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Election Preview: Wisconsin 24th State Assembly District

Incumbent Republican lawmaker Dan Knodl defeated Democrat Shan Haqqi for a third term in the 24th Assembly district.

Three's a charm for 24th Assembly District Rep. Dan Knodl.

Incumbdent Knodl (R-Germantown) coasted to a victory in the 24th Assembly race Tuesday. Knodl collected 58.4 percent of the vote in his district boundaries within Menomonee Falls. His challenger, Shan Haqqi earned 27.8 percent. Throughout the entire 24th district, Knodl garnered 67 percent of the vote to Haqqi's 33 percent.

Knodl, of Germantown, is the owner of the Reef Point Resort. He was first elected to the state Assembly in 2008, having previously served on the Washington County Board. He is a lifelong resident of the district.

Here's What They Said

“We have as a team had the votes to implement the reforms that we’ve done in the past two years and I am very proud to stand on my record,” Knodl said. “Primarily, we’ve gotten the state’s fiscal house in order. We passed a truly balanced budget that paid off deficits and debt that the previous administration had incurred. We also put money into a rainy day fund. That alone gives the business community confidence that we won’t be subjecting them to future tax increases.”

Haqqi, of Brookfield, is president and CEO of S&L Global Consulting. He has 14 years of experience in financial planning, economic development, and public policy. He has his own record to stand upon when it comes to jobs and economic development.

“As a successful business leader and CEO with nearly two decades of experience in business and real estate development, public policy, and financial planning and consulting, I have a proven track record of bringing key stakeholders together on a broad range of initiatives in both the private and public sectors,” Haqqi said. “I have also led development projects here in Wisconsin, successfully working with local community groups on revitalization initiatives that generated millions in new investments and attracted dozens of new businesses.”

The State of Education

The past year has been filled with unprecedented reform in the state’s educational system. Knodl said the reforms passed in Act 10 helped school districts prevent cuts, and funding for schools would increase as the economy continues to bounce back.

“We will continue to look at every avenue we can to improve our educational system. We need to address the thousands of jobs that are available out there, but we don’t have individuals coming out of school with the proper education to fill them,” Knodl said. “The tools out of Act 10 allowed districts to fund all their programs. There have been no cuts to programs. As the economy improves, more revenue will come in through income and sales taxes and will be available for education.”

Haqqi agreed that the current educational system is falling behind other countries around the world. Haqqi believes partisan politics are to blame for the failure to craft sound educational policy. He said he supports Fair Funding for Our Future as a model for the state’s education system.

“Fair Funding for Our Future represents the kinds of common-sense, bipartisan solutions that I will take a leadership role in passing when I am elected,” Haqqi said. “The plan will fix Wisconsin's flawed school funding formula by making it fair, sustainable, and transparent while also holding the line on property taxes and providing predictable growth in state aid.”

Trading Barbs

Like most political campaigns, the opponents will likely trade a few political punches before voters head to the polls. The 24th Assembly race is no different.

Knodl has pointed out that Haqqi cannot vote for himself in the 24th Assembly race. His residence is at 16940 Tanglewood Dr. in Brookfield, which is the 13th Assembly District.

“Mr. Haqqi, if you are interested in representing the people of the 24th, I would encourage you move here,” Knodl, a resident of Germantown, said in a recent statement.

Haqqi originally moved to Brown Deer from Texas, and his wife Lubna built her practice as a physician and worked her way toward partner. They moved to be more centrally located in Brookfield. Haqqi said his wife fully supports his decision to move back to the 24th district if elected.

“My wife fully supports my decision to run for State Assembly and to move our family back to the district. As a lawmaker himself, my opponent should know that every Wisconsin citizen enjoys the constitutional right to run for political office and move to a district they wish to represent,” Haqqi said. “To say different is just more of the kinds of petty, divisive politics that people are tired of."

However, Haqqi fired off criticism of his own. He accused Knodl of continuing to provide staff support for the campaign state Rep. Roger Rivard, despite the fact he said “some girls rape easy” at a recent debate. Haqqi also said Knodl had yet to disavow the comments made by Rivard.

“I find it both shocking and offensive to learn that my opponent has yet to disavow his colleague’s disgusting comments, and worse, continues to actively support his campaign for re-election,” said Haqqi. 

