Politics as usual have failed us, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. The COVID-19 pandemic has only sharpened our need for responsive and responsible leadership. Our communities deserve leaders who listen, leaders who understand us, and leaders who don’t put our lives on the line so we can exercise the most basic of our constitutional duties — the right to vote. My name is Kristin Lyerly, and I am running for State Assembly, District 88, because I am that leader.
My roots and my heart are in Northeast Wisconsin. My mom’s parents were dairy farmers near Fond du Lac, back when family farms were a way of life in the Badger State. My uncle still owns the farm, although the cows are long gone. My dad was a foreman in the tool and die industry in Kaukauna, until that moved out of town. His entire family worked at the paper mill. My parents’ dream for me and my sister, a bank teller in Oshkosh, was to go to college, and they fought to get us there. I graduated from the University of Minnesota and then came home to the University of Wisconsin for medical school and residency training in obstetrics and gynecology, along the way earning a Master’s Degree in Public Health — as well as a student loan debt burden I am paying off to this day.
As a physician, I have the privilege of listening to my patients every day and helping them find solutions to complicated, individualized problems. These experiences fuel my work in healthcare advocacy, which lends itself naturally to a broader role in leadership, especially when healthcare is front and center. My passion for nurturing healthy communities, bolstered by leadership roles within my hospital and professional organizations and experience as a small business owner, give me a unique perspective that is sorely missing in our Legislature. The voice of medicine is absent from the body that determines much of what happens in your exam room, which is nonsensical at best and devastating — even deadly — at worst. I will be that voice, telling your stories and working with you to solve the problems that are closest to your heart and closest to your home.
I also care deeply and personally about our public education system. Our four sons have always attended public schools, and we couldn’t be prouder of our oldest, who is studying to become an elementary school music teacher at UW-Stevens Point. When we talk about issues at home, climate change is one of our greatest mutual concerns, although the conversation often drifts to the brazen, unacceptable behavior that continues to divide our communities and prevent us from moving forward together. We need to get beyond partisan politics to strengthen our communities by building relationships and bridging divides.
I look forward to hearing from you, listening to your stories, and meeting you in person, when we are able to do that again. I truly believe that, in the words of Paul Wellstone, “we all do better when we all do better.” Let’s start doing better, together.