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New fields: Former farmer, prof claims she'd bring fresh governing approach

Saying she has the right mix of life experience and experience in state government, Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, has announced she'll run for governor in the anticipated recall election.

Vinehout, 53, whose district now encompasses most of Pierce County, has represented District 31 in the Wisconsin Senate since January 2007.

As part of her governor-race announcement strategy, she attended a meet-the-candidates event Sunday afternoon in River Falls.

During an interview Monday morning, Vinehout said she sees the world from a different perspective than most of her fellow politicians.

She earned a Ph.D. in health services research and directed the graduate and undergraduate programs in health administration at the University of Illinois for 10 years before turning to dairy farming for the next decade.

"Being at the teat level, you see the world differently. I think that perspective is missing in politics and is one voters hunger for," said Vinehout, referring to her experience as a farmer.

Her 10 years on her knees cleaning cows' udders balanced her life in academia, said Vinehout, who quotes a woman she met recently: "I can't think of any (politician) who is more like the rest of us."

Mixed with those experiences, Vinehout said, is her work in the Wisconsin Senate.

She said there is "a lot of depth" in her experience there.

For more, please read this week's print version of either the River Falls Journal or the Pierce County Herald.

Judy Wiff

Judy Wiff has been regional editor for RiverTown’s Wisconsin newspapers since 1996. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and sociology from UW-River Falls. She has worked as a reporter for several weekly newspapers in Wisconsin.