Eau Claire businesswoman Rebecca Cooke launches run for 3rd Congressional District seat

Eau Claire businesswoman Rebecca Cooke is running for Congress in an open southwestern Wisconsin district, hoping to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Ron Kind.

Cooke is a member of the state’s economic development agency board, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., appointed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

She would be the first woman to represent the 3rd Congressional District should she win.

In an email announcing her campaign, Cooke says she “understands the economic and social challenges facing the small towns and rural communities for which she’s fiercely advocated throughout her career.”

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She says her priorities will be addressing the cost of health care, the economy, investing in infrastructure, and addressing education and broadband access.

“Our rural communities face unique challenges, and it’s clear that Washington isn’t working for us. I’m running for Congress to better serve communities across Wisconsin, provide more opportunities for success, and be a relentless fighter for our way of life,” Cooke said. 

Cooke joins state Sen. Brad Pfaff, of Onalaska, and political newcomer Brett Knudsen on the Democratic side, setting up an Aug. 9 primary. Republican Derrick Van Orden, who was defeated by Kind in 2020, is running again and has support from Republican House leadership.

Editor’s note: This story will be updated.