Democrats Zunker, Dale enter 7th Congressional District race

Primary Feb. 18, special election May 12


By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor

WISCONSIN – The field of candidates vying to fill the vacancy in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District continues to grow, with Democrats Tricia Zunker of Wausau and Lawrence Dale of Eagle River announcing their bids early last week.

Governor Tony Evers announced the special election will be held May 12, 2020, with the primary taking place Feb. 18.

Wausau School Board President, Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court associate justice and 7th Congressional District candidate Tricia Zunker.

Zunker, 39, was elected to the Wausau School Board last year and currently serves as Board President. She was elected as an associate justice of the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court in 2013 and was reelected in 2017. She teaches remotely from her office in Wausau as a professor at the California School of Law, where she serves as dean of faculty, along with University of Maryland’s legal studies program and Colorado State University’s Global Campus in the criminal justice department, helping non-traditional students “achieve their academic goals that would not be possible in a typical brick and mortar setting,” according to her campaign’s website.

She is the state’s first Native American Congressional candidate in almost 30 years, and would be Wisconsin’s first Native American member of Congress if elected.

“I definitely want to see that working families have access to affordable health care, see lower prescription drug prices, want help for our farmers, and want to ensure our environment is protected,” Zunker said.

Dale, a businessman and Vietnam veteran, has a Master’s degree in industrial labor relations from the University of Oregon. In Congress, Dale says he plans to focus on bringing well-paying jobs into the district, securing universal healthcare, protecting natural resources and fighting climate change.

Lawrence Dale, right, talks to a worker, Angie, in the Burger King in downtown Wausau.

“I am running because this is a critical time in our nation’s history,” Dale said in the statement. “The policies of the Trump Administration are endangering our democracy and the principals upon which our country was founded. We must defeat the Trump Administration and its corruption at the polls in this special election and again in November and restore the strength of our democratic institutions.”

So far, Zunker and Dale are the only two Democrats in the race. The Republican field currently consists of State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), Army veteran Jason Church of Menomonie and Edgar businessman Michael Opela Sr.

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