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Rep. Black to Retire from Assembly; Lassa to Seek Obey's Seat
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/11/2010

The political landscape in Wisconsin seems to be changing faster than the weather. On Monday, Rep. Spencer Black became the 15th member of the state Assembly to announce his retirement from the legislature this fall. The Madison Democrat, who chairs the Assembly's Natural Resources Committee, said he is stepping down after serving 13 terms as the representative of the 77th Assembly district.

"After serving 26 years in the State Assembly, I have decided it is time to pass the torch," Black said in a statement. "The opportunity to represent my neighbors in the legislature has been the greatest honor of my life. I take pride in the way I have served during my time in the Assembly as well as what I have been able to accomplish."

Black says he's leaving his post with a clear conscience, stating that he has never taken a campaign contribution from a Political Action Committee, nor a special interest committee, lobbyist, or from anyone from out of state. He also said he was most proud of his accomplishments in the area of environment protection.

During Black's years in office, he was instrumental in creating the Stewardship Fund, which has protected over 500 million acres of the natural heritage in Wisconsin. He was also involved with designing the current statewide recycling law and was the sponsor of newly enacted bans on phosphorus in lawn fertilizer and detergents to help clean up area lakes.

Meanwhile, the first Democrat to officially announce their candidacy for Dave Obey's seventh district congressional district seat is State Senator Julie Lassa of Stevens Point. In a statement of her own on Monday, Lassa said she knows firsthand the challenges facing Wisconsin families, small business owners and family farmers and wants to throw her hat in the race.

"The hard working men and women of our area deserve a representative who will keep fighting to turn our economy around, even when it means standing up to big special interests," Lassa said. "I have a track record of working to create good paying, family-supporting jobs."

Lassa currently represents the 24th Senate district, which includes Wood, Portage and Adams counties. She was first elected to the state Assembly in 1998, and then to the Senate in a special election in 2003. Unless she faces opposition within her own party, she will run against Republicans Sean Duffy and Dan Mielke.

Obey announced last week that he will not seek re-election after serving 42 years in the House of Representatives.

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