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DISTRICT 28: Candidate hopes to play a different political tune in Madison

Adam Bever, a band teacher at Unity High School in Balsam Lake, is challenging incumbent Wisconsin Assemblyman Erik Severson for the District 28 seat.

Adam Bever hasn't been thrilled with the representation this area has received under incumbent state Assemblyman Erik Severson. That's why he decided to run against the Republican in an effort to return a Democrat to the seat.

Bever said he felt the past two years have been a polarizing time in Madison and he wants to be part of a healing process in state politics.

"My whole goal is to talk to both sides on any issue," he said. "I think I have a gift for bringing people together and I think that's what we need at this time. I believe I can bring people together to get things done for our state and district."

Bever claimed that his opponent votes along party lines too often, and Severson hasn't been open to talking with those who didn't share his political viewpoint.

"Special interests and party came first," he said. "Constituents came last."

Bever said he was so frustrated by the process that led to the implementation of Act 10, which stripped public union employees of much of their bargaining rights, and other legislation in recent sessions that he complained loudly about what was happening.

"Then I decided it's better to do something about it rather than just complain," he said. "That's when I decided to run."

Bever said the 28th District has had many strong, moderate Democratic leaders through the years (including Harvey Stower and Harvey Dueholm) and he wants to be another in that line.

"They did what was best for the district," he explained.

While he's a Democrat, Bever said, he doesn't expect to follow the party line on every vote, noting that the district is fairly split between Democrats and Republicans. He said if district voters make it clear that they favor something that goes against a Democrat proposal, he'll gladly swim against the political current.

"I can run on Democratic principles, but sometimes the district will need me to vote a different way."

Among Bever's top legislative priorities, if elected, will be job creation, the environment and education funding.

If elected, Bever said he will appoint a committee made up of Democrats and Republicans in the 28th District that will focus on creating "living-wage jobs" in area communities.

"It's something we haven't really addressed," he said.

Bever said recreation is such an important part of the district's economy that he will support efforts to protect the area's resources for future generations.

"We need to make sure that we have a place where people want to get away to," he said.

As he campaigns throughout the district, Bever said his priorities line up with constituents.

"I think the campaign has been going really well, because of all the excitement I've been seeing," he said. "People are on board with my message."

Even if people don't agree with his stance on various issues, Bever said the people he's talked to have been very civil and willing to debate in a kind manner.

"It's a model we need to bring to Madison," he said.

Win or lose, Bever said he's thrilled to have been a part of the 2012 campaign.

"The whole process has been great for me," he said. "I feel I'm a much better community member and a much better American because of my involvement in the campaign."