Vinehout announces her candidacy for governor

By Ken Luchterhand

State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D- Alma) announced her intentions to run for governor Monday night, Sept. 25, at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Black River Falls.
The event was originally scheduled at the Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Office Building, but was changed in a few days prior to the event.
“Tonight, I want to talk about how we go about putting people first,” Vinehout said. “These are practical steps that contribute to building our local communities and many of them, over the years, have been included in the alternative budgets that I have written in the last four budget cycles. These steps work and they can be achieved with the same dollars that the state is now spending.”
Her five steps are investing in workers, making schools top priority, ensuring affordable healthcare is available to everyone, building and maintaining the infrastructure, and providing the support to give everyone opportunity.
Her main objects are to expand healthcare to all state residents, fix the state school aid formula, raise the minimum wage and make all two-year and technical colleges tuition free.
Ho-Chunk member Cecilia Kraus spoke before Vinehout’s announcement, telling about her struggles and her support of Vinehout.
“So far, I haven’t been successful with the sand mines (problem), as you can tell. They’re still here,” Kraus said. “When my mother passed away, the pastor had a very interesting statement. He commented on the headstone, which included the date of birth, a little dash, and the date of passing. A lot happens in that little dash. It may give you something to think about also. To this day, it still stays with me – the dash. By the time I’m done, you’ll understand how this all falls into place.”
She said she met (Jackson County Democratic Party Chairman) Gaylord Oppegard with her initial meeting with the sand mine representatives, who offered to buy her property. Through Oppegard, Kraus met Senator Vinehout.
“How many young girls do we have, when they are young, they say, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to be a senator’? It sure would be nice if we had a lot more. Kathleen is wonderful role model for our young ladies. After all, women are the mothers who take care of things,” Kraus said.
“How she ended up being a senator, I don’t know. But it required strong family support, a lot of hours, and hard work, of which she does with great diligence. When you meet her, you’ll see how obvious it is. It has been a great pleasure knowing Kathleen and her innate ability to do a stupendous job as senator representing us,” Kraus said. “You know her dash will surely be filled to the max. With that, I would like to say ‘thank you, Kathleen.’”
Dr. Ben Boardman, a physician at Black River Memorial Hospital, formerly with the Ho-Chunk Clinic in Black River Falls, also spoke before her announcement and gave her his endorsement.