Janesville73.7°

Winner of 44th seat will have to move into district

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JAMES P. LEUTE
April 28, 2010
— The legislative grass apparently looks greener in the 44th Assembly District.

Two of the three people who have expressed an interest in unseating incumbent Mike Sheridan don’t live in the district.


Neither does Sheridan, the Assembly Speaker who last fall filed for divorce and is living just outside the district’s boundaries.


And the voting address of a fourth candidate isn’t clear.


First elected in 2004, Sheridan has not yet filed a declaration of formal candidacy for this fall’s election.


But he will run.


“Absolutely,” he said Tuesday. “We have a lot of unfinished business in Madison.”


Sheridan and his wife had maintained a Janesville residence on Nantucket Drive that is in the 44th Assembly District. In the divorce proceeding, the couple stipulated that the wife will live on Nantucket and Sheridan will live on Ruger Avenue at a home the couple owns that is not in the district.


State law requires a lawmaker to live in the Assembly district he or she represents. A government accountability board spokesperson said the law permits a temporary absence as long as the lawmaker intends to move back into the district.


Sheridan’s campaign website lists the Nantucket Drive address. His official Assembly web page lists his address as being on Sentinel Drive, the home of his campaign treasurer.


Sheridan said Tuesday he is living on Ruger Avenue.


“I certainly have every intention of re-establishing residency in the district,” he said.


Two Republican challengers announced their candidacy last week.


Joe Knilans, a former assembler and supervisor at General Motors, lives on Alpine Drive, about three blocks outside the district. He and his family, however, plan to move into the district whether he is elected or not.


“My daughter will be starting school at St. William’s full-time, so I would hope we can complete a move by the fall,” Knilans said.


He filed formal declaration papers with the state over the weekend.


Knilans said state rules mandate that a candidate establish and move into a district residence within 10 days of taking office in January.


Ken Brotheridge, another Republican challenger, works in the higher education system in Rockford, Ill. In a filing with the state, Brotheridge listed a post office box in Janesville as his address.


In a news release, Brotheridge said he was born and raised in Janesville, but he could not be reached Tuesday for a clarification of his current address.


Former Janesville assessor Charles Knipp also has filed a declaration of candidacy with the state as a Republican.


Knipp, who lost to Sheridan in the 2004 election, has lived in Madison for years and routinely drove to work in Janesville. He said that if elected he would move into the district.


“That’s the requirement, and I have no problem at all with it,” Knipp said.



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