Maryann Zimmerman, a Whitewater School Board member, announced she will run as a Republican for the 31st District Assembly seat, setting up a contested primary in August.
Ellen Schutt, a Darien native who currently lives in Clinton, also is running in the district as a Republican. The seat is currently held by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, who is leaving the Assembly to run for secretary of state.
Whoever wins the Aug. 9 Republican primary will move on to the general election Nov. 8. No Democrats have announced a run in the district so far.
Zimmerman said in her announcement she originally planned to run for state Senate in the 15th District, which stretched into the town of Whitewater in Walworth County, but under new district boundaries put in place last week by the state Supreme Court, she no longer lives in that district.
Zimmerman was elected to the Whitewater Board of Education in April 2021.
She said she will continue to serve on the school board if elected to the Assembly. Her school board term does not expire until 2024.
“Serving on my local school board has been an amazing experience,” Zimmerman said. “I have learned a lot and being allowed to serve my fellow neighbors, friends and parents has been an honor.”
She said she is accustomed to serving her community.
“For the past eight years, I have served on local boards and commissions as well as volunteered in our community. I currently serve on both the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunity Commission for the city of Whitewater,” Zimmerman said.
She went on to explain how important children and lower-income families are to her.
“My role as a parent-to-parent advocate includes acting as an advocate, mentor and friend to parents of children with special needs. Professionally, I have been the director of the Walworth County Food and Diaper Bank. I have been a presenter at a national conference on poverty and basic needs for women,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said she sees five major issues facing the 31st Assembly District:
- Struggling small businesses.
- School districts that are struggling to make their budgets work.
- Housing shortages.
- The need for more manufacturing and agricultural jobs.
- Assurance that our freedoms will be protected regardless of emergency situations.
“My goals are to introduce bills for SMART grants to our public school systems, supporting universal school choice, promote racial unity, draft bills that give tax breaks to new small businesses, and foster strong relationships with community, educational and business leaders to attract and keep citizens in our community,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman’s opponent, Schutt, previously worked on Loudenbeck’s Assembly staff. She currently works for Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc.
The new 31st Assembly District covers most of the northern half of Walworth County, a large portion of eastern Rock County, including the east side of the city of Beloit. Other incorporated communities in the district include the village of Clinton, the city of Whitewater, the village of Darien and the city of Elkhorn.