Knodl said the allegations are without merit. He said the individual, Tim Lindquist, no longer works on his staff.

“I do not support Roger Rivard, and his comments were uncalled for and out of line,” Knodl said. “As far as this individual is concerned, he was on my staff in the past but left employment and has now been hired by Rivard’s campaign. He’s completely separated from me. I have no direction over the person. He is not my staffer now. I only have one staff member left and he’s in Madison.”

Unique Qualifications

Although Haqqi and Knodl are both businessmen, both would argue that they have a strength or qualification that gives them a unique advantage over their opponent. For Knodl, his familiarity and roots in the 24th district give him an advantage over Haqqi.

“I’m a lifelong resident of the district. I’ve owned multiple businesses that employ local constituents,” Knodl said. “That is nothing that my opponent has. I’m connected to the community. I’m involved in community groups, a land trust, and more. I’m committed. I’ve been committed all my adult life.”

Haqqi criticized Knodl’s experience and leadership in office claiming most bills he authored were not passed. He also claimed Knodl simply rubber-stamps his votes based upon party lines. Haqqi, while serving as a special assistant to the mayor of Houston, said he based his policies on what would work for all parties.

Haqqi also added that his business experience is more diversified than Knodl’s.

“Like me, my opponent is a business owner. But while his experience in the business world has been limited to the tavern and resort industry, I have many years of experience in real estate development and construction, and as a financial consultant, I help businesses in a wide range of industries to grow and thrive in today’s highly competitive economy and marketplace,” Haqqi said. “We need more leaders in Madison with diversified business experience that isn’t limited to a single industry.”

The 24th at a Glance

The 24th District seat has new boundaries this year in the wake of redistricting prompted by population shifts in the 2010 census. The district now encompasses portions of Menomonee Falls, Germantown, River Hills, Glendale, and Brown Deer.

Wisconsin state representatives serve two-year terms and earn $49,943.00 annually. They also receive a per diem of $88 per day for each day they work in Madison.

Candidate profiles

  • Republican Dan Knodl (incumbent)
  • Democrat Shan Haqqi
Anonomus October 31, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Maybe someone needs to run a background check on Haqqi. Hard to trust a guy, who only employees himself, and can't keep finances in order. Just like he would do in Madison. Don't believe me, look it up. CCAP.
Bill Savage November 01, 2012 at 01:44 AM
How about just the fact that Dan represents the values of the district and Shan Haqqi does not? The end.
Anonomus November 01, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Or even more simple, Dan Knodl lives in the 24th, and Shan (h) doesn't, he is just trying to rent it.
Steve ® November 01, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Dan wins in a landslide, again
Ed November 01, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Thank you to Carl Engelking for a balanced article that provides readers with detailed information about each candidate. It seems people here are not aware of the new district boundaries or of the fact that the values that are important to voters in Brown Deer and Glendale may not be the same values that are important to voters in Germantown.
Jeff Christensen November 02, 2012 at 12:49 AM
A question for you Bill, since you work for a legislator: Do legislators give their staffers leaves of absences for candidates they don't like? Cuz it sure appears to me that Mr. Knodl's staffer is on an approved Leave of Absence: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/assembly/acc/Documents/11-12_Assembly_Staff.pdf Now let's look at Mr Knodl's statement on his staffer supporting Roger Rivard: “As far as this individual is concerned, he was on my staff in the past but left employment and has now been hired by Rivard’s campaign. He’s completely separated from me. I have no direction over the person. He is not my staffer now. I only have one staff member left and he’s in Madison.” Does Mr Knodl's statement hold water now? So if it doesn't, wouldn't that make Mr. Knodl's statement to the fine reporter from Patch a bit of a fib? That would mean that Mr. Knodl may not represent the values of Assembly District 24...unless you disregard honesty.
Holly Bell November 02, 2012 at 02:03 AM
I don't think a record like Dan Knodl's is going to help our district. I don't look at the party membership behind someone's name. I look at what they stand for and how they will help my children. I don't like voting for someone who has so many legal problems and ethical investigations. I think Mr. Haqqi would help our district.
Holly Bell November 02, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Someone just sent me this.....concerning http://bloggingblue.com/
Barb V November 05, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I did look it up: Case Search Results You searched for: Party Name Haqqi, Shan Your search returned no results Return to Search Form You guys are really getting desperate, and your prejudice is showing.

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