RACINE COUNTY — Senate President Mary Lazich abruptly announced Monday she won’t run for re-election this fall.
The New Berlin Republican, who represents the village and town of Waterford in the Senate, issued a statement announcing she won’t seek another term. She didn’t offer any explanation. A message left at her Capitol office wasn’t immediately returned.
“It has been an immense honor and pleasure to serve the people of Senate District 28,” Lazich said in a written statement. “During recent years Gov. Walker and the Republican-led Legislature guided the state through turbulent times.
“While the work was hard, the reward is great. Wisconsin is much more fiscally secure and many government shackles have been opened. Wisconsin residents and business are much better situated to pursue life with less government intrusion and with freedom to live, educate, and work with greater independence,” Lazich said in the statement.
Lazich, 63, was first elected to the Assembly in 1992. She resigned from that body in 1998 when she won a special Senate election. Among her opponents in that primary was then-state Rep. Scott Gunderson, a Town of Norway farmer who is president of the Racine County Fair Board.
Lazich has served in the Senate ever since. She worked as the Senate’s president during the 2015-16 session and has served several stints on the Legislature’s powerful budget committee during her career in Madison.
Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now ripped Lazich in a statement Monday, calling her a “reliable reactionary voice to promote intolerance, racist dog-whistling and making women second-class citizens in our economy and at the doctor’s office.”
Republicans currently control the Senate 19-14. Democrats will have a difficult time trying to take Lazich’s seat in November. The 28th District includes portions of Waukesha, Racine and Walworth counties and leans heavily conservative.
Craig to seek seat
State representatives David Craig of Big Bend, Mike Kuglitsch of New Berlin and Ken Skowronski of Franklin, all Republicans, represent the area in the Assembly.
Craig, whose 83rd Assembly District includes the town and village of Waterford, said Monday he plans to run for Lazich’s seat. Kuglitsch said Craig is a friend and he has no plans to challenge him. Emails sent to Skowronski’s offices and aides on Monday weren’t immediately returned.
Kuglitsch aide Matt Spencer says Kuglitsch told him he didn’t see Lazich’s retirement coming and running for Senate wasn’t in his plans at the moment.