Jessica Katzenmeyer – Wisconsin – State Senate District 5
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I am a proud, hard-working Wisconsinite who knows what it means to go the extra mile. After moving here for college 24 years ago, I fell in love with the state and wanted to do everything within my power to make a difference. In 2002, I earned her B.A. in communications with a minor in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
With a proud union background, I worked for UPS for over 12 years. I was an active member of Teamsters Local 344, serving three years as elected Secretary on their Political and Legislative Committee, five years on the UPS Safety Committee, and three years on the UPS Employee Relations Committee. The lessons learned from serving in these roles were invaluable, but none were as important as understanding that when people work together, it is possible to make the world a better place.
I decided to turn my passion into action beyond my workplace. I became an active member of my community, volunteering with local and statewide campaigns, advocating for LGBTQ rights, and even performing with my local theater group. In 2017, I became an esteemed alum of Emerge, an organization dedicated to helping women become leaders in government.
Why are you running for office?
I lost almost everything to a devastating house fire in 2019. A mere day after, I fell into a coma and had to be immediately hospitalized, where I nearly died because of health complications brought on by the fire. If it weren’t for the Affordable Care Act, I would have owed over $80,000 for the life-saving care I received.
The tragic event motivated me to be part of the solution to our country’s ongoing healthcare crisis. I was fortunate to have healthcare but understood that not everyone is as lucky. It became my goal to be a voice for those who do not have access to affordable healthcare.
In 2020, I ran for Wisconsin State Assembly with the hope of helping other Wisconsinites who know what it means to struggle. I became a leading voice in Wisconsin on LGBTQ rights as the state’s second-ever transgender candidate to run for state office, quickly gaining national recognition as an alum of the Victory Institute and being named a top-10 candidate to watch in multiple publications.
Today, I am self-employed and I serve on the City of West Allis Plan Commission. Staying true to what initially motivated me to become a community activist, I is running for State Senate to fight for the issues that impact the everyday lives of Wisconsinites who know what it means to work hard and overcome adversity.
What are the three biggest issues facing your community?
1. Fixing our healthcare system
2. Infrastructure and clean energy
3. Investing in our communities and schools
How do you propose to solve those problems?
1. I’ll fight to EXPAND healthcare coverage by accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid, PROTECT those with pre-existing conditions, EMPOWER Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug costs, I’ll also move to Increase Mental Health Coverage and restore a women’s right to choose
2. High-speed rail, modernizing roadways and making them safer, encouraging the use of electric cars, and encouraging the use of solar panels in residential homes are all part of my plan to address infrastructure and clean energy improvements.
3. I will make sure public dollars fund public schools, raise revenue limits, expand local control over taxes to fund our public services and utilize the $5 billion in surplus the GOP are currently sitting on to invest in education in our state.
What is your stance on environmental and climate concerns that are facing your community?
Wisconsin has the opportunity to lead our nation in clean energy, and in the process, create thousands of good-paying jobs for hard-working Wisconsinites. In times like this, where our infrastructure is crumbling, we should do what we can to move our state forward. This means expanding broadband to those who need it, working with farmers toward more sustainable agriculture practices, and investing in clean energy technology.
What commonsense gun safety measures would have the most impact on your community?
Expanded background checks, passing red flag laws, renewing the assault weapon bans, enforcing waiting periods, and fully funding our public services.
How would criminal justice reforms impact your community?
Investing in our public safety fully will help us have a safer community. This means making sure bad apples are held accountable, but also making sure that everyone has access to a fair and equitable justice system.
How would you work to protect a woman’s reproductive health?
I would work right alongside Governor Evers to repeal the 1849 criminal ban on abortions in Wisconsin. I would also fight to safeguard birth control and contraceptives.
What measures would you advocate to ensure that your constituents have the right to vote?
I would support fair and non-partisan map drawing. I would support drop boxes for absentee ballots. I also agree with the new case ruling that says that disabled voters can receive help with returning their ballots to the clerks.
I also am a proponent for legalization of cannabis. I was a former union member and support workers rights – especially restoring the right to collectively bargain for public employees. Furthermore, I am a trans woman and would be the first trans woman elected to the state legislature in Wisconsin.
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