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ICYMI - Here is my column regarding the passing of my friend, and predecessor, Ed Brooks: 

Ed Brooks was a man who wore many hats (he’d probably tell you that was to keep the sun from burning his head). He was a husband, a father to three daughters, a grandfather to five grandchildren, a farmer, a legislator, and a town chairman – but to those of us who knew him, he was our friend and neighbor. For the past two years, he fought leukemia bravely – but the day we all hoped wouldn’t come arrived this week. As his obituary said, he passed away surrounded by his favorite ladies on Tuesday.

Ed touched our lives over the years with his humor, his words of wisdom, and his generosity. He believed strongly in encouraging the next generation of farmers – that’s why he always purchased animals from 4-H kids at the fairs throughout the area. He supported many charities and causes – but he did so quietly because the goal was always more important to him than the glory.

As a legislator, he was a champion for the 50th district (which he rightly called “the best district”), and for rural Wisconsin as a whole. He was a founding member of the Rural Wisconsin Initiative, and he worked diligently to bridge the rural/urban gap and make sure that our area had equal opportunity and a fair shake.

Ed’s generosity, kindness, and selfless service will live on for many years to come – he built something that is sought by many but is difficult to achieve – a lasting legacy.

That doesn’t change the fact that his loss hurts.

We all mourn in different ways. For me, I decided to take a long walk in the cool night. Standing under the stars, I remembered a man who brought a lot of light into the world – usually through the twinkle in his eye that many of us knew so well. Our community is a different place because of him, and it will be a different place without him.

Last May, when Ed announced that he was stepping away from the legislature, he wrote “Sometimes, it’s too hard to say good bye, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll say thank you.”

Thank you, Ed – I miss you already.

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Here is what others have had to say about him as well: 

Rep. Adam Neylon 

RIP Ed. My heart hurts after learning of your passing. My prayers are with the Brooks family during this difficult time. I served with Ed for about 6 years in the Assembly and have very fond memories of working with him. He was one of funniest, most genuine, caring and gracious people I've ever met. We sat next to one another in the Jobs and Economy Committee for 4 years. He was thoughtful and caring, yet extremely clever and quick witted. If things ever became tense you could always count on Ed to lighten the mood and bring a laugh or smile to everyone's face. I'm very thankful for the time I was blessed enough to spend with Ed. He will truly be missed.

Rep. Nancy VanderMeer:

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend former State Representative Ed Brooks of the 50th Assembly District. Ed was the kind of friend that made you feel like family, which I believe was the same approach Ed took to his 10 years of public service in the State Assembly. Ed cared. I could see it exemplified in the respect and dignified interaction that he shared with those he worked with and served. Combined with Ed's knowledge in many areas, including agriculture and local government, and his passion for serving others, Ed was a true statesman.

After Ed retired from the Assembly in January, he wrote a farewell column in the “Agri-View” newspaper entitled "I’m Proud to be an Ag-gie." In this article, Ed said "the heart and soul of what makes Wisconsin and America great is right here in the 50th Assembly District." He describes his district by saying "there are 57,000 good, caring people in this district." This is quintessentially what Ed believed, always putting people first in his words and his actions. He was proud of the values on display throughout his district, such as neighbors helping neighbors when times were tough on farmers, or the community supporting kids involved in 4-H.

Ed inspired the people around him, whether they be friends and neighbors in his district, or those who served with him during his career. I am fortunate to have had Ed as a valued friend and colleague in my life, and I will continue to be inspired by his legacy.

Rep. Romaine Quinn:

Ed Brooks truly embodied all that is good in America, and his passing is a stark reminder that an entire generation like him is quickly leaving us. Ed’s service to his community, our state, and our nation is something we should all strive to replicate. Knowing and serving with him was a privilege. RIP, Ed.

 

As a reminder here are some of the things he did for The Best District: 
2009 Wisconsin Act 154 - This bill Ed was proud of because he got it passed and signed into law when he was in the minority. It helped for security of Volk field and allowed for Juneau County to depute certain military personnel during flight take offs and landings.
2011 Wisconsin Act 71 - This increases the options for lending by the Board of Commissioner of Public Lands
2013 Wisconsin Act 11 - This created a work-share program recipient to be eligible for a portion of unemployment insurance payments. 
2015 Wisconsin Act 138 - This expanded the public notification of changes related to taxes and budget appropriates from 10 days to 15 days. 
2015 Wisconsin Act 139 - This put into statute regarding the right-of-way stipulations for vehicles in roundabouts.
2015 Wisconsin Act 311 - This make it a crime to make a terrorist threat, this bill was written in response to an incident in Reedsburg. 
2015 Wisconsin Act 354 - This dealt with victims' rights and notification of certain events. 

2017 Wisconsin Act 232 - The infamous Mauston Sign Bill
2017 Wisconsin Act 346 - Dealt with length of contracts for GPS tracking equipment.