Political newcomer to challenge state senator

A community advocate and political newcomer said she plans to challenge Republican state Sen. Joe Leibham for the Senate’s 9th District seat next year.

Martha Laning said she wants to help change the polarized environment in Madison. She’s running as a Democrat, and says when it comes to creating jobs and protecting families, political parties shouldn’t matter.

Laning announced her candidacy Wednesday at the Plymouth Intergenerational Center. She’d helped raise almost $4.7 million to help build the center, and she says her fundraising ability gives her an advantage that Leibham’s previous Democratic challenger lacked.

Leibham is the Senate’s president pro tempore. He’s also a member of the powerful Joint Finance Committee.

The 9th District covers Sheboygan County, as well as parts of Manitowoc and Calumet counties.