Bob Kulp to Conclude Term January 2021
(OnFocus) Republican State Representative Bob Kulp of the 69th Assembly District announced earlier this month that he would not seek re-election in 2020. His term will conclude next January.
Kulp said that he never set out to make politics his career and it was the right time for someone else to step in. “I think it’s a good idea to have new representation that comes in once in awhile with new and fresh perspectives,” he said.
Family was another consideration in his decision. Kulp has 7 children and 12 grandchildren — with a thirteenth on the way.
“I know that a lot of elected officials say well, I’m doing it for family reasons,” said Kulp. “The truth of it is, after a while you end up getting into ruts and you say, okay, it’s time to let someone take over because I’ve got other things that are of interest of me to pursue.”
Kulp was asked to run in 2013 for a special election and has been re-elected each term since 2014. He said his decision to step into office that first term was born out of a desire to give back to the community. The fact that his business, Kulp’s of Stratford, was in good hands made it possible to make a long-term commitment.
Reflecting on his efforts in office, there are numerous laws that come to mind that he helped pass — anything from giving towns the authority to allow golf carts to cross a highway, to a partial personal property tax repeal.
He’s also passionate about his role as chair of the Dyslexia Study Committee, which drafted a bill to create a dyslexia guidebook as a tool for school districts and parents after two years of work. The item passed the State Assembly and State Senate and will head next to the governor’s desk for signing.
“About 1 in 5 students in the state and country have some degree of dyslexia and we’ve done nothing in order to give those resources, so this guidebook would be a beginning step to getting those tools in the hands of parents and students and administrators,” Kulp said.
Wisconsin is one of a handful of states that doesn’t have educational programming for dyslexia, and the possibility of leaving the guidebook behind unfinished weighed heavily on Kulp.
“That was really the most difficult decision in me leaving, was feeling like I was leaving that undone,” he said.
Before this session concludes, there are a number of items Kulp would like to see accomplished, such as a bill that would allow those enrolled in cancer clinical trials to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket costs like travel expenses, which could lead to greater participation by those who previously couldn’t afford it.
While it won’t be accomplished this term, another item Kulp hopes will eventually be considered is the complete repeal of personal property tax, saying that Wisconsin is one of the few states in the upper Midwest that has it.
Throughout his time in office, Kulp placed emphasis on communication and speaks of the transformative role of social media — he’s on Twitter and Facebook — over the last decade.
“That’s the platform that I think any candidate or elected official needs to understand how to use in a way that is helpful to the state and helpful to the district,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ve done that.”
He hopes the next candidate for the 69th District can “communicate well and broadly,” and be accessible and responsive to constituents.
Integrity is another important trait. “You can’t anticipate all of the things you will face when you are not in an elected position until you get there,” said Kulp. “The biggest thing would be the character of the individual.”
When it comes to the idea of running again, Kulp doesn’t rule it out but is clear he’ll enjoy taking a “complete break” for the next few years as his focus shifts to spending time with his growing family, traveling, and other pursuits.
“I have a lot of life left, God willing, and I’ll see where it takes me,” he said.