Kelly Westlund for Congress
WI-07 in WI http://www.kellywestlund.com/
202 West Main Street
Primary Election Date: 2014-08-12 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
My name is Kelly Westlund, and I'm a member of the Ashland City Council. I grew up in a military family and I've lived in northern Wisconsin going on 13 years. I came to Ashland to earn my degree in Conflict Resolution from Northland College. Then I married a local carpenter, Caleb, and together, we've built a life here.
After college, I went to work at the Alliance for Sustainability. As Executive Director, I coordinated a regional pilot project with the State Office of Energy Independence designed to increase energy efficiency and promote the use of renewable energy alternatives. I also worked with local businesses and municipalities to reduce waste and promote more sustainable day-to-day operations as part of the Green Team Network of Early Adopters of Sustainability.
In the years since, I started my own business doing similar work, choosing projects that would have long-term positive impacts on my community. I have spent the last few years working with a cooperative of area producers to build a strong local food system that will support family farms for generations to come.
As an elected official, I have always worked to find fair and pragmatic solutions to the problems we face. I understand that change takes time, but it demands that we persist with forward movement. I believe in a representative government, and I think it's high time people have more political power over our government than corporate campaign backers do.
Why am I running?
I'm running for Congress because I believe that the people in my district deserve real representation in Washington, DC, and I'm not afraid to stand up to special interests on behalf of working people.
Sean Duffy says one thing to constituents in the district, and then he goes back to Washington and votes against us.
I don't think I'm the only one who's fed up with disingenuous politicians and the influence of corporate money on our government. I'm not alone in my frustration with a lack of economic opportunity for hard-working people while the rich get richer and my congressman complains about "struggling" to get by $174,000 per year.
I'm the kind of person who believes that if I can make better decisions than the person currently representing me, then I have a responsibility to challenge them. It's time for a change, and I think this is a great place to start.
1. Expand economic opportunity: Increase the minimum wage to a living wage, reduce student loan rates, protect and expand Social Security.
In my role as a City Councilor and activist, I have organized events to support striking union workers and pushed the City to provide fair pay and benefits to City employees. On the campaign trail, I have been very outspoken about increasing the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance, reducing student loan rates, and expanding Social Security.
2. Expand access to affordable health care: Offer a public option (if not single payer), negotiate prescription drug prices, and support community-based preventative care and treatment programs.
As a City Councilor, I voted to allocate resources to the expansion of our community health care clinic. On the campaign trail, I have clearly articulated my support for expanding access to affordable health care by offering a public option.
3. Campaign finance reform:
My DFA Values
My goal is to build a strong coalition for a mobilized people-powered campaign. This is not a wealthy district, but we work hard and we pinch pennies to get the job done. My campaign is an opportunity to lift the voices of those I'm asking to represent, to give them an opportunity to share their stories and know that someone is actually listening.
I believe that everyone has a voice with value and a contribution to make. It's up to me to meet people where they are and give them a reason and an opportunity to engage. I believe that diversity makes us stronger and that everyone has the right to be treated as a person, with respect, regardless of political affiliation. Corporations are not people, and we need members of Congress to represent constituents, not their campaign funders.
I am a progressive running on economic populism. I'm not a somebody. I'm more like an everybody else. No one who works hard should have to live paycheck to paycheck. Everyone should have the opportunity to build a secure future. No one in this country should go without food or shelter , access to affordable health care or education. We should be good stewards of our natural environment and each other. After all, a democracy is how we choose to govern ourselves. We should make the choice to lessen human suffering in whatever way we can.
My Campaign is People Powered!
The roll out of my campaign was comprised of round table discussions with people whose stories were reflective of how decisions made in Washington affect regular people. I chose to introduce myself as a candidate this way because a campaign for congress is and excellent opportunity to life the voices of those I'm asking to represent.
I've been endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and have worked with their members in my district to reach voters across 26 counties -- they've hosted house parties and connected me with community leaders, helped organize public events, and gather petition signatures.
I'm not a person who had access to powerful people or significant wealth when I jumped into this campaign. To be successful, I'll have to build relationships, then coalitions and a strong grassroots outreach effort across an expansive rural district. With my background in local self-reliance and conservation issues and my time in local government, I have a diverse group of people to reach out to, many of whom share progressive values and a deep understanding of the needs of rural communities.