DRIFTLESS - State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) and soon-to-be-declared candidate for Governor of Wisconsin spoke to a group of about 50 people on Sunday, April 8 at American Legion Taphouse #138 in Viroqua.
Vinehout describes her campaign plans as a process of ‘growing her vine,” reaching out to the many average citizens versus a few rich donors.
“My campaign will upend the way that priorities have been determined in our state in recent years, and put people first,” Vinehout said. “People will be at the center of state policymaking in my administration, both in financial allocations and in legislation.”
Vinehout expressed dismay and frustration with the legislative season in the state capitol that is just now wrapping up.
“Last week, legislators received 125 bills that were on our calendar less than one day in advance of when we would be expected to vote on them,” Vinehout recounted. “And in the last four years there has been a pattern to the kinds of legislation being put forward which has essentially been an attack on consumer, environmental and worker protections, and on local control.”
Vinehout told the group that her campaign will focus on what she sees as four key issues facing citizens of the state:
Fair funding for public schools that respects schools and teachers;
Helping and retaining the youth of our state through education incentives and free tuition for community and two-year colleges;
Providing broadband in all communities in the state, and ensuring that the companies that receive the contracts actually deliver the services;
Providing healthcare for all state residents through accepting the federal Medicare expansion dollars, expanding coverage to 80,000 additional state residents, and freeing up $286 million to be invested in community-based mental health and addiction-recovery programs.
Vinehout contrasted her campaign from that of other Democratic Party hopefuls.
“My motivation to run comes from my personal experiences,” Vinehout explained. “I’m not from a privileged background – my Dad was a union laborer, and Mom was a nurse. We had healthcare, and we had Christmas because of the union.”
Vinehout told the group about how she paid her own way through college, and worked in the public health field, eventually going on to teach public health at the university level. Later, after marrying a dairy farmer, her family launched into running a dairy farm business which has been certified organic for the last 10 years.
“Like many farm families, my family suffered from lack of access to healthcare,” Vinehout said. “I want to fix that problem once and for all.”
Vinehout told the group that the first step in ‘growing the vine’ will be to gather the needed 2,000 signatures to get her name on the ballot for the Democratic primary election to be held on August 14, 2018.
The Vernon County Democratic Party, located in the Hotel Fortney on Main Street in Viroqua has candidate nomination papers available for all Democratic Party candidates seeking to appear on the primary election ballot. Signatures can begin to be gathered on April 15, and must be returned to the campaign by May 16.