Democrats have managed to flip a northwest state senate district that has belonged to Republican for almost two decades. Sheila Harsdorf has held District 10 since 2001. Governor Scott Walker recently appointed Harsdorf as agriculture secretary, leaving her senate seat open.
Some are saying the race is a beacon for Democrats as the midterm election year gets off the ground, but newly elected Patty Schachtner says she won by keeping the focus of her campaign close to home.
Schachtner says her campaign focused on traditional Wisconsin values to win this election: the environment, access to mental health and drug treatment, and education.
To better handle the challenges on the western side of the state, she wants to invite more folks into the conversation. She says, “It’s not just legislators. It’s legislators getting together with the hospitals and the police… and going, ‘ok, what do you need to make this process better?’” She points out how the western side of Wisconsin has to handle these challenges differently due to smaller populations and fewer services than its eastern counterpart.
Environmental challenges are another main focus of Schachtner’s district. Specifically, district 10 is dealing with shoreline ordinances, water quality, air quality, all of which Schachtner says local boards should have the power to make enforceable decisions on.
The national attention and political climate did not play significantly into her win, Schachtner says. Her campaign focused on local issues and local people.
Producer Nina Kravinsky spoke with her over the phone today.