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Special election Tuesday to fill 21st Assembly District seat

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MADISON (WITI) -- A new face is coming to Madison. Mark Honadel stepped down as representative for the 21st Assembly District -- a position he held for 10 years. Now, two newcomers are running for that vacant seat in a special election on Tuesday, November 19th, and the winner will make history.

The candidates have six days left to make their final pitch for state Representative.

"People want to make sure that the person who represents them knows them well and that is me," Jessie Rodriguez, the Republican candidate said.

"I want to make sure that I go to Madison and make sure that I'm working across party lines," Elizabeth Coppola, the Democratic candidate said.

Rodriguez and Coppola are running for the vacant 21st Assembly District seat, which covers South Milwaukee, Oak Creek and Franklin -- and both are running for state office for the first time.

"It's a fresh face. It's someone from the community," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez is a Marquette graduate, and serves as the Outreach Director at the non-profit Hispanics for School Choice -- helping low-income parents find schools for their children.

She has lived in Franklin for 10 years with her husband and three-year-old son.

Rodriguez says she wants to continue the legacy of Rep. Honadel who served the district for 10 years.

"They'll have to decide if they want the failed policies of the past or if they want policies that will promote growth in the area to keep Wisconsin moving forward," Rodriguez said.

Coppola is an Alverno College graduate who works for United Way. A relative newcomer to South Milwaukee, the 29-year-old also graduated from Emerge Wisconsin, which trains women to run for political office.

"One of my professors pointed out how few women actually run for office," Coppola said.

Coppola explained to FOX6 News on Wednesday at South Milwaukee's Senior Center as to why a newcomer she would best serve the area.

"They want new fresh faces in the community. They want people who have new ideas that are not locked into their old political ideals and won't budge from them," Coppola said.

Both candidates agree the deciding factor for Tuesday's special election will be voter turnout.

Although the district lines have changed over the years, the state of Wisconsin Blue Book archives show there has never been a woman who has represented the 21st Assembly District -- but that will change on Tuesday.

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