I'm known to some as the Cookie Lady, some as a Soil Sister and others as Madame County Board Supervisor. Now I want to be your voice in the Wisconsin State Assembly, and when I get there I'll speak loud enough to cut through partisan shouting matches. Here's what I think we need most:
Fair Maps: Pass a non-partisan redistricting solution in 2021. No more excuses, no more waiting, no more hiding behind party leadership. Democracy dies when politicians are able to choose their voters, rather than the other way around. If you hate the partisanship and dysfunction in government, ending gerrymandering is the single most powerful way to encourage representatives to work together.
Small Towns: Invest in schools, roads, senior housing, internet, mental health access, and Main Street redevelopment. Rural places are the soul of our state and the engine of our economy - but we need up-to-date basic tools so we can get back to work. The COVID shutdown exposed the shameful state of internet deserts in our rural communities, as many of our families were forced to travel and sit in school parking lots for hours per day to get children's homework done.
Family Agriculture: Support diversification to help farm portfolios and local economies bounce back after COVID - only stronger, better, more resilient and more responsive to demand. Offer producers support to leave monopoly markets and develop short supply chains. Provide continuous research and development to help small- and mid-scale processors meet regional demands. Failure to quickly build regional food infrastructure and help a significant portion of our farmers transition out of consolidated global markets will accelerate the catastrophic exodus of farm families from the industry. Incentivize a "Solar Field for Every Farm" and connect agriculture to the clean energy industry in Wisconsin - expanding opportunity for both and healing the atmosphere.
Food Freedom: Expand opportunities for agricultural entrepreneurs by following the lead of Montana, Utah and North Dakota and allowing direct farm sales of canned goods, baked goods, meat and diary products without burdensome regulation. Give consumers access to the farm-to-table goods they want. Allow neighbors to support neighbors.
Clean Water: Ensure that rural places can provide the quality of water and quality of life that attract and retain workers, families and businesses. Return to the conservation ethic that made us "The Nation's Summer Vacation" back when Gov. Gaylord Nelson led the national charge for protecting natural areas. Let's make Every Day is Earth Day in beautiful Wisconsin, and we'll find that our tourists will start to become residents, business owners and entrepreneurs helping to rebuild our economy.
Healthcare Reform: Approve Medicaid expansion so that our rural hospitals, which are struggling desperately as a result of the COVID shutdown, can be reimbursed adequately for services provided to the poor and the elderly. Wisconsin currently refuses over $1 billion a year in federal money that could help keep rural hospitals providing quality care for everyone. Shame on our Republican legislative leadership for blocking this expansion for almost a decade. And shame on the Republicans in Washington, DC, for not controlling skyrocketing prescription prices.
What's your story? What's your struggle? What's your big idea? I’d love to meet you - with a mask on - and see the places you love in the 51st.