My husband Matt and I live on a farmette in rural Clinton. Prior to moving to Rock County, we lived in the Town of Linn in Walworth County. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991 with degrees in Political Science and International Relations.
After graduation, I developed an interest in and aptitude for environmental project management and regulatory compliance. I worked for a variety of clients in three states helping businesses navigate the complex regulatory process while protecting human health and the environment. I became a Certified Wisconsin Firefighter in 1998, and in 1999 I earned the credential of Certified Hazardous Materials Manager. I worked at the Greater Beloit Chamber from 2003 until 2010, serving as Government Relations Director, Vice President, and Interim President.
I was first elected to the Wisconsin state Assembly in 2010. I ran as a problem solver, not a partisan activist. Ten years later I have earned a reputation for being an honest, trusted and respected leader. I have a strong work ethic and enjoy taking on complex challenges, offering solid solutions and achieving real results. I have been a member of the Legislature’s powerful Joint Committee on Finance for the past six years and am currently the Vice Co-Chair of that committee. I also serve as Chairman of the State Capitol and Executive Residence Board and am a member of the State Fair Park Board. My prior local elected experience includes Supervisor for the Town of Clinton Board where I also served as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee. I enjoy public policy immensely and love a good challenge.
My relationships with fellow legislators span both sides of the political aisle and cover all corners of Wisconsin. I have a strong record of results and am proud to have authored numerous bills with bipartisan support that were signed into law by Governor Walker and Governor Evers. I know there is more work to do and want to use my ideas, experience and can-do attitude to proactively address the challenges facing the great state of Wisconsin.
Why do you want to be Wisconsin’s Secretary of State?
The Secretary of State’s office has fallen into disrepair and disfavor thanks to the neglect of Democrat Doug La Follette who has been in that office for forty-four years. The less he did, the more people forgot there was such an office.
As I travel the state listening to voters, I keep hearing two things: We need a Secretary of State who will actually earn their taxpayer-funded paycheck and make this Constitutional office work again for the people, and the Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) must be abolished and put people in charge of elections who are directly accountable to the voters of Wisconsin.
You have spoken about the need for integrity in the Wisconsin elections process and the need to restore voter confidence. What’s wrong with the process?
Regardless of what anyone feels about the 2020 election results, the way the current Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) administered that election has raised serious questions and doubts about how it was managed. Even Wisconsin’s non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau has said some actions taken were inconsistent with state law and administrative rules. WEC is broken and must be replaced. No one in the WEC office is accountable to the voters and that needs to change.
What can you do as Secretary of State to make that change? Currently, Wisconsin’s Secretary of State Office doesn’t have any election authority.
According to the Institute for Reforming Government, thirty-three states give elected officials oversight of their election process and twenty-five of those utilize their Secretary of State to do so. Wisconsin is not one of them; it should be.
As Secretary of State, I would advocate for a new model of overseeing and administering elections in Wisconsin that puts election integrity and transparency at the forefront, follows Wisconsin election law to the letter and provides top-notch training and support to our local election officials. This makes the Secretary of State’s office directly accountable to the voters every four years unlike the current WEC system.
What is the biggest problem with elections in Wisconsin right now?
People have legitimate questions about how our elections are and were conducted and they don’t feel like they are getting the answers or corrective responses they are seeking. Some of the issues that need to be addressed include the use of ballot drop boxes, the absentee voting system, and the practice of ballot harvesting.
Why are you the best choice for Secretary of State in Wisconsin?
I am the only candidate with a record of results as an elected official demonstrated by successful enactment of 51 bills I authored over the course of my 12 years of service in the Wisconsin State Assembly. People know I have integrity and a strong work ethic and can be trusted to deliver results. I will add value to the office of Secretary of State after decades of relative dormancy. Just the current duties alone can be upgraded to be more responsive to the public. We have a real opportunity here to utilize this constitutional office which is directly accountable to the voters, to rebuild trust, accountability, and transparency.