Butler running for state Assembly

Kim Butler, of Balsam Lake, is running for the 28th Assembly seat currently held by Adam Jarchow. The 28th District includes parts of Polk, Burnett and St. Croix counties. Butler is launching her campaign this Friday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m., at the Milltown Community Center in Milltown. State Sens. Janet Bewley and Patty Schachtner are scheduled to speak. - Photo submitted

Will face incumbent Adam Jarchow on November ballot

BALSAM LAKE – Kim Butler, a Balsam Lake mother, community volunteer and co-chair of the Polk County Democrats, is running for Wisconsin State Assembly District 28.

Butler is an 11-year cancer survivor who became active in her community after neighbors supported her family and then young children during her surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“After my hair grew back, I wanted to give back to this area that provided meals and emotional support to my family and me.” Butler’s children are now teenagers who attend St. Croix Falls High School, but at the time, they were in kindergarten and first grade at Unity School.

Butler initially focused on activities her children were involved with, starting as a cookie mom and troop leader, moving to treasurer and then service unity manager for the district’s Girl Scout program. She taught herself to coach soccer and went on to run the program as regional commissioner for the district for six years. Butler started as her lake’s loon ranger, reporting on loon migration and reproduction, and interfaced with the DNR and Loon Advocacy groups. She was later elected to the board of the Half Moon Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District, where she served as secretary and currently produces the district’s publications.

Butler was a member of a Unity parent advisory group, member of the Community Education Council for five years, and a classroom and committee volunteer who also volunteered at events and assisted teachers with special projects. Butler coached Destination ImagiNation teams at Unity and St. Croix Falls, and continues to assist at a parent-run college preparation day hosted twice a year at St. Croix Falls High School.

When Butler’s children started high school, she set her sights on political involvement. She joined the Polk County Democrats in early 2016 and went on to be elected a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia for Bernie Sanders. Butler returned to join the group’s steering committee and was elected co-chair in late 2016. She is currently serving her second term. Butler is also a member of Polk Burnett Indivisible, Our Wisconsin Revolution, Citizen’s Action of Western Wisconsin Organizing Co-op and The Upper St. Croix Valley League of Women Voters. She is active on the Democrats 7th Congressional District Executive Board.

Butler and her husband, David, moved from the Twin Cities to Balsam Lake in 2001 after the birth of their children. Butler worked for almost two decades as a television and video producer for Twin Cities Public Television/PBS, The Discovery Channel, a national gardening club and local television stations. Butler graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and is an active alumni volunteer for her alma mater.

Butler will be celebrating 20 years of marriage this year to her husband. They were married at the old Paradise restaurant on Balsam Lake and David’s family has been coming to Half Moon Lake since the 1930s. David runs their family business in Milltown.

“I am running to champion the issues I care deeply about, public education, job growth, and affordable health care, which I think are being neglected in our district. Unemployment remains high in our counties, and I think we can grow our economy without sacrificing the environment. In my volunteer work I have seen too many parents who work full time, yet struggle to provide for their families. I have ideas on how to expand and train for high-tech and green jobs, and work with employers to get them the skilled workers they need, as well as support family farms and a new generation of farmers moving into this area. We need family-sustaining jobs here in western Wisconsin.”

As a cancer survivor who has purchased private insurance, been in the Wisconsin High Risk Pool, and now buys insurance through the ACA, Butler knows the importance of affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions and good preventive care. “I support BadgerCare for all, and other ways that we can help make health care, mental health care and addiction treatment available and affordable to everyone in western Wisconsin. People shouldn’t need a spaghetti dinner fundraiser when they get a serious illness.”

Butler’s parents were both first-generation college students. “I know how education can move someone out of poverty in one generation. As a mom, