The COOKIE BATTLE for Food Freedom that started it all...

In 2015, Kriss and two farmer friends - all members of a Wisconsin women farmers support group called the Soil Sisters - started the process of writing a "Cookie Bill" with legislators in Madison. The bill was designed to allow home bakers to sell up to $15,000 per year worth of non-hazardous products directly to neighbors without building a commercial kitchen. All three of the women were bed and breakfast owners, already state inspected to bake for guests, but Wisconsin statues banned them from selling those same goods at the farmers market or a farm stand. At the time, Wisconsin was one of only TWO states that banned home baking. After three years of having the bill blocked from a vote by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and the grocery lobby, the Soil Sisters sued the state and won. In the summer of 2019, the women - Dela Ends, Lisa Kivirist and Kriss - were featured speakers on the stage of FarmAid - and got some love from the one and only Tanya Tucker. Their up-close experience with big money lobbies and political gridlock at the Capital was the turning point that convinced Kriss to run for state office. Read more about their fight and Kriss' Food Freedom policy platform to help create more opportunities for Wisconsin's struggling farmers... Continue reading

Rural America’s Own Private Flint: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink

But Kriss Marion, an organic farmer campaigning for State Senate through southern Wisconsin, said the state’s wetlands, streams and groundwater were being stripped of protections as industrial farms were allowed to grow larger and larger. She said staff levels at the Department of Natural Resources had been “gutted” under Mr. Walker. “That’s why I am running,” she said. “This is the fight of the decade.” The Republican incumbent in her district, Howard Marklein, supported a $3 billion incentive package championed by Mr. Walker to draw a huge new electronics factory to Wisconsin that also allowed the factory to bypass environmental and water rules. He has been endorsed by trade groups representing dairy, pork, cattle, potato and corn farmers. Continue reading

Why competitive districts matter

In August I spent a Saturday with Kriss Marion. Marion is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Howard Marklein in a southwestern Wisconsin district that could determine which party controls the state Senate come January. I wrote about her unusual campaign in an Isthmus cover story, but she and her campaign manager, Anna Landmark, are such interesting women that there was a lot I had to leave behind even with my 3,000 word limit. One story from that day that I keep thinking about is how Marion approached a hostile voter. We were at the Boscobel farmers’ market and she was working the line of vendors. She had just finished talking with a woman who was strongly supportive when she moved on to a vendor selling leather goods. Continue reading

Wisconsin State Journal Endorses Kriss Marion for State Senate

This levelheaded and disarming farmer and bed-and-breakfast owner in Blanchardville hasn’t lived in southwest Wisconsin for most of her life, as her opponent, Rep. Howard Marklein, has. But Marion better understands what it takes for her district to attract and keep more young families and workers to fill jobs and start businesses — one of the biggest challenges facing the region. Marion fled the Chicago area with her husband years ago for the beauty and small-town life of the Driftless Area, where she has raised four children. Continue reading

Will this woman flip the Senate?

Kriss Marion bounces along the back roads of southwest Wisconsin in a 1994 red Dodge Ram pickup. Big signs, hand-painted on plywood, adorn each side of the pickup bed and declare her as a candidate for Senate District 17. She’s a Democrat looking to unseat incumbent Sen. Howard Marklein in a seat once held by Republican maverick Dale Schultz. On this Saturday in August she wears cowboy boots, a blue sleeveless dress and a cowboy hat. The same Patsy Cline tape plays over and over again on the cassette tape player. When I ask if there are other options she tells me to check the glove compartment. In it I find a few tapes that have somehow, maybe through the intense heat of many Driftless summers, become fused together. I manage to detach one, an old Roy Rogers and Dale Evans tape titled, Sweet Hour of Prayer. We continue listening to Patsy Cline. Continue reading

Campaign 2018: Kriss Marion (D) Candidate for 17th SD

On September 17, 2018, Senior Producer Steve Walters interviewed Kriss Marion (D-Blanchardville) who is running for the 17th Senate District in the upcoming election. #campaign2018

We must design, plan and zone for a more resilient future.

In my travels across SW Wisconsin as a state senate candidate, I’ve had the great privilege to hear both heart-wrenching stories of loss and heart-warming stories of heroic efforts as we recover from catastrophic flooding this past week. I am so proud of our volunteer spirit, our first responders and our public employees. And as someone who farms deep in the Pecatonica Valley, I feel the pain of those who lost livestock, crops, property and equipment to rising water. I’ve been there. I also sympathize with those in the produce, manufacturing and shipping industries, as the many road closures in the district are now making it hard to get goods to market on time. I’ve been late for a few appointments this week, and we’ll all be dealing with the washouts for a while. Continue reading

Industry and agriculture can co-exist with a clean environment

THE CAPITAL TIMES. By Kriss Marion. Jobs and environmental protections are not an either-or equation. Neither is agriculture and clean water. We CAN have mining, industry, development and agriculture while protecting our environment. This is the year 2018 and we have technology in all of those fields to do a good job; there is simply not enough political will in our state Legislature to enforce standards that would demand it. We are going backward instead of ahead. We need a decisive policy shift back toward strong protection of natural resources so our rural places can provide the quality of life to attract and retain the workers, families and businesses we need for our rural communities to thrive.  Continue reading

Bus tour highlights rough roads

La Crosse, WI (WXOW) - La Crosse County maintains more than 280 miles of highways. Over 50 percent of the county highway networks needs major repairs, but not enough funds are available. Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain wanted elected officials and business leaders to feel the bumps in the road residents endure.  "We try to do what we can there, but we don't have enough money to meet every safety need that's out there right now, let alone just the pavement needs," Chamberlain explained. Counties are supposed to receive 30 percent of costs for general transportation aids from the state. Chamberlain says La Crosse County receives only 17 percent.  Continue reading

Kriss Marion: Sharing Her “Little Piece Of Heaven”

From WORT FM: "This month we interview dynamo Kriss Marion of Circle M Market Farm in Blanchardville, Wisc. Kriss is a farmer and sustainable ag activist operating a certified organic produce farm and BnB. She sells her veggies via a market CSA and at the Blanchardville and Argyle farmers markets. She raises livestock, including sheep, goats, pigs, horses, a pony, steers, chickens and geese. She serves as a Lafayette County Supervisor and is fascinated by ag policy. She is very active with the WI Farmers Union and Green County Women in Sustainable Agriculture. Oh yes, and she raised four kids. Visit her farm’s website, here." Continue reading