By Kyle Maichle, Editor of Wisconsin Election Watch,
NEENAH – Jay Schoreder (R-Neenah), a GOP candidate for Secretary of State, issued a statement on Thursday voicing his support for legislation sponsored by Representative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh, 53rd District) to get rid of the office he is running for in 2014.
Schroeder is in support of Assembly Joint Resolution 48, which would be a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Office of Secretary of State. “I believe that this is a great step forwards towards empowering the people via referendum to eliminate this office,” says Schroeder. “The introduction of this bill by our state legislators shows that my opponents’ platforms for the office are focused on taking the state backwards”.
One of Schroeder’s primary challengers, Bill Folk (R-Racine), launched his campaign in December on the idea of restoring the Secretary of State’s office to its intended functions. However, Schroeder points out the difference between his opponents on staffing levels in the Secretary of State’s office from 1995 to 2013.
The 1995 state budget saw staff reductions in the Secretary of State’s office when Governor Tommy Thompson created the Department of Financial Institutions. Before DFI was created, the Secretary of State was responsible for handling business licensing. Before the 1995 budget was enacted, the office had a staff of 49.5 and a budget of $6 million. After DFI was created, the Secretary of State had its staff reduced to 6.5 with a budget of $3 million. Currently, the office has a staff of only 4.5 with a budget of over $1 million.
“When I testified at the committee hearing regarding AJR 48, I supported the idea of eliminating the office. I still support it, and am running for office on that very idea. It is important that we close the books on this office and save the taxpayers the $1,000,000 that this office is costing,” stated Schroeder.
AJR 48 has been co-sponsored by various legislators including Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette, 89th District), Rep. Mike Kuglistch (R-New Berlin, 84th District), Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa, 5th District), and Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan, 9th District).