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Assembly District 30: Zimmerman defeats Hammarback

Shannon Zimmerman gained his second term Tuesday in the Assembly, where he said he hopes to continue working to diminish the polarization in state politics.

“The businessman in me wants to be a new breed of representative in state government, where we’re focused on progress and deliverables and negotiation,” Zimmerman said late Tuesday. “Sadly, the polarization drives both me and, I think, everybody, nuts.”

The River Falls Republican topped Democrat Barry Hammarback in the race for Assembly District 30. Zimmerman won 12,716 to 9,851 in St. Croix County. Hammarback bested the incumbent in Pierce County 2,573 to 1,886, though town of River Falls results had yet to be tabulated by RiverTown Multimedia’s press deadline.

Zimmerman, co-founder of River Falls-based Sajan — later sold and operated through the Amplexor firm — was elected to the Assembly in 2016. He serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Excise Taxes and Fees. Zimmerman also serves on the Colleges and Universities, Education, Ways and Means, Jobs and the Economy, the Tourism committees.

In a Q&A with RiverTown Multimedia, the 46-year-old said his private-sector experience shapes his approach to politics.

“That common sense, results-driven philosophy is what is needed in government and I offer it,” Zimmerman said.

He said he supports the state’s Foxconn project in Racine County, which Zimmerman said will boost the Wisconsin supply chain.

“Many suppliers have already started opening businesses in Wisconsin to support Foxconn and that creates even more jobs and revenue for Wisconsin,” he said in the Q&A.

Zimmerman said he has “sincere respect” for Hammarback after the race, which the incumbent called a “mutually very positive campaign.”

Hammarback emerged as a political newcomer and, like Zimmerman, did not face a primary challenger.

Hammarback is an attorney and founding partner of Hammarback Law Offices in River Falls, where he works as a civil litigator specializing in stray voltage litigation, agricultural law and civil mediation, according to a bio on the firm’s website.

The 66-year-old told RiverTown his River Falls connections positioned him well to represent the district in the Legislature — and to elevate the region’s standing in Madison.

“All the time I have lived here, I’ve felt that we in western Wisconsin have been left out of effective participation in state government,” he said.

Hammarback opposed Foxconn, telling RiverTown the project is “a poorly thought out, poorly executed financial disaster that will cost taxpayers for decades.”

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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