Candidate Descriptions, Western WI Organizing Co-op

Paul Miller, Eau Claire

Governments at the state and local levels are becoming less and less responsive to the needs and services that the majority of our citizenry require and prefer. Individuals, families and community groups do not have the organizational skills,  aptitude or knowledge in formulating ordinances, law or policy and all too often compete with lobbying qualified proponents of detrimental public policy. The WI Co Op has the possibilities to provide that representation.  

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Barbara Wise, Chippewa Falls

My interests in progressive change for Wisconsin are numerous, including deep-seated support of women's health issues and reproductive rights and strong opposition to the recent efforts to erode voting rights in the state.

I have been actively involved in gender equality issues for many years, dating back to efforts to pass the E.R.A. in the 1970's. More recently I was part of the five-year struggle for passage of Compassionate Care for Rape Victims which was signed into law in March of 2008. I have been a member of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health since its inception.

In March I attended the three day Wisconsin Leadership Development Project (WiLD) workshop in Green Lake representing Citizen Action Wisconsin and our Cooperative.

I am recently retired and live outside Chippewa Falls.

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Nick Smiar, Eau Claire

As a social work professor, for more than twenty-five years I taught my students to be socially aware and politically active, especially on behalf of those who do not have a voice. As an emeritus professor, I continue being socially and politically active by serving as a county board supervisor, vice chairperson of the Human Services Board, and general public gadfly for social causes such as living wage. I have just completed five years of service as chairperson of the state licensing board for social workers where I had nasty experiences with our current state administration and legislature. I write frequent Letters to the Editor, and some are even published!

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Steve Hanson, Menomonie

I have worked on multiple grassroots organizations and activities, have been involved in GOTV campaigns, and other organizing activities. I have been the publisher of Uppity Wisconsin for 10 years and can bring a lot of experience with on-line organizing to the group. I have also been the member of the Menomonie Market Co-Op board for five years. 

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Caryn Treiber, Colfax

I support repealing Citizen United, restoring public education funding, workers' rights, environmental protections, establishing a living wage, a non-partisan legislative districting system, high speed rail and public transit, affordable health care, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and stopping an Enbridge tar sands pipeline crossing the entire state of WI threatening our pristine waterways.

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Joe Plouff, Prairie Farm

For eight years I had the opportunity to represent the people of the 29th assembly district in the state legislature. Following that service, I was employed by the Midwest States Center, coordinating the Midwest Progressive Elected Officials Network (a network of local and state officials in WI, IA, MN and ND).

Upon retirement, I served a couple of terms on the Dunn Co. Board of Supervisors and was appointed to chair the Planning, Resources & Development Committee. The committee worked on two significant environmental ordinances and moved them to the full county board where they were adopted.
The first was a sand mining moratorium and the second was a significant upgrade to the county's shoreland ordinance. Unfortunately, the current majority party in the legislature and the governor passed into law statutes that negated those locally designed environmental protections.

The fire in my belly remains and should you choose to elect me as a board member, I will engage my experience and energy in working to move citizens toward a more progressive worldview.

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Craig Brooks, Buffalo City

I started being involved in health and human service activist groups in 1968. I had always wished there would have been a way to support my family doing just that. It has been a part time, personal effort over the years. Advocacy for welfare recipients and mental patients got me started. Health care reform, especially the long term goal of single payer has been a passion of mine for decades. Frac sand became an issue when I moved across the river to Buffalo City WI in 2007. I am involved currently in the local two county Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the multi-county mental health consortium advisory committee, the local advisory RSVP committee, serve as Chair of the local three county ADRC Board and serve as Chair of the County Democratic Party. I am retired and love that now I get paid to do whatever I want.

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Joan Pougiales, Menomonie

Although I have not been politically active most of my life – beyond voting, staying abreast of the issues, and discussing them with family and friends – I am feeling that level of involvement is no longer sufficient when I see what has happened to the state of democracy in general in this country, and in Wisconsin in particular. Our current state legislature seems bound and determined to take away all of our rights to make our own local decisions, instead raising the interests of dark, unaccountable money over the interests of the citizens of the state. Although I have spent most of my life in language and culture education (currently teaching in and coordinating programs at the University of Wisconsin-Stout ESL Institute), and working with adult refugees from around the world, I feel it may finally be time to put my undergraduate major in political science to work in my community. 

