Tricia Zunker, an associate justice of the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court and president of the Wausau School Board, has announced that she will run in the special election to replace Sean Duffy, representing Wisconsin’s Seventh Congressional District.
“I’m looking around and I’m seeing the crisis with ginseng farmers, dairy farmers,” Zunker told Wisconsin Public Radio. “They need to get a fair deal. Washington’s not helping our communities here, and I believe I can go and be a voice for them.”
Zunker, 39, is the first Native American to run for Congress in Wisconsin since Ada Deer lost to Republican Scott Klug in 1992. If she wins, she will be the first to represent the state in the House of Representatives.
Zunker has recently led a charge to end the use of Native American mascots in Wisconsin schools. She was also a driving force behind the City of Wausau and Marathon County to declare the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day.
Duffy announced in August that he was resigning from Congress to help care for his wife and children after learning their ninth child would have health challenges. He and wife Rachel Campos-Duffy welcomed their daughter last week.
Governor Tony Evers called a special election for January 23, 2020, with primaries to take place on December 30. Zunker joins businessman Lawrence Dale in running on the Democratic side; Retired Army Capt. Jason Church, state Sen. Tom Tiffany of and hobby farmer Michael Opela Sr. have declared their intent to run for the Republican nomination.
The seventh district encompasses much of central and northern Wisconsin.