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Editorial: Rhoades represented area well

State Rep. Kitty Rhoades (R-Hudson) has announced she won't seek reelection to the Wisconsin Assembly in November. We wish Kitty well in any future endeavors.

People may or may not always agree with her politics, but there is one thing we know for sure about Kitty--she was a strong representative. Kitty was never afraid to make waves in Madison and promote the issues of Western Wisconsin. This vicinity had a strong voice in Madison in the person of Kitty Rhoades.

Rhoades, 58, has represented the 30th Assembly District for the past 12 years. Her current two-year term ends in December. She said she intends to fill out the term.

"Our lives come in phases, and it's time to move on to the next phase now," said Rhoades. She is announcing now to give potential candidates time to make their decisions before the election filing period opens in June.

Rhoades was part of many accomplishments during her tenure in Madison. To name a few:

--She was the first Republican Assembly woman to serve as co-chair of the legislature's budget-writing panel, Joint Finance Committee. During that session, Joint Finance successfully approved a budget that stopped over $15 billion in tax increases while leaving the state with the lowest deficit in the past 12 years.

--She helped pass legislation that makes it harder to buy cold medications that are a key ingredient in manufacturing methamphetamine. That law served as a model for subsequent federal legislation.

--Rhoades, who currently serves on the assembly's Aging and Long-Term Care Committee and Health and Healthcare reform, also helped create a program giving individuals with long-term health care needs direct control of their health care dollars.

"Twelve years ago, I told you I didn't set out to become an elected official--my life led me there," Rhoades said. "Now the time has come for my life to lead me on to a new phase."

Rhoades, a 1969 graduate of Hudson High School, earned her bachelor's degree at UW-River Falls. She has worked as a teacher, a small business owner and a chamber of commerce president before being elected to the assembly.

We suspect that Kitty will be successful at whatever venture comes her way in the months and years ahead. We thank Kitty for her years of service and leadership in representing Western Wisconsin in the assembly.