fought hard to protect the things that matter most to Wisconsin families good-paying jobs, affordable healthcare, and quality education for our kids," said Hesselbein. "We need real, progressive leadership on these important issues, and I'm running for State Assembly to take that fight to the state level."
Joining Hesselbein in her announcement are environmental advocate Steve Hiniker and Madison Alder Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, who will serve as the campaign's treasurer.
"More than any other candidate, Dianne Hesselbein understands what it takes to build a strong community," said Hiniker. "From tackling tough budget issues on the County Board to her tireless advocacy for quality, affordable education and a clean environment, Dianne has the energy and experience we need to get things back on track."
"Dianne Hesselbein represents the best in a new generation of progressive leadership," said Alder Bidar-Sielaff. "I encouraged Dianne to run for State Assembly because of her proven record of achievement on job creation, public safety, and so many other key issues. We need more leaders like her in the capitol."
Hesselbein becomes the eighth candidate to run for the 77th seat, but she joins a much more select group of candidates that insiders consider viable. At this point, her main competition is fellow board member Brett Hulsey.
The display of Hiniker's support in the announcement likely indicates the extent to which Hesselbein take Hulsey's candidacy seriously. Hulsey, another prominent member of the Board's liberal coalition, also positions himself as an environmental advocate. So far he has the endorsement of Council President Mark Clear, a close Council ally of the mayor.
Ald. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff is also a supporter of the mayor, but she dabbles with Progressive Dane forces a little more, as displayed by her support for PD board candidate Michael Johnson a few months ago.
Do not take either alder's endorsement as a signal of support from the mayor, however, look out for a mayoral endorsement in the future. In a race that will likely draw 6000-7000 voters, support from the best-known local officeholder will mean a lot.