Two more candidates have emerged in the quest to win the 89th District Assembly seat vacated last month by veteran lawmaker John Nygren.
Karl Jaeger of the Town of Peshtigo and Elijah Behnke of Oconto both intend to run for the position.
Jaeger, a Democrat, lost to Nygren on Nov. 3. About a month later, Nygren resigned to accept a position as executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Health Plans. He held the 89th District seat since 2007.
Jaeger, a supervisor on the Marinette County Board, in a statement, said he wants “an honest dialogue about the serious issues affecting the residents of the district.”
He continued, "I spoke with hundreds of voters leading up to the November election, and we all hold the same shared values of wanting to live in a place where we have a clean environment, affordable healthcare, great schools and good jobs.”
Jaeger said citizens don’t need more gridlock or partisan games in Madison. "We don’t need more empty promises, misleading press releases, or name calling," he said. "We don’t need more corporate lobbyists telling our representatives how to vote.”
Jaeger said he is committed to his friends and neighbors in the 89th Assembly District and he is ready to go to work for them.
"If they elect me as their representative, I am prepared to sit down with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to coordinate a state-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic; restore the state’s commitment to fund at least two-thirds of K-12 costs; enact responsible regulations for PFAS and sulfide mining; make health care more affordable for all Wisconsin families; raise the minimum wage; and expand broadband internet access in our rural communities," he said. "I am ready to get to work for every citizen of the 89th Assembly District.”
Voters can follow Jaeger’s campaign on his Facebook page facebook.com/JaegerForWisconsin.
Behnke, in a statement, said, he is a lot of things, "Small business owner, ministry leader, outdoorsman, farmer, but most importantly, he’s a husband and father."
Behnke said he is a native of this district and he currently is raising his family in Pensaukee.
“I was born and raised here in the 89th Assembly district. I am beyond honored to be running to represent this area," he said. "Representative Nygren leaves a record of success built on trust and hard work. Growing up on a farm taught many lessons that shape my north woods principles, how to grow and provide for your own food, and to look out for one another.
"I want to bring my common sense conservatism and homegrown values to Madison. I'm a hometown entrepreneur. I realize that to be successful you need to stay within your means and invest in your community."
Behnke currently owns and operates a residential and commercial cleaning business in the district.
He is a former youth pastor and a current ministry leader at his church. He also currently is a farmer who said he understands the troubles that many rural residents are facing.
Behnke said he is an outsider who will shake up the "Madison swamp" and will represent the residents of the 89th District with fresh ideas, grit and determination.
More information on Behnke can be found on his Facebook page, Elijah Behnke for Assembly.
Jaeger and Behnke join two others who intend to run for the position. Marinette small business owner Mike Kunesh and Green Bay small business owner Debbie Jacques both previously have announced they will seek the job. Both are Republicans.
The 89th Assembly District covers parts of Marinette, Oconto and Brown Counties. The spring election is April 6. If necessary, a primary will take place Feb. 16.
Nomination papers are due by 5 p.m. on Friday.