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Thursday, January 27th, 2005 -- 11:40 AM

[i]By Bob Hague, Wisconsin Radio Network[/i]

John Gard has ruled out a run for governor, but not a campaign for Congress.

Saying he loves his current job, the Assembly Speaker announced Wednesday that he won't enter the Republican primary to oppose Jim Doyle in 2006.

But, what about a run for Congress to represent northeastern Wisconsin? "I intend to have a very successful two year session here," said Gard, who added that he wants to focus on the Assembly Republicans' 100 day legislative agenda. "If there's an opportunity down the road to expand that battle and those issues in another venue, you know I'll seriously consider it."

Gard was asked specifically if he'd rule out being a candidate for some office, other than his 89th state Assembly District in 2006. "No, I wouldn't rule it out. But again, I love this job. Being speaker isn't exactly a walk in the park, but it sure is a lot of fun." Gard has a home in Dane County but represents parts of Marinette, Oconto and Shawano counties in the Assembly.

He could make a run for Congress if, as expected, Congressman Mark Green leaves his Eighth District seat to officially enter the Republican governor's primary. Green has already filed paperwork to raise money for that race.

Gard said he felt he owed it to Green and declared Republican candidate, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, to let them know early in the process that he won't seek the governor's office.

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