Wanggaard and Bryce are on the ballot, Thompkins a write-in

By Patricia Bogumil

Staff Writer

Wisconsin’s 21st Senate District election features a race between a former incumbent and two political newcomers.

Van Wanggaard, who represented the 21st Senate District until being recalled in 2011 – in large part over Act 10 and his support of Gov. Scott Walker – is fighting to regain his former position.

VoteButtonFlag webPolitical newcomers Randy Bryce, a Democrat, and independent write-in candidate Bill Thompkins are fighting to win election to the 21st.

The district’s current incumbent, state Sen. John Lehman, is on the Nov. 4 ballot as a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

Lehman chose not to seek re-election to the 21st after boundaries were redrawn, making it a Republican-leaning district.

Wisconsin’s 21st Senate District includes the Racine County villages of Rochester, Union Grove, Mount Pleasant, Sturtevant; City and parts of the Town of Burlington; and towns of Yorkville, Norway, Dover, Raymond.

In Kenosha County, the district includes Twin Lakes, Silver Lake, Salem, Paddock Lake, Brighton, Paris, Bristol, Pleasant Prairie and Randall.


Van Wanggaard

Wanggaard said he is seeking election to help ensure the interests of hard-working taxpayers are represented in state government.

“That’s exactly what I did during my last term in office. This is exactly what I will do again ­– stand up for the taxpayers, lower taxes and enact more reforms that will put the people of Wisconsin back to work,” he said in his candidate statement.

Van Wanggaard

Van Wanggaard

Wanggaard said when he first ran​ for the state Senate in 2010, he did so because he was concerned about the direction of the state under the Doyle administration.

Wisconsin had experienced record job loss, double-digit tax increases, and a whopping $3.6 billion deficit, he explained.

Contrast that with how things are today, Wanggaard said. “During my time in the Senate, we made decisions that led to the addition of over 100,000 jobs in Wisconsin and thousands of jobs in the 21st District, ” he said.

Today, the budget is balanced, taxes are lower and the economy is moving in the right direction, he said.

“However, there is still work to be done,” he added. Wanggaard hopes to be part of that solution, explaining that legislators need to continue to cut income and property taxes, pass pro-job economic reforms and reform government by eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in programs.


Randy Bryce

Bryce, on the other hand, said Republicans who control the Legislature have not used their majority power to keep the promises they made.

Randy Bryce

Randy Bryce

“The majority of Wisconsin citizens have been neglected while corporate special interests have prospered,” Bryce said in his candidate statement. “This needs to stop and, when elected, the people – not big money – will be heard.”

Most pressing issues to be faced include creating jobs for citizens, making sure public funds used for education are used to educate, and stopping what Bryce said are the Republicans’ attacks on U.S. veterans in order to benefit the health care lobby.

He points to Gov. Scott Walker’s unfulfilled promise to create 250,000 jobs; a lack of tax incentives for Wisconsin businesses to hire local rather than out-of-state people; a lack of accountability for voucher schools that compete for public funds; and the recently passed Senate Bill 13 which, Bryce said, makes it near impossible for veterans with asbestos-related health issues to receive state help before they die from the disease.

Bryce also criticized as irresponsible a reported $1.8 billion state budget projected shortfall. “After all the cuts Wisconsin has had to suffer, being irresponsible with our money will make us face further cuts we cannot afford,” Bryce said.


Bill Thompkins

Thompkins is running a write-in campaign after not securing enough signatures in time to have his name appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Thompkins sees a problem with how both the Republicans and Democrats act when in office.

Bill Thompkins

Bill Thompkins

In his candidate statement, Thompkins said he is seeking election to restore the balance of power to “we the people.”

“The Republicans and Democrats have forgotten whom they serve – they serve their parties and interest groups,” Thompkins said. “We have a responsibility as the people to elect people who listen and respond to our concerns.”

Thompkins said the civil discourse in the state must change, and Wisconsonites must fight together “for the betterment of all classes, races, for the future improvement of our state.”“We must and can be pro-business, pro-family and pro-environment at the same time. This has to be about a sustainable Wisconsin,” Thompkins said. “When we allow the national political parties or interest groups to control us, we lose.”

Thompkins said if elected he will use the skills he has honed working with various ethnic, socio-economic and politically diverse groups to listen to people’s concerns, and keep the focus on solution.

Van Wanggaard

Address: 1246 Blaine Ave., Racine.

Age: 62.

Resident of district: 60 years.

Occupation: Retired law enforcement officer and small business owner.

Education: Graduate, Racine Lutheran High School; coursework, UW-Parkside, Gateway Technical College, Racine Police Academy, Northwestern Traffic Institute, John F. Kennedy University.

Political experience: Racine County Board, 2002-2010, State Senator, District 21, 2011-12.

Organizations: Lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, Racine Moose Lodge 437, Wisconsin Professional Police Association, Racine County Line Rifle Club, Racine Zoological Society.

Family: Married with two adult children, two granddaughters.



Randy Bryce

Address: 4940 Chester Lane, Racine.

                  Age: 49.

Resident of district: 10 years.

                  Occupation: Ironworker, Chase Construction.

Education: Graduate, Rufus King Prep; attended UW-Milwaukee.

Political experience: None previous.

                  Organizations: Officer,Ironworkers Local 8; Executive Board member, Milwaukee Area Labor Council; veteran, U.S. Army.

Family: Divorced, one son



Bill Thompkins

Address: 4414 Northwestern Ave., Mt. Pleasant.            Age: 60.

Resident of district: 40 years.

Occupation: Pastor, 36 years, Fellowship of Christian Believers; administrator, Child Harbor Learning Center; executive director, Nehemiah Project.

Education: High school graduate.

Political experience: None previous.

Organizations: Director, Racine Community Outreach Coalition. Also see associations in Occupation, above. The Racine Gardens of the Nehemiah Project is a non-profit organization and ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Believers.

Family: Six children, 12 grandchildren.