Eau Claire native Rich Postlewaite has been a regular Chippewa Valley voice talking about state and local politicians for several years.

Now the UW-Stout lecturer and frequent media source is set to test the political waters himself.

Postlewaite, 55, of Eau Claire, announced Monday he plans to run as a Democrat for the 91st Assembly District seat being vacated by state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, who is running for governor.

Postlewaite has spent the past five years teaching political science and economics at UW-Stout in Menomonie. He previously worked for 12 years as a business agent for the Wisconsin Education Association Council and Teamsters unions in northwestern Wisconsin and also taught at UW-Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Technical College and Lakeland College.  

“I enjoy teaching young people about economics and government, and I’d like to represent the wonderful people of Wisconsin and Eau Claire using what I know,” he said. “I’ve lived in Eau Claire almost my whole life, and I felt the timing was right.”

The 91st District, which Wachs has represented since 2013, comprises most of the city of Eau Claire.

Postlewaite said his campaign will focus on education, the economy, job creation, health care and the environment. In particular, he hopes to push the state to restore funding for school districts that are losing enrollment.

In addition to teaching and talking about government, Postlewaite also has some hands-on experience. He ran for a local Assembly seat and lost in a Democratic primary in 1992 and then was defeated in the general election for another Assembly seat four years later. Also in 1992, he was Wisconsin campaign coordinator for Democratic presidential candidate Jerry Brown and northwestern Wisconsin regional coordinator for Democrat Russ Feingold’s U.S. Senate campaign. 

“Between when I ran before and now, I have a lot more experience negotiating contracts as a business agent, and I’ve studied politics and economics and stayed abreast of the issues that are important to people in northwestern Wisconsin,” Postlewaite said.

Postlewaite is married and has two children, three stepchildren and four grandchildren. He can be reached at

He joins a field that so far includes Jodi Emerson, an Eau Claire Democrat who announced her candidacy on Friday, and Republican Bill Ingram of Durand. The filing deadline for fall election candidates is 5 p.m. June 1.

A primary will be held Aug. 14, followed by the general election on Nov. 6.

Contact: 715-833-9209,, @ealscoop on Twitter