I’m running for the Wisconsin State Senate in District 17 because I believe in the fundamental viability and value of rural communities. I have a vision that family farms, small local schools, rural hospitals, pristine natural resources, Main Street mom-and-pop shops and our small-town way of life can survive and even thrive. But for that to happen, we need new leadership at our state capitol.
As an organic farmer with an award-winning bed and breakfast operation that brings more than 400 people to my town of 825 each year, I simply do not doubt that our communities can create and support good jobs while protecting the environment. But we must prioritize robust infrastructure investment and a reversal of Wisconsin policies that work against rural success and our local governments. We need real and immediate investment in broadband internet, roads, affordable health coverage and the education of our children. I want to shift our focus away from courting corporations to incentivizing and sustaining start-ups and lift restrictions and regulations that keep communities from helping themselves. Though Wisconsin has been dead last nationally for the past three years in entrepreneurism, I believe that our own innovators, given the tools, can lead the way to a strong and resilient economy. And I believe we can maintain our quality of life at the same time.
I’m a farmer, a rural activist and a water defender. I wake up early every morning to greet the sunrise and give thanks that I find myself alive in a beautiful valley along the Pecatonica River, rich in wetlands and wildlife. My daily delight since I arrived in Blanchardville from Chicago 13 years ago has been to work hard at repairing this farm, building my businesses and collaborating with neighbors to grow our future. Now my daily delight is to wake up and knock on doors across seven counties.
As a County Board Supervisor for Lafayette County District 8, I’m already hard at work finding new opportunities for regional growth, development and tourism.
My local government experience has taught me that out here, we do things different than in Madison. We do a lot with a little and we rely on each other to get the job done. We may disagree, we may be of different political persuasions and we may not always especially like each other, but we put our differences aside and unite to create solutions. The cordial, practical civics we rely on as county, township, village and city supervisors are the models we need to overcome the extreme divisiveness of national politics.
I’m running as a Democrat, but I’m running first to represent the interests of Southwest Wisconsin. I know that my constituents love their small towns the way I love my small town, and I want to work with them for our success. My motto is “Moving Forward Together” and I still think that’s possible, too.