Eau Claire businesswoman Cooke launches run for Congress

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — An Eau Claire small business owner launched a campaign for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District Wednesday, joining others who hope to take over for U.S. Ron Kind when he retires next year.

Rebecca Cooke 2Rebecca Cooke, who was appointed to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation by Gov. Tony Evers, touted her experience in fighting for rural communities in her announcement.

“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 owns Red’s Mercantile in Eau Claire and founded the Red Letter Grant nonprofit in 2016.

She is running as a Democrat, setting up a primary with state Sen. Brad Pfaff of Onalaska and political newcomer Brett Knudsen.

Derrick Van Orden, who narrowly lost to Kind last year, is the only Republican in the race.

If Cooke wins, she would be the first woman to hold the seat.

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