Fred Clark served in the Wisconsin State Assembly from 2008 to 2114, representing the 42nd and 81st Assembly Districts.
In the Assembly, Fred was a champion of rural schools, protecting Wisconsin's environment, and deveoping strong, sustainable, economic growth for rural Wisconsin.
During his tenure in the Assembly, Fred served on the Speaker's Task Force for Rural Schools, and was a member of the Assembly Committees on Environment and Forestry, Natural Resources, and Education. Fred served as the ranking Democratic member of the Committee on Jobs, Economy, and Mining.
Fred is a career forester, arborist, and Wisconsin conservation leader.
Fred is a natural resource manager and consultant to the Huron Mountain Club of Big Bay Michigan, a 24,000-acre private forest including one of the largest and finest examples of old growth hemlock-hardwood forest in the nation. He has served on the Wisconsin Council on Forestry since 2004.
Fred is a member of the Wisconsin Arborist Association, the Society of American Foresters, and the Forest Guild.
As principal and owner of Clark Forestry, Inc., Fred served as a consultant and contractor to the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army, the Wisconsin DNR, the Sustainable Woods Cooperative, the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the International Crane Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the UW-Madison Campus Natural Areas, municipalities and hundreds of private forest owners and homeowners throughout southern Wisconsin.
In 2014, Fred founded Baraboo Woodworks, Inc., partnering with communities like the City of Madison to turn waste wood into quality lumber products - lowering disposal costs for taxpayers and creating opportunities for wood users in our communities.
It used to be that even though the election season onslaught of political ads might be annoying, over the top, or worse, you could still say that nobody could take away a citizen's right to vote.
Here in Wisconsin, however, the voting rights that were fought for as long ago as the founding of our nation and as recently as the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s are once again under assault.
In the last legislative session, voter suppression efforts were advanced through a rat pack of bills by Republican legislators, all making it harder, more expensive, less convenient, and in some cases just plain illegal, for citizens to actually vote.
Wisconsin Act 159 for example, authored by my colleague Rep. Duey Stroebel and signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker, created complicated restrictions for residents of nursing homes and group homes who vote using absentee ballots. Because there must have been lots of cases of residents of nursing homes voting fraudulently, right? Well it turns out that's never actually happened, ever, but according to the bill authors we should act to prevent it anyway. You couldn't make this stuff up, it's so absurd.
Wisconsin Act 146 -- also authored by Rep. Stroebel and also signed by our Governor -- prevents municipal clerks from opening their offices to accept absentee ballots on weekends, or after 7 p.m. weekdays. This new law will result in many more voters who travel away from home for work, or who farm or run businesses that require long hours, finding it impossible to get to a clerk's office to obtain or submit their absentee ballot.
The lynch pin in the effort to suppress Wisconsin voting rights is the Voter ID law, which could result in as many as 300,000 voters being prevented from casting their ballot. Seniors who don't drive, homebound citizens, college students and recently relocated residents all will find it much more difficult to exercise their most fundamental right if and when that law is allowed to fully take effect. Fortunately, the United States Supreme Court has stayed the application of the Voter ID law for now pending full legal proceedings.
Of course, the problems that are supposed to be solved by these new laws don't actually exist, and the Republican advocates for these laws are as smugly and cynically dishonest as it's possible to be about their motives. The fact is that all or most of the groups disadvantaged by these laws tend to vote for Democrats.
As the Beloit News wrote in a recent editorial on voter suppression laws, "the majority party has all the time in the world for their own self-interest, but no time for the issues important to the people they represent."
If you live in the 81st Assembly District, what you won't find when you go to the polls this fall is my name on the ballot. Fortunately a number of good candidates stepped up to run for the 81st Assembly District. I am supporting Dave Considine for the Assembly because I know he has the experience and abilities that make him the best fit to represent our district. All of the candidates of both parties for the 81st however should be applauded for running honest, positive campaigns.
I strongly support Mary Burke for governor. Unfortunately, it appears that Gov. Walker's greatest legacy in office will be almost four years of John Doe investigations for illegal campaign activity, ballooning state deficits together with huge cuts to public schools and essential health care for citizens, and a Wisconsin that has been dead-last in the Midwest in job growth. We have to do better than that.
I've gotten to know Burke this year and I am impressed with her focus, her management skills, her understanding of issues and her passion for making life better for everyone in Wisconsin. She will make an excellent governor.
Whether or not you agree with my assessment, I urge every eligible voter to exercise his or her right to vote.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to have served our community in the Legislature, and for the relationships we've built and the work we've done together for the last six years. My legislative office will remain open to until the end of the year so please don't hesitate to contact me if we can be of assistance. It has truly been an honor to serve as your state representative.
October 25, 2014