RACINE — Longtime state Rep. Robert Turner, D-Racine, announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election in the newly-created 66th Assembly District.
Following that announcement, Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, said he plans to move into the new 66th Assembly District and run there in the fall election.
Turner, 64, was first elected to the state Assembly in 1990 and served 22 years as the representative for Racine’s 61st District. Turner, a Vietnam veteran, also served on the Racine City Council from 1976 to 2004, representing the 8th Aldermanic District along with his assembly district.
“I’ve been doing this for 36 years,” Turner said, combining his experience in the Legislature and with the city. “It’s time to move on and let someone else come in.”
In all that time, Turner said he only missed three meetings between the city and state.
“I tried to represent them in the most honorable way I could by attending all meetings,” he said. “It’s just you reach a point when your clock goes off and says quit now while you are ahead and your health is still good.”
Turner has been married for almost 44 years and has three sons, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
District boundary changes
After the 2010 U.S. Census, the Republican-controlled Legislature significantly changed state Senate and Assembly districts in Racine County.
Mason’s district would have shifted from mostly Racine to include Caledonia and stretch west of Interstate 94 into Raymond and Norway, which would make it a right-leaning district.
Mason said the new 66th Assembly District, which is just a few blocks from his West Racine home, includes many of the same people he currently represents in Racine. He plans to move into the new district before the November election and after the courts finalize the districts.
But Mason said with Turner retiring, “We will certainly miss his wisdom and experience … Racine and the state of Wisconsin owe him a great debt of gratitude for his public service.”
Mason has been considering a run for lieutenant governor in a recall election, but he said by staying in the Assembly he has a better opportunity to continue serving the Racine community.
For instance, he has been working on helping reduce infant mortality locally and revitalizing the Root River area.
“I really right now want to be in a position to work on these things on behalf of the Racine community. It makes more sense to go to the Assembly,” Mason said.
Also he said by serving in the Assembly, rather than becoming lieutenant governor, he will be able to better participate in the debate to undo some of the laws Republicans have recently passed. Much of the debate, Mason said, will likely be done in the Joint Finance Committee, which Mason currently serves on. Democratic Party leaders have also said Mason could be in line to become co-chairman of that powerful committee if Democrats gain control of the Assembly.
To move into the new district, Mason said he will either have to move at least four blocks east or six blocks south.
He and his wife bought their current two-bedroom house in 2005, but with three children now he said they needed to move to a home with more space.
“In that regard it works out,” Mason said.