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Wisconsin Ag News Headlines
Rep. Al Ott Announces Plans to Retire from Politics
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/01/2016

One of biggest champions for Wisconsin agriculture in the state legislature says he's ready to call it a career. Third District Assembly Rep. Alvin Ott announced Thursday that he will not seek reelection this fall after 30 years of service at the state capitol.

The Forest Junction Republican was first elected to the Assembly in 1986. During his time in office, he successfully advanced legislation to create the dairy investment tax credit, helped enact the premises registration and livestock facility siting laws, and was instrumental in the creation of the Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council.

"I've had a deep love for agriculture in my heart that started back when I was a kid working on my grandpa's farm," Ott told Wisconsin Ag Connection. "I feel very blessed to have had such a great career and plan to spend a lot more time with family after my term is completed at the end of the year."

Ott served as chairman of the Assembly Agriculture Committee from 1995 to 2008, where he championed the Agricultural Renewal Initiative--a legislative package focused on investment incentives, agricultural modernization, and rural health care. He was credited in the early 2000s for holding farmer listening sessions throughout the state to get first-hand information on what Wisconsin's agricultural industry was facing. The information gathered at those forums was then passed along to state and federal lawmakers.

"I'm most proud of our work on the Ag Renewal Initiative," he noted. "For a while, it seemed like Wisconsin agriculture needed to get 'back on track.' California overtook us in milk production and there also seemed to be this generational transition taking place. But this package helped turn that attitude around."

A former farmer himself, Al was also successful in passing legislation that dropped sales tax on farm electricity, helped approved the original version of use-value assessment law for farmland, and was part of the group that revised the state's non-point pollution rules. In 2006, he was honored by the Wisconsin Farm Credit System with its very first Legislator Leadership award.

More recently, he was charged with leading the Natural Resources Committee in the Assembly. And he also chaired the Assembly Committee on Rural Economic Development and Rural Affairs.

Besides agriculture, Rep. Ott is credited for helping to increase penalties for repeat domestic abuse offenders, improving informed consent in tissue donation, requiring licensing of electricians, and recognizing and protecting the Niagara Escarpment in Northeast Wisconsin.

In a statement, Ott thanked his constituents for the confidence they have placed in him for over last three decades.

"I thank my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, for their hard work and friendship," he noted, adding that he was grateful to former Governor Jim Doyle, a Democrat, for allowing lawmakers to develop pro-farm policy, even though the governor didn't know much about agriculture himself.

Al also thanked his wife, Connie, and their four children for their support over the years. One of those children include Courtney (Ott) Booth, who served as Wisconsin's 50th Alice in Dairyland from 1997-98.

The 3rd Assembly District includes the communities of Appleton, Brillion, Combined Locks, Kimberly, Little Chute, Menasha, Sherwood and Stockbridge.

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