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Politics Should be Local

Updated: Jan 8

It was the first day of deer gun season 2023 in Wisconsin when we kicked off the campaign with cider and cookies just a few feet from the only stoplight in Montello. Featured guests at the celebration were the people walking by who were in town running their Saturday errands and those participating in the Holiday Trail, a shop small event sponsored by local businesses and organizations. It was sunny and mild for November, certainly a more comfortable day than we had reason to expect.

I chose Montello for the campaign launch because I live in Marquette County and Montello is the county seat. I chose a public corner because I wanted to announce to the community that I was interested in talking with everyone. I chose cider, cookies and hand painted signs to say that I reject the notion that you have to have to come from money to enter politics. (Note: I recognize that money will be needed to run a competitive campaign, but more on that another time.)

I talked with anyone who came by. I talked with folks who share my perspectives and I talked with folks who see things differently. I also listened. My 14th Senate District neighbors shared their significant concerns about the struggles facing rural communities. They spoke with passion about fears for the future due to a structure for school finance that dooms rural schools. They spoke about their concerns for the health of our surface water and the safety of our drinking water. They expressed frustration about being ignored by political parties who focus on urban and suburban voters.

I admit that some folks walked right on by without stopping. Maybe some of these people were on a schedule, but some of those who walked by with a look determination and without eye contact were not in a mood to discuss any ideas not strictly in line with their staunchly conservative viewpoints. But I will make sure that there are plenty of opportunities for them to talk with me should they be so inclined. As neighbors, residents of the 14th Senate District have a lot in common. We share a lot of common ground and common concerns. If we take the time to talk together and listen to one another, we will be able to identify ideas and solutions we can all live with.

Our greatest differences and our most significant disagreements seem to arise when we focus on the biggest problems facing our nation and our world. It is my goal to help all of my neighbors across the 14th to focus on those things we hold in common so we can work together to solve our problems. There is a proverb that all politics are local. To help us reduce the divisiveness we find in our political discourse, perhaps we need to remind ourselves that politics should also be local.

December 19, 2023

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