Former Town of Waukesha Supervisor Joe Banske running for District 97 state assembly seat

Published on: 4/16/2014

A second candidate has made it official in the District 97 state assembly race.

Joe Banske, who spent four years as a Town of Waukesha supervisor before being voted out earlier this month, joins Republican candidates City of Waukesha Alderman Aaron Perry and Brandon Rosner as well as Chuck Schilling in declaring their candidacy.

Banske said last week that he was 80 to 85 percent sure he would run for the seat and after receiving positive remarks at his final Town of Waukesha board meeting from residents he knew he wanted to continue to serve in a larger role. 

"It is official," Banske said on Wednesday. "Last week's town meeting and some of the things the residents said to me both publicly and privately and some of the emails I’ve gotten over the last two weeks started to put the finishing touches on that final 15 percent."

Banske, a mortgage banker/branch partner for Cherry Creek Mortgage, lost to Jim Radke in the Town of Waukesha supervisor's race on April 1 by 73 votes.

As a supervisor last year, Banske voted for the town to be in the City of Waukesha's future water service area after previously voting to exclude a majority of the town. 

Banske said he changed his vote because he said he helped get a condition put in place in the agreement that says the inclusion is only conditional if the city obtains a Great Lakes Diversion. He said he had conversations with City of Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak during this process. 

"If the city doesn't get the diversion we don’t want to be in," Banske said.

He added this shows that he's willing to "roll up my sleeves and dig into the nitty-gritty details."

Banske became a supervisor in 2010 when he won a recall election. Since then, he said he has taken an analytical approach when making decisions. He said his decisions have resulted in lower property taxes over the last four years.

He also says that what makes him stand out is the fact that because the town has a small staff he has learned first-hand the inner-workings of budgets, the finite details of contracts and studying items such as the Great Lakes Compact and the West Waukesha Bypass. 

"I think everybody is going to have the exact or very close positions on all these issues relating to education or taxation, but there’s an experience factor that people can rely on with me," Banske said. "I have a set of principles and stick to those. I never came to a town meeting with limited or half the information, because I did what was necessary to make an informed choice." 

Banske and his wife, Jennifer, have lived in the Town of Waukesha for 10 years and have two children.

If elected, Banske would push for private businesses to team with local schools to encourage more partnerships and apprenticeships. His wife is a STEM and Project Lead the Way coordinator, which fosters science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools.

Losing his town seat didn't deter him from running for this position, he said. He heard that some residents who didn't vote for him in the town election would give him their vote in this election. He said residents told him this simply had to do with the current dynamic of the town board.

"It’s a very different election," said Banske, while adding that he feels misinformation, propaganda and deceptive tactics were used against him in the most recent town race. "And even with that, I still almost won."

With both Banske, Perry and Rosner running as Republicans, a primary will take place Aug. 12.

City of Waukesha Aldermen Kathleen Cummings and Adam Jankowski, both Republicans, previously said they were interested in the position. Both have yet to announce whether they will run for the position.

The position is open after Rep. Bill Kramer, who is facing sexual assault charges in Waukesha County, decided to not seek re-election in November.

Editor's Note: Libertarian candidate Chuck Schilling did not file the necessary paperwork with the Government Accountability Board and will not appear on the ballot.