Meet the New WECA Manager
In last month¹s commentary,Share Brandt introduced me as the new manager of the Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association. I thought as I present
my first column, I should spend some time telling you about myself before
we launch headlong into policy or what is going on at the Capitol, whether
here in Madison or in Washington, D.C.
Growing up and living on our family¹s farm in rural Hazel Green,
Wisconsin, has given me a unique perspective on life. For 141 years my
family has lived in this rural community and worked the land on the bluffs
overlooking the Mississippi River. For those of us who grew up in rural
Wisconsin, I think it has taught us about respect, and has given us
strength of character and a willingness to help our neighbors.
From an early age I knew I wanted to make a difference for my hometown, so
while I was attending college at UWPlatteville I decided to run for a
seat on our local town board. I figured it would take me a few tries
before they would elect me, but on
election night, at the age of 20, I became the youngest town supervisor in
the Town of Jamestown¹s history. Two years later I would run for a seat on
the Grant County Board of Supervisors and be elected the youngest county
supervisor in the
county¹s history. These two elections reinforced my belief that as
individuals we can make a difference if we put our mind to it and work
hard for it. My goal all along was to make a difference for
The experience serving on these two boards would allow me to run for the
Wisconsin State Assembly by the time I was 30 and be elected in one of the
largest rural districts in the state. The first annual meeting I attended
was the GrantLafayette
Electric Cooperative annual meeting. During my 16 years of serving in the
Legislature I would have the privilege of working with many of our members
throughout Southwestern Wisconsin on issues that were important to rural
Wisconsin and rural electric cooperatives.
When I was elected speaker pro tempore I became the first rural legislator
from either political party to win a leadership post in 25 years. This
gave me a unique opportunity to advance a policy agenda that was
beneficial to rural Wisconsin.
Never in my wildest imagination did I think when I left the Legislature
that I would run away and join a circus, but that is exactly what I did.
But more on that next month.