WI Secretary of State race pits experience against change

Sec. Doug La Follette has held the office for 31 years

Wisconsin Secretary of State is not a position many people are familiar with, but the race is making headlines here in La Crosse with a local republican challenging for the seat.

At 33 years old, Julian Bradley is a relative newcomer to statewide politics.

For the past 31 years, Doug La Follette has been Secretary of State.

This sets up a classic political race between staying the course and creating change.

“It’s going to take a lot of work, it’s going to take a lot of grassroots work,” said Bradley. He is taking on 35 year incumbent Doug La Follette, but Bradley sees his opponent’s long years in office as an advantage for his campaign. “I believe it’s a benefit for my campaign because with that experience comes a record, and it’s a record of failure I’ve been highlighting since getting into the race since January,” said Bradley.

La Follette however, sees his experience as the big advantage. “I’ve been a college professor, I’ve been a State Senator, I’ve owned and operated my own business quite successfully, I’ve been the national public affairs director of a non-profit organization, those are credentials that make it sensible to be secretary of state, I don’t see that my opponent has those kinds of qualifications,” said Secretary La Follette.

It’s the classic political difference, experience or a new look, stay the course or make a change.

Both candidates do agree on one thing, restoring more power back to the office of Secretary of State, even if they don’t agree why those powers were taken away.

“We just did an interview where the Secretary admitted that he didn’t reach out to the legislature at all in regards to trying to save any duties or get anything restored, that’s a failure in communication and that’s the first step to making sure this office is effective and doing something for the taxpayers,” said Bradley.

“I have been advocating for  years that the duties that were taken away from the office that were business corporations, trademarks, uniform commercial code, should be restored to the office,” said Sec. La Follette.

Come November, voters will have a choice between a candidate that’s held the job for three decades, or a candidate that’s three decades old.

The Secretary of State’s office has several responsibilities including recording acts of the legislature, publishing state laws and preserving original copies of laws. They are also second in the line of succession behind the Lt. Governor, to take over the Office of Governor.

Secretary La Follette also held Secretary of State for a term in the late1970’s. After an unsuccessful run for Lt. Governor, La Follette was re-elected to Secretary of State in 1983.