Waukesha Alderman Aaron Perry seeking 97th Assembly District seat

Published on: 3/28/2014

In the days after the embattled Rep. Bill Kramer announced he won't seek re-election for his state assembly seat, there haven't been a shortage of interested candidates.

Three local officials have said that they are considering the position, while one (Alderman Aaron Perry) has announced his candidacy for the 97th Assembly District seat.

Perry, who has lived in Waukesha since 2009, has been an alderman in the City of Waukesha for the last year. He represents the city's 12th district on the city's southwest side.

The other three who have expressed interest in the position includes Alderwoman Kathleen Cummings, Alderman Adam Jankowski and Town of Waukesha Supervisor Joe Banske.

If just one of them also declares their candidacy, there would be a Republican primary on Aug. 12.

Perry and Cummings are members of the Republican Party of Waukesha County, while Jankowski said he was going to register today at the party's offices in Waukesha. Banske said he hasn't donated to a specific political party over the years but has always voted Republican. 

Perry expects a Democrat to run for the position as well. The general election is Nov. 4.

Jankowski, an Army veteran who works at Dickten Masch Plastics in Nashotah, has been an alderman in the city since 2012. He said he will decide by Monday whether he will declare for the assembly seat.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," Jankowski said. "With him not running it leaves a void, so I might want to go for it now and capitalize on the Republican Party." 

Cummings, meanwhile, is no stranger to the position. She ran unsuccessfully more than a decade ago for the assembly seat, but has been a county board supervisor since 1998 when she, coincidentally, replaced Kramer on the board. Cummings has also been an alderman on the city's Common Council since 2001.

"As I seriously consider the run for the 97th state assembly seat I would bring to Madison a unique perspective as both a county supervisor and as an alderman with a proven track record of supporting small businesses, being a fiscal conservative and making tough decisions," she said.

Banske, who is up for re-election for his town supervisor seat, said he will make a decision on the assembly seat after the election on Tuesday. Banske is a mortgage banker /branch partner for Cherry Creek Mortgage.

While those individuals are still undecided, Perry, however, who works as a digital account executive for Journal Sentinel Digital Solutions, is all in on a run. The Journal Sentinel is owned by Journal Communications, which also owns Waukesha NOW.

Perry opened his campaign accounts on Thursday and said he plans on filing his paperwork on Monday.

"My mulling for the position is over," said Perry, who has two children (a 1 and 2-year-old and he and his wife, Angela, are expecting a third in September). "I believe I'm the best person to replace Bill Kramer. I'm very confident in my abilities and very confident that I'll win."

He said he has received full support from his family and was encouraged by members of the Common Council to run for the assembly seat.

Perry, 33, praised the work of Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican Party over the last few years in Madison.

"I think the position of alderman to the state assembly translates quite well because what I’m doing in the city relates to the state," Perry said. "It's a great opportunity. I'm ambitious and have a true passion for politics and have a respect for the position that it deserves."

He added that when he became an alderman last year he didn't necessarily have the intention of moving up to the state level so soon.

"I treat every opportunity individually," Perry said. "I didn’t run for the alderman position with the purpose of running for assembly. At the time, Kramer was doing a solid job. But it's a unique situation because of what happened. So after doing the research, I never found a road block."

The seat is open because Kramer filed paperwork Monday that he won't run again after accusations first surfaced earlier this month that he sexually harassed one woman and inappropriately touched another while in Washington, D.C.

Since then, charges have been referred by the Muskego Police Department to District Attorney Brad Schimel against Kramer on charges of sexual assault.

On Friday he was charged with two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault for allegedly groping a female legislative staffer in Muskego three years ago.