DISTRICT 29: Jones hopes varied past prepared her for future serviceIf elected Nov. 2, Liz Jones’ path to the Wisconsin Legislature will be an atypical one.
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
If elected Nov. 2, Liz Jones’ path to the Wisconsin Legislature will be an atypical one.
Raised in New Richmond since she was 5, Jones dropped out of high school before graduation.
“I was the kid who looked out the window a lot,” she said.
She later got pregnant and was working hard to pay the bills.
It was during those early years of struggling that Jones realized that education was her ticket to greater success.
She went to Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, with her son in tow, to finish her high school diploma.
After that, she continued to work and attend college, eventually graduating with a degree in communications and a master’s in organizational leadership. Jones also has a legal education as part of a dual degree program with her master's.
“While I was going to school, my son was in a serious accident,” Jones said. “I took a year off to take care of him.”
Today, the Woodville resident works for a law firm in Hudson. She also conducts wellness and leadership presentations and classes. She previously worked as executive director of domestic abuse program.
Jones has also been involved in various volunteer efforts through the years, including Habitat for Humanity, animal humane societies and pet visitation programs at area nursing homes
Jones also has served on the Baldwin-Woodville School Board for a time.
“Because of the life I’ve lived, I understand how important education is,” Jones said. “And I have a pretty good history of hard work and concern for my community.”
That’s why she decided to run for the Assembly District 29 legislative seat held by John Murtha (R-Baldwin).
“It’s a big step, to run for election,” Jones admitted. “You kind of throw yourself under the bus when you run for public office. But I care very much about my community, and I had to be willing to put myself out there.”
Jones considered a run for the state Senate a couple years ago, but wanted to wait until her son was done with high school before beginning the hard work of a campaign.
“I’m a believer in doing the work, not just sitting back and complaining,” Jones said.
She said it’s important that she’s lived a varied life prior to her foray into politics. With her long list of experiences, Jones said she feels better prepared to be part of the public policy process.
“I understand what some people in our community are facing,” she said. “And when I see people in need, I feel I have to do something about it.”
As the final weeks of the 2010 campaign wind down, Jones said she feels good about her chances for election.
“I think the campaign has gone pretty good,” Jones said. “I’ve gotten a great response from people — very positive.”
The biggest challenge of the campaign has been gaining name recognition among voters in the district. Anytime a candidate runs against an incumbent, Jones noted, they are at a disadvantage for awhile.
“The incumbent has been in office and people know them,” she said. “But I think we’ve done a pretty good job of getting our message out.”
Jones said she’s enjoyed the chance to visit with voters, to understand the reasons why they hold certain opinions. She doesn’t care if someone thinks differently than her on issues, Jones said, but she tries to find common ground when talking with each person.
“That’s what public policy is all about,” she said. “We are so polarized right now with our party politics. Everybody’s concerns are valid, and I think it’s important to listen to them.”
As she knocks on doors and calls likely voters, Jones said she’s finding one issue is on everybody’s minds — jobs.
“That’s probably the biggest one,” she said. “A lot of people have been laid off, or they have a child who hasn’t been able to find a job after graduating from college.”
She added that medical care costs and affordable college options are other key issues people are concerned about.
If elected, Jones said she hopes to bring her research and leadership skills to Madison to find solutions for the state’s problems.
For more information, visit http://www.lizjonesforassembly.com/.