This campaign experience has been really amazing – not a day has gone by since my declaring candidacy without someone giving me some words of encouragement, “Way to go!” or a thumbs up; sharing the excitement and enthusiasm for democracy. It has continued to be a great opportunity to learn more about issues in our district, and I have had a chance to get my opinions out there through articles, interviews and forums. I hope that people know that I truly love Wisconsin, and also that I love my life, my family, my friends and the World. I often contemplate the interconnectedness of us all – I like the image of a web where each strand is connected and each strand affects the other.
There have been many curious experiences throughout this campaign journey. One very exciting discovery has been learning that my great grandparents are buried at the West Kewaunee United Methodist Church Cemetery, and that they and their family, including my grandfather, have a history in Kewaunee County. I did not have a chance to know my grandparents and my mother has been gone almost 30 years, so history can get lost, but I am looking forward to learning more!
We have so many opportunities to make things better – better protection for clean air and water, better ways to provide health care for all, better ways to inspire our youth with education and hope for the future, better methods to promote sustainability and decrease our carbon footprint. Lots of topics really didn’t make the cut for forums or interviews, and I hope people are taking advantage of the video interviews online, but questions still need to be asked. Do we care about the continued use of toxic chemicals used in agriculture and the effect they have on our food supply? Do we worry about the consequences of fracking? Are we concerned about the damage mining operations are causing? Do we have any answers why rape kits remain unprocessed years after the assault occurred? Are we finding ways to support our Veterans and work on ways to increase accessibility for all those with disabilities? Just a few questions to remind us that our voice and our vote are our strength.
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Editor’s note: Roberta Thelen is running as an independent in the 1st Assembly District, which includes Kewaunee, Door and part of Brown and Manitowoc counties. Photo by Elizabeth Schmidt/robertathelen.com.