Election Preview: Wisconsin 33rd State Senate District
Two Waukesha County legislators – Paul Farrow and Chris Kapenga – are running for vacant seat in a special primary election on Nov. 6.
The road to Tuesday’s election has been a long partisan battle as voters will pick either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama for president.
But for some in the Sussex and Waukesha area, one race will be between two Republican candidates.
State reps. Paul Farrow and Chris Kapenga are running for the 33rd Senate District seat that was vacated earlier this year by former Sen. Rich Zipperer. Zipperer was appointed as the deputy chief of staff and senior counsel for Gov. Scott Walker in July.
Because the election is to fill the remainder of Zipperer’s term – through 2014 – a special election will be held Dec. 4. While Tuesday’s election is a Republican primary, there is no Democratic candidate, which signals for a win for whoever emerges from Tuesday’s primary.
Farrow is a licensed home inspector and owns House to Home Inspections. He is a former member of the Town of Lisbon's Richmond School Board.
Kapenga is a Certified Public Accountant who owns Integrated Time Systems, an international provider of Workforce Time Management solutions.
Kapenga and Farrow are both wrapping up their first term in the state assembly and have similar reasons for seeking the Senate seat.
Farrow said he’s running to continue the work they’ve already started in the state Assembly.
“It gives me the opportunity to represent three times the constituency as an Assembly seat,” Farrow said. “Each senator has three assembly seats in it. For me, I look at it as an advantage – there are three times as individuals I have contact with that help me develop good legislation.”
Kapenga’s interest in running for Senate was piqued as a freshman assemblyman who spent time talking with multiple senators who previously served in the Assembly.
“Every one of them says you can have significantly more influence on legislation (in the Senate),” Kapenga said. “That was a pretty big driver in our decision to run for the spot.”
How to Move Wisconsin Forward
Kapenga and Farrow both have different views about the next steps Wisconsin needs to take to move forward in the state.
For Farrow, an owner of a radon mitigation and home inspection business, education reform is key – from young children through college.
“I am hearing from people saying that the people coming out of high school are not completely ready for college and are definitely not ready to enter the workforce,” Farrow said. “We are starting to look at how we can redesign the education system so that the kids are better prepared out of high school so they can start their college careers or start their life careers.”
Kapenga, a certified public accountant, wants to take his business skills and develop solid finances for Wisconsin. He said he’d like to focus on the budget and job creation.
“That is really where my focus and my core strengths are at with my background,” Kapenga said.
The 33rd District seat has new boundaries this year in the wake of redistricting prompted by population shifts in the 2010 census. The district encompasses parts of Waukesha, Sussex, Merton, Hartland, Delafield and other communities.
Kapenga currently serves in the 99th Assembly District, and Farrow serves in the 98th Assembly District. Each will also appear on the Nov. 6 ballot in their Assembly districts.