I’m a business owner, small farmer, parent, and grandma. I cherish misty Driftless sunrises, strong coffee and the lush Pecatonica River valley that curves through rural Blanchardville where I live.
I was born in dairy country outside Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to a steel worker dad and a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to experience the big city, so I moved to the Midwest at age 17 to study journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago. On the first day of classes, I met my future husband, Shannon, and we stayed in the city for a while until my heart and body started craving the green spaces and open places of my youth. We moved to Blanchardville 16 years ago, sending our four kids through the Pecatonica Area School District while we repaired our barns, improved our soil and fell deeply in love with our strong, supportive agricultural community. We run wool sheep in a managed grazing system, and raise steers, goats, chickens, ducks and hogs on pasture. We grow vegetables and herbs for our award-winning bed and breakfast, which brings over 700 guests to our village of 825 every year. Shannon has restored our 135-year-old farmhouse, as well as three vintage campers we rent to guests. We enjoy fixing old things and dreaming up new projects.
I am fiercely committed to the wellbeing of my family, my neighbors, and Southwest Wisconsin. I have years of experience tackling tough issues, tight budgets and political disagreements as a Lafayette County Supervisor. I have a deep knowledge of the issues facing our region because of my service as a Southwestern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commissioner, and a Board Member of Workforce Development, SWCAP, and the Community Leadership Alliance of Southwestern Wisconsin. In my village, I belong to the Blanchardville Woman's Club and Blanchardville Community Pride, Inc. I'm a member of the Trout Unlimited Harry and Laura Nohr Chapter, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. I am a DNR Conservation Patron.
In 2017, I founded the Pecatonica Pride Watershed Association, a farmer-led water protection group that works to improve the Pecatonica River and it's tributaries. In 2015, I started Blanchardville's Main Street Farmers Market. I was also one of three "Soil Sisters" who led the charge in 2016 to overturn the state's unconstitutional ban on selling home baked goods. Now our neighborhoods and farmers markets are filled with baking start-ups, adding money to the economy and making life extra sweet. Rural Main Streets need more traffic, activity, color, open doors and opportunities - and I'm ready to get busy making it happen.
My top priorities have long been protecting natural resources, promoting historic Main Streets, building regional economies, supporting family farms, and attracting new families and businesses to the region. I am immensely proud of rural Southwest Wisconsin, and I will fight in the legislature to secure the resources our towns, schools, farms, and businesses need to survive and thrive post-COVID and into the future. I'm focused on getting high-speed broadband to every rural resident, creating incentives and support for medium-scale regional meat and milk processing plants, helping farmers build profitable local markets and in general pressing in now to fix those pain points for rural people that the pandemic has made more painful.
Our life here in the country is wonderful and important - we're growing the nation's food, fuel and fiber and we're holding the carbon and green space that support a world of breathing creatures. Our opportunities are vast. Our future is bright. Let's work hard and have fun getting there, together.