I’ve spent my life bringing people together to solve problems and build strong solutions meeting the needs of people. In 2015 I ran for DPW Chair to bring those skills and my experience, as well as my commitment to our shared progressive values, to build a strong DPW with our incredible members across Wisconsin.
I’ve served as a full-time chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin since June 2015 and since that time, I’ve traveled over 55,000 miles - from Superior to Kenosha - to talk to party leaders, allies, and voters across Wisconsin. I have worked to build a stronger party by empowering the grassroots organizers across the state, providing candidates with the resources they need to run strong campaigns and building a stronger team that works together. We’ve made progress, but we have a long way to go to build the infrastructure we need to win. I am most proud, that with strong fundraising, we were able to start a Candidate Services Department to support state and local candidates, hire a research director to be a resource for all candidates and form an Organizing Team that will use our off year to build the team we need to win in 2018. To learn more about my accomplishments as Chair, head over to What We’ve Accomplished.
Community Service Leadership in Sheboygan
After moving to the Sheboygan area, I took a job with the Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition to help build a new community center for seniors and children-bringing generations together under one roof. Challenged by a poor economy, I persevered when many believed the project would fall apart. My leadership brought together business and community leaders to raise $4.6 million for the project, which was completed in May 2011.
This collaborative effort has been labeled a model for other communities in Wisconsin. It proved that people from different backgrounds can work together to overcome any challenge!!
I have been a strong advocate for public education and children, stepping up to help schools get the resources children need to succeed. In 2005, when the Iredell School District lacked funding for a library and playground, I took action. I organized parents and community leaders to raise over $160,000 for playground equipment and thousands of books.
Several years later in 2007, when I discovered that many students in the Sheboygan Area School District did not have access to a good breakfast, I worked with a parent group and the district administration to create a breakfast program at the middle school and later that year raised funds to add a second computer lab.
The bottom line is that I always have, and always will, stand up to ensure that every child in my community gets an opportunity for a strong public school education.
State Senate Candidate
In the fall of 2014, I ran for the 9th State Senate District in Wisconsin (Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Plymouth, Chilton Sheboygan Falls, Kohler) because of my deep concern about the direction of our state. I was motivated by my belief that progressive values are needed to bring back a strong, fair Wisconsin with a government that works for everyone under principles of social and economic justice.
While my campaign was not successful, I learned critical lessons about how to build a solid campaign, how to recruit candidates to run for office, and the importance of a strong DPW to support local candidates. Furthermore, my passion for politics as an extension of my public service was sparked. I have taken that passion, and my experience as a candidate, project leader and professional fundraiser, with me every day since my election as DPW Chair in 2015.
I was born and raised in a middle-class family in rural Central Wisconsin. My parents instilled in me early on the values of education, hard work, and the importance of giving back through volunteering. So, my family and community values were created in central Wisconsin.
After high school, I got my degree in Business Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I worked at the local paper mill during summer vacation to pay for my undergraduate education. In 2002, I earned my Masters in Business Administration.
It was at UW-Madison where I met my husband Wayne. We married in 1990. My family – especially our three beautiful children, Katie, Maddie, and Alec – motivated my interest in community service and desire to do more by leading the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.