Janesville69.9°

Robson decides not to run

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Catherine W. Idzerda
January 28, 2010
— It wasn’t an easy decision.

But after more than 22 years in the state Legislature, Sen. Judy Robson, D-Beloit, decided she will not seek another term.


“I’ve been doing a Brett Favre for a couple of months,” Robson said.


In November, she celebrated her 70th birthday, and the milestone prompted her to “meditate on things.”


“I think it’s time to look for other challenges,” Robson said.


Robson was first elected to the state Assembly in a special election in 1987. In 1998, she was elected to the state Senate.


She was the first woman to serve as Senate minority leader and the first to serve as Senate majority leader.


As minority leader, she served from 2005 to 2007. As majority leader, she served for nearly 11 months before being ousted by her Democratic colleagues after budget deliberations.


In a news release issued Wednesday, Robson listed what she is most proud of:


-- Her advocacy for affordable, accessible health care for everyone. She was an early advocate for SeniorCare and BadgerCare.


-- Being a voice for improving public health, including smoking prevention, smoking cessation and a statewide workplace smoking ban.


-- Being an advocate for district residents by securing urban river grants, fighting for severance pay for Beloit Corp. workers, working to keep automotive jobs in Janesville and bringing the four-year nursing and four-year engineering programs to UW-Rock County.


She would like to have been more successful her efforts to bring Metra trains from Harvard, Ill., to Janesville.


“We did a feasibility study and it didn’t work out,” Robson said.


So what’s next?


“Right now, I’ve got eight or nine months to serve in the Senate,” Robson said. “After that, I’m weighting all sorts of options. I might go back into nursing, or I might run for another office.”


Robson has a master’s degree in nursing and taught at Blackhawk Technical College before entering politics.


Robson doesn’t know which of her fellow Democrats will seek her Senate seat.


“We always look to the Assembly reps—Chuck Benedict, Mike Sheridan, Kim Hixson,” Robson said.


The 15th Senate District encompasses almost all of Rock County, Richmond and Whitewater townships in Walworth County, a tiny portion of Jefferson County and an even smaller part of Dane County.


In state elections, the district usually votes about 64 percent Democratic. In presidential elections, it drops to 58 percent.


WHAT OTHERS SAID

--Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville: “Senator Robson has much to be proud of in her legislative career, and we have much to thank her for—particularly her dedicated fight to increase access to affordable health care for all Wisconsinites.”


--Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison: “As a registered nurse, Judy always brings to her work a special appreciation for the impact of public policy on patients and their families. I so admired her leadership on health care reform that, in 2003, I nominated her for, and the American Medical Association awarded her, the prestigious Dr. Nathan Davis Award for outstanding endeavors by an elected official that advance public health.”


--45th Assembly District Rep. Chuck Benedict, D-Beloit: “She has been a trailblazer and a consensus builder during her time in Madison, and the residents of the 15th Senate District have benefited from her time in office.”



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