Op-ed: Hansen will support workers, families, and small businesses
Retiring State Senator Dave Hansen is a legend in Wisconsin politics who has earned his status by being a staunch, and sometimes fiery, advocate for the interests of workers, families, and small businesses in the 30th Senate District. Sen. Hansen’s replacement is going to have big shoes to fill. The good news for those of us in the 30th District is that City of De Pere Alderman Jonathon Hansen, the senator’s nephew, is ready to step into the role and carry on Sen. Hansen’s legacy of fighting for his constituents in Madison.
Sen. Hansen understands the problems facing workers and their families in Northeast Wisconsin because he has deep working-class roots in Green Bay. He and his wife, Jane, raised their family here After graduating from UWGB, Sen. Hansen taught and coached at Annunciation Catholic School in Green Bay, drove a truck for the City of Green Bay, and was a Teamster’s union steward. He served on the Brown County Board from 1996 until 2002 and has served the citizens of the 30th District since 2000. During various terms, Sen. Hansen served as the Assistant Majority Leader or the Majority Leader of the State Senate. He once made the national news by leaving the state with a group of his colleagues which frustrated the efforts of former Governor Scott Walker to pass anti-worker legislation.
Sen. Hansen was popular throughout his career because he is genuine and likeable. He is the kind of politician who attentively listens to his constituents and tries to understand their point of view. Then, he candidly shares his opinion and explains why he feels that way. People trust him because he says what he thinks and he wears his heart on his sleeve. Anybody who has talked to Sen. Hansen over the years knows how much he loves Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin. They also know that he cares about the people who live here and he wants what is best for them.
Ald. Jonathan Hansen, the state senator’s nephew, is vying for the chance to be the next state senator from the 30th District. But first he needs to defeat former healthcare executive Sandra Ewald in the primary on August 11 and attorney Eric Wimberger in the general election on November 3.
Ald. Hansen is attempting to win the seat his uncle will vacate upon retirement, but he shouldn’t be confused with politicians who ride the coattails of family members into politics. The alderman has deep working-class roots in Northeast Wisconsin. His dad worked at a beef processing plant and his grandfather owned a farm and worked for a lumber company. Alderman Hansen helped his dad with a newspaper route on the weekends when he was a kid to help make ends meet. While in high school, he worked at a grocery store and continued working outside of the classroom while in college in order to help pay his way through. Those experiences gave Ald. Hansen first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to work paycheck to paycheck, which makes it easy for him to understand the difficult circumstances that so many people throughout the district are facing on a daily basis.
A state senator’s job is to advocate for the constituents within the district, specifically and the people of the state, in general. Like his uncle, Ald. Hansen understands the challenges facing the people in the 30th District and throughout Wisconsin. His education and his experience as a public servant will enable him to have an impact in Madison. Ald. Hansen holds an undergraduate degree from UW-Madison and a Master’s degree from Marquette. He ably managed one of Sen. Hansen’s re-election campaigns and has earned a reputation for being a pragmatic and effective alderman on the De Pere City Council.
As an alderman, he worked to promote small businesses by introducing sweeping reforms to the downtown facade grant program in De Pere. His proposal made the program more attractive to small businesses and led to a surge in investment and commerce downtown. Earlier this year, he pushed for a small business pandemic relief program. The City of De Pere ultimately introduced a 0 percent, payment-deferred loan program that made loans of up to $10,000 available to small businesses in De Pere. If elected to the state senate, Hansen plans to propose an overhaul of the way that state development aid dollars are spent so that the funds are primarily spent on locally owned small businesses rather than large, out-of-state corporations like Foxconn.
As a working person, it comforts me to know that there is a candidate in the race for the 30 District seat who understands the needs of working people, families, and small businesses. I trust Ald. Hansen to take the torch from Sen. Hansen when he retires because he has the decency, compassion, and integrity to represent us in the way that we deserve. He also has the education, experience, and skills to get things done in Madison. Please join me in supporting Ald. Jonathon Hansen to be the next state senator from the 30th District.
Jarrett Brown is a factory worker, activist, and voter who lives in the 30th Senate District in Green Bay. He is an active member of the Democratic Party of Brown County.