Let’s get Wisconsin back on track with bipartisan leadership. Wisconsin and the 71st district have had a long tradition of being purple. For far too long, partisan bickering and gamesmanship have prevented Wisconsin from moving forward. But with new, competitive legislative maps, after November’s election legislators will be forced to work together again. It’s time for our elected leaders to engage in honest discourse about Wisconsinites’ needs. We share many common goals and values; now we need to seek and find common ground. Let’s bring our authentic selves to the table for an honest conversation and renew the neighborliness that we’re all longing for. When I am elected, I will work with anybody who is willing to work with me to get things done for the 71st.

Let’s commit fully to investing in our future by funding public schools, technical colleges, universities, teachers, and childcare. The rising need for a talented workforce will require a deeper level of education and available, flexible childcare. Growing our own workforce, including childcare providers, is something we can do locally and statewide with strong partnerships between public schools, technical colleges, universities, local businesses, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs. Teachers are with our children for a third of the day. Let’s face it, they are not only educators, but they are counselors, confidants, role models, coaches and so much more. Teachers are heroes. They do all of this and often pay for educational materials and snacks with their own money. It’s time that we stand with teachers and educators at all levels. Fair compensation for our educators, so we can grow our own talent to attract and retain a workforce with diverse skill sets will create the foundation for successful, thriving communities here in Central Wisconsin.

Let’s face it, climate change is real, and it doesn’t care about your political affiliations. A changing climate is causing catastrophic damage to us — our communities, families, and budgets. I was taught that the best time to plant a tree was five years ago, so you can taste the fruit today. I have been fighting for and engaging in responsible ecological stewardship my entire life and will continue this work for the benefit of future generations. But, Wisconsin and the legislature have failed to plant the tree, so we have yet to reap the fruits of our labor. Due to climate change denial, Wisconsin has some of the nation’s weakest climate resiliency policy. It’s time for the state of Wisconsin to get serious about climate change, listen to the experts, and respect climate science. Climate science deniers in the legislature need to stop obstructing sound policies, critical appointments, and meaningful action. Our needs are great, but we can start with embracing clean water for all, regenerative agriculture practices, and structural policy change in regard to renewable energy. 

Every dollar we spend in our local economy pays incredible dividends. When we spend our dollars with family farms, we build strong, thriving rural communities. Every dollar spent with a family farm is a vote, a statement of our values. When we provide incentives to family farms for regenerative practices, we create the fundamental structural and financial support needed to sustain families, industry, and most importantly, our collective natural resources. We have a strong tradition of celebrating our farming heritage in the 71st District, and when we create sound policies at the state level supporting family farms, we bolster their success for future generations.

These hands are rough. I’ve worked every day of my life with my body, and my hands and knees can prove it. It’s about time working class folks have proper representation in Madison. Representation that reflects Central Wisconsin values and work ethic. Act 10 destroyed public sector unions and OUR right to collectively bargain for our wages and labor conditions. A living wage in Wisconsin has never been less achievable. Folks are working two, even three jobs, just to make ends meet, and it has never been harder to get ahead. As a small business owner and worker, I will stand with working folks, fight for better wages, and repeal Right to Work, ensuring the right to unionize in the public and private sectors. We must lower taxes on the middle class, stop the handouts to the rich, and level the playing field for everyday folks. 

Healthcare is a human right. Nobody should have to make a choice between going to the doctor or putting food on the table. Investing in our health now will save future taxpayer dollars. Medicaid expansion will provide greater access to quality healthcare for children, elderly, and the most vulnerable and marginalized in our communities. It will strengthen our communities by creating better public health outcomes, resulting in lower taxes for all of us. Medicaid expansion would provide expanded benefits and services for nearly 90,000 additional Wisconsin residents and save us $1.6 billion due to enhanced federal funding. 

Government has no place making decisions about women’s bodies. I will fight to repeal Wisconsin’s 175-year-old Criminal Abortion Statute, which makes this important, personal healthcare decision a felony for all those involved. Legislators need to listen to medical professionals, scientists, and most importantly, women, when it comes to reproductive healthcare. I will stand with Planned Parenthood to remain open to provide reproductive healthcare and family planning services to all Wisconsinites who want it.

The creative economy in Central Wisconsin is everything from our amazing mural projects, to our craft beer and spirit industries, to our educational software development by Skyward. The creative economy affects our lives by creating a sense of place and fostering community engagement through the arts, music, and cultural appreciation. It has a huge impact on our economy, affecting everything from tourism to broadband expansion. Wisconsin’s arts funding ranks 47th in the US. We only spend $.30 per capita whereas Minnesota ranks 3rd in the US, spending $8.23 per capita. Minnesota has one of the nation’s most vibrant creative economies and their economy reflects it. Wisconsin can do better.

None of us made it on our own, and “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is a myth propagated by those in power. I believe that politics is a vehicle to improve people’s lives by providing opportunity to all. When we lift others up, our community thrives. The future in the 71st is full of opportunity. Opportunity for our children, our businesses, our schools, our farms. Opportunity is available to our life-long residents, our high school and college grads, those seeking their GED, and our new neighbors from other communities and cultures. Opportunity is here for all Wisconsinites, should we choose to accept each other, sit together, and create deep meaningful relationships. Almost all of our families have been immigrants, recent or long-ago, to this country and have faced some sort of hardship or persecution. It is time to create a new story that celebrates our collective diversity and humanity.

We need a Wisconsin economy that is fair and works for all Wisconsinites and businesses. When workers feel valued, respected, and have stable, good paying jobs, they set roots and become part of our community. A financially stable community means that local businesses will reap the rewards of patronage. When they thrive, our local economy grows. Strong local economies support a strong Wisconsin economy. When businesses thrive, they are able to provide greater benefits to their dedicated staff, and provide philanthropic opportunities to their communities. It’s this type of people centered, smart growth spurred by innovation, opportunity, respect, and sustainability that is the foundation of a balanced and just Wisconsin economy. 

Our democracy is more fragile than ever, and for over a decade a Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature made voting unnecessarily complicated and restrictive. From gerrymandering the maps and choosing their own voters, to making confusing voter ID laws, to prohibiting ballot drop boxes, they have made voting more difficult. We need to make it easier for people to vote, obtain voter IDs, and have access to the ballot box, not make it harder. Wisconsin needs to pass legislation to remove redistricting from the legislature’s hands and require an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission for future redistricting needs, so we never have to litigate partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin again. We also need to hold those accountable who were responsible for attempting to cast false electors in the 2020 presidential election. Cheating the people of Wisconsin and attempting to steal their voice is a grotesque violation of law and should never be a partisan issue.

Emergency services personnel often find us on our worst day, and in Central Wisconsin I can say, with firsthand experience, that they do it with the integrity and courage that the job requires. From medical emergencies to fires and accidents, EMS personnel are the first line of defense in stabilizing situations and saving lives. Graduating from the Emergency Services Citizen Academy gave me a perspective into what it takes to be a firefighter, police officer, paramedic, and first responder, and how policymakers should go above and beyond to make sure that they have the funding they need. Firefighters, paramedics, police officers and first responders rush towards danger when everyone else is running away, and as a State Representative I will lean in with them and have their back.