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Rep. Schmidt won’t seek re-election

By Staff | Jan 28, 2010

District 7 House of Representative Arlo Schmidt, D-Maddock, says its time for new blood in the legislature.

Schmidt, 78, who has served nearly 17 years as a state lawmaker, including the past nine representing District 7, recently announced he will not seek re-election later this year.

“I’m getting up there in age,’ Schmidt said. “It’s a decision I’ve thought about for some time and part of me thinks I’m letting my supporters and residents down by not running again, but this provides a chance for some young people to step forward.”

Schmidt will certainly miss his time serving his fellow district residents and working with fellow district legislators.

“I enjoyed the hearings…the chance to get input from the citizens,’ he said. “That’s where you really see how the bills are going to affect people positively and negatively.”

He first represented District 12, serving for eight years. As a result f redistricting in 2002, Schmidt’s home region became part of District 7, which he ran for a seat and was elected.

Arlo served most of his time on two committees – tax and finance and transportation.

“This last session the tax and finance committee was able to get 70 percent state funding for local schools,’ he said. “That was a goal set in 1995 by those legislators who were part of that committee back then. We wanted the state to pick up a bigger share of those education costs rather than leave it on the backs on property owners.”

The large budget surplus, in large part to increased oil activity, enabled lawmakers to appropriate more state funding for K-12 education.

Schmidt recalls his earlier sessions when lawmakers felt good about finishing with a small surplus. “If we had $10 million left over that was a big deal,’ he said.

Now the state enjoys a $1 billion surplus and Arlo believes the state can sustain its healthy financial picture for years to come by making sound fiscal decisions.

Although he won’t run again, he still has work to do this year representing the district which includes the counties of Pierce and McHenry and parts of Benson and Sheridan counties. Schmidt will attend regular committee meetings which is customary during the off-legislative year.

Those committees will address issues that will get attention during the 2011 session. One he pointed out was additional funds to help rural ambulance, paramedics and fire departments keep operating, and more importantly, find qualified people to staff those vital services.

His decision not to run will afford Schmidt more time to spend with family and friends.

“It’s been a tremendous experience to represent two districts,’ he said. “I’ve made a lot of friendships.’

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