Those who assume the Solidarity Movement died with the recall may be in for a shock. For some previously apolitical citizens, involvement in our democratic process has only just begun. Progressives are stepping up like never before to run for office, and not just in safe blue districts. The Emerge program has seen a record number of applicants since Scott Walker took office. And on Friday morning, Lisa Sink, Brookfield Patch, reported that for the first time in twelve years, Rep. Jeff Stone (R) will face a Democratic challenger in the fall, a teacher inspired by the recall.

Sink reports that Kathleen Weid Vincent is moving from Brookfield to Greendale, Wisconsin to take on Rep. Stone. Vincent is no stranger to Greendale. She grew up in the district, graduated from its high school, taught in the district at one point, and maintains contacts there, she says.

From Brookfield Patch:

Vincent was born in West Allis and lived in Milwaukee until she was in third grade when her family (maiden name is Wied) moved to Greendale in 1976. Like each of her eight siblings — five sisters and three brothers, she graduated from Greendale High School. She obtained her bachelor of science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1990…

And now she’s “coming home.”

Vincent said she will move from her family’s rented Brookfield house into a dog-friendly apartment in the 82nd Assembly district that covers Greendale, Greenfield and Franklin. The law requires candidates to live in the district at least 30 days before the election, she said.

Vincent was inspired by the recall:

Suddenly she found herself marching at the Capitol and working to get Walker recalled.

“I had never carried a protest sign in my life,” she said. Her oversized Wisconsin license plate sign with the letters Recall Walker slung around her neck and her dog Nanook became fixtures at protests. She also joined the night time light brigades who lined Milwaukee area bridge overpasses with lit recall messages.

But Vincent made clear that she is not running for office because of Act 10:

Vincent said parts of Act 10 were too extreme and other parts had merit.

“I say there has to be a happy medium, there does need to be some compromise there,” she said. “We do need workplace safeguards. Are we going to start having 50- to 60-hour work week requirements?”

Vincent is not running as an agitator, either. Just the opposite. In fact, when she was at the Capitol she asked both sides to sit down and talk with one another:

She said she sat in lawmakers’ offices that winter trying to persuade them to craft a bill both sides could accept. She brought two bags of popcorn to the Capitol offices of state Reps. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) and Peggy Krusick (D-Milwaukee), asking them to sit down and talk over popcorn. They didn’t take up her offer.

“I’ve used my time in the Legislature to try to work together. I think I’ve got a reputation both in the district and in the Capitol (for bipartisanship).”

While I have not yet had the opportunity to speak with Vincent, and I don’t know what her chances of winning the 82nd Assembly seat are, I look forward to finding out more about her, and the other women and men around our state who have stepped up to challenge the status quo.

This morning on The Sara Schulz show, Rob Zerban, the Democrat running against Paul Ryan,  said that we need to actively participate in the democratic process every single day, that if we don’t, we’ll lose it.

He’s right.

Forward!

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