By Senator Howard Marklein
April 26, 2019
In Memory of My Friend Ed Brooks
On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, I lost a dear friend and mentor. Former Representative Ed Brooks passed away following a battle with leukemia. He was one of the most genuine, honest and best people I have ever known.
Ed represented the 50th Assembly District, which is the part of the 17th Senate District encompassing the areas surrounding Reedsburg, Richland Center and all of Juneau County. He served as State Representative for 10 years. When he began to struggle with his health, he decided not to run again after successfully winning five elections and serving with distinction for 10 years in the legislature until 2018.
Not only did we share legislative districts, we also shared a deep commitment to promoting rural Wisconsin in the legislature. We worked hard together to serve the people of the 50th Assembly District; authoring legislation, working on constituent cases and promoting the needs of our communities.
Ed and I successfully passed several key pieces of legislation for the people of the 50th Assembly District, including a bill that the late Art Krolikowski, owner of Reedsburg Auto Body, worked on for 12 years before we were able to pass it into law. Art’s bill, which became Act 93 in 2016, prevents insurance companies from forcing customers to use specific auto body shops for car repairs.
Among the many bills we worked on together, we made laws to create a penalty for individuals who make a terrorist threat to a school in coordination with former Reedsburg Police Chief Tim Becker, to allow over-sized vehicles to use both lanes of a roundabout for Skinner Transfer in Reedsburg, to allow the City of Mauston to erect Welcome Signs on Hwy 82, to make the Department of Natural Resources sell White Mound County Park to Sauk County so the county could build the new shelter and enhance the park and to save the Wine Walk in Reedsburg (and other communities) on behalf of Kari Walker at Touchdown Tavern.
Beyond his service in the legislature, Ed also served for 30 years as the Chairman of the Town of Reedsburg. He was a tireless advocate who always kept a positive attitude and a heart for service. He was always ready to step up and provide leadership, as well as to participate in fundraising efforts throughout our communities.
Ed and I co-auctioneered the Reedsburg United Fund Radio Auction for several years, selling everything from pies to bird houses. We also spent considerable hours enjoying spaghetti suppers, dairy breakfasts and chili feeds to connect with the people we served together. Ed was always ready to buy a raffle ticket, bid high on a pie and support the local people and organizations in our communities.
It didn’t matter what was going on, Ed always had a great sense of humor and brought positivity and levity to every situation. Ed poked fun at himself and the tense situations of politics in a way that put everyone around us at ease. He was a keen listener and knew his stuff.
Ed taught me how to get things done with a gentle touch. He encouraged me to look at things from the rural perspective first. Ed demonstrated his love for Barb and his girls, Lisa, Kelly and Julie, as well as his grandchildren whom he adored. Above all, Ed taught me to value the little things like that a meal is never over until you have dessert, especially ice cream.
My wife Peggy and I offer our deepest sympathies to the Brooks family and the entire community of Reedsburg. I will miss my friend and know that we lost one of the good ones.
For more information and to connect with me, visit my website http://legis.wisconsin.gov/senate/17/marklein and subscribe to my weekly E-Update by sending an email to Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov. Do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have any questions or need assistance with any state-related matters.