Ojibwe Businessman Paul DeMain Will Run For State Senate

DeMain Looks To Unseat Sen. Jerry Petrowski in 29th District

Businessman and journalist Paul DeMain. Image courtesy of Paul DeMain.

Paul DeMain, an Ojibwe businessman and journalist, has announced his candidacy for the 29th State Senate seat in northern Wisconsin, currently held by Sen. Jerry Petrowski.

DeMain, a member of the La Courte Oreilles Tribe, is the CEO of Indian Country Communications and the publisher of the newspaper News From Indian Country. DeMain will run for the Senate seat as a Democrat.

“The fundamental reason I want to run is to provide a voice for those people who don’t have a voice,” said DeMain. “Outside influences, individuals and corporations with a lot of buying power behind them, are distorting the voice of what the Wisconsin way of life actually is.”

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DeMain promises to make the proposed Penokee Hills iron mine an issue. He claims that tribal concerns were ignored when recent mining legislation was drafted.

“The concerns are real,” he said. “The impacts are on families in northern Wisconsin. The process was corrupted in a way that’s not the Wisconsin way.”

DeMain grew up in Wausau, and now lives on the other side of the 29th District in Hayward. He says the district’s boundaries were gerrymandered to protect Republicans.

“This is the kind of district you get when people are thinking about protecting partisan incumbents rather than trying to say, ‘How do we configure districts so those districts are diverse and representative?’” said DeMain. “My district starts in northern Wisconsin and ends a little bit west of Wittenberg, Wisconsin. A lot of people just roll their eyeballs when they hear that.”

There are currently no Native American tribal members serving in the state Senate.

Editor’s Note: Sen. Jerry Petrowski was not available for comment for this story.