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Judith S. Hull, Eau Claire

For me, this year like no other has impressed upon me the importance of grassroots political change. The organization of the Western Wisconsin Organizing Cooperative is an opportunity to effect progressive change in local communities, to make a difference in people’s lives, and to further an effort to take back Wisconsin, making it a benchmark for other states in the Midwest.

I am president of a condominium association and have served the board for the past 5 years. Recently, I retired from the training department of Learning and Technology Services at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. I find change exciting and have a passion for change that can make a positive difference. I would consider it an honor to serve on the steering committee.

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Terry Meyer, Eau Claire

I have been a unionist and organizer all my adult life. As a teacher leader in WEAC, I served as President of my local and regional governance and as vice president of the state union. I find the cooperative movement as the only path to reclaiming our politics from the rich and protecting citizens at the local level from instrusion by the state government into local governance. I am a Populist and as such believe that the only way to achieve real democracy is outside the corrupt two party corporate system in a cooperative movement that takes back our right as citizens to determine what we think is best for us.

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Rev David Huber, Eau Claire

I am Wisconsin native, growing up in Janesville (though both my parents had their family roots in the Black River/Sparta area). I have been a proud union member of both the UAW and UFCW (at the GM plant and at Woodmans in Janesville), and many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins have been or are UAW members. I have seen in my life the power that comes from people organizing, both through the union experiences of my family, and in other social justice issues. Because The Powers that Be are most often able to stack the deck in their favor, ordinary people of good conscience must organize on their own behalf and the behalf of the powerless others - and history has shown time and time again that no matter how badly the hand dealt them, when we are in solidarity, we win. The GOP in this state has been completely out of control, but they can be defeated, and this Western Wisconsin Co-op is exactly the group that can do it.

I am currently the pastor of Plymouth United Church of Christ in Eau Claire, with previous experience at other churches, as well as working for Lehman Brothers and McKinsey & Co. in NYC, and former life as an electrical engineer before entering ministry. I am very concerned about the issues of poverty, minimum/living wage, public transportation,climate change, and voters' rights. 

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Elaine Wendt, Eau Claire

I retired as the  Dean of Nursing from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.  I have lived in Eau Claire for more than 20 years and have served on a number of non-profit boards in the community.  I am very concerned with what is happening with state and federal governance and am interested in working with like-minded people to move our region forward.

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Kelly Holzer, Elk Mound

Hey Fellow Co-op Members! I grew up in rural Dunn County and I am proud that my daughter is growing up in the same small school district from which I graduated. I am inspired by our state's potential but I am disturbed by its direction these past few years. I think we need to get away from the politics of it and back to the issues that affect our daily lives. I hope to help our co-op work toward that brighter future, for all.

I have held leadership positions on several political boards, was a PTO officer for many years and have work experience in the areas of education, marketing, politics and writing. I currently work in the Continuing Education office at UW-Eau Claire. I have a 13-year old daughter and a 13-year old german short haired pointer. I am addicted to reading, iced tea and The Blacklist. Some issues near to my heart: rural school funding, equality (wage, gender, opportunity, etc.), justice reform, combatting poverty, domestic abuse prevention, healthcare and getting the money out of politics.

I am excited about the opportunity this co-op presents to our communities, and I would be grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity.Thanks for reading!

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Myron Buchholz, Eau Claire

I am presently on the steering committee for 15 Now Northwest Wisconsin. I am a long time Sierra Club member and know that the fight against Frac Sand mining is for the good of our state. I am a retired educator and significant experience in the green energy movement. The legacy we leave to our young must include a clean environment, good paying jobs, affordable education and health care.  

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Karli Wallace Thompson, Eau Claire

Hi, I'm Karli! I've been a resident of western Wisconsin since early 2010, when I moved to Hudson to organize for former (and future!) Senator Russ Feingold. I moved to Eau Claire after the campaign, but continued to help organize anti-Walker protests in the Hudson and River Falls area through the passage of Act 10.

I'm currently working as a digital campaign manager at Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee founded by former DNC chair Howard Dean.

I'm so excited to see how we can use this organizing co-op to build local power here in western Wisconsin. I'd love to bring my organizing experience to this position, and to do everything I can to support Jeff, grow this organization and help make real progressive change happen in our community.

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