Knilans breezes to 44th Assembly win
But the opportunity to square off against Rep. Mike Sheridan, D-Janesville, to represent the 44th Assembly District is one he welcomes.
Knilans easily won a four-way Republican primary Tuesday to advance to the Nov. 2 election against the three-term incumbent Sheridan.
“I knocked on an awful lot of doors and listened to people,” Knilans said. “Their concerns were my concerns: They’re worried about getting jobs back to this district, businesses back to this state and controlling state spending.”
Knilans is a former assembler and supervisor at General Motors who now works for J.G. Innovations of Janesville. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UW-Whitewater.
In winning all but one of Janesville’s 23 wards, Knilans defeated political newcomer Kenneth Brotheridge, Janesville City Council member William Truman and former city assessor Charles Knipp.
“My message will continue to be the same: We need to bring jobs back to this district,” Knilans said. “Our current representative has failed us in that regard.
“He promised to get a new GM plant here, and he failed miserably in that. The plant closed, and a lot of people resent that.”
Sheridan was unopposed in the Democrat primary. He was first elected to represent the district in 2004 when he defeated Republican Ty Bollerud and independents Steve Trueblood and Knipp. Sheridan defeated Republican Fred Yoss in 2006 and was unopposed in 2008.
In 2009, fellow Democrats vaulted Sheridan to the powerful position of Assembly Speaker. The Janesville native holds an associate degree from UW-Rock County and had a 31-year career at General Motors, including two terms as president of United Auto Workers Local 95.
In a statement released shortly after the polls closed, Sheridan thanked his supporters and said the choice between him and Knilans will be clear Nov. 2.
“While some want to roll back the tax reform we’ve made to hold huge corporations accountable for their fair share, my focus will always be supporting middle class families, helping them make ends meet through deductions for health insurance, child care, college tuition and retirement,” Sheridan said in the statement.
“Janesville has suffered in this recession, and people here must have a representative who’ll take action to turn things around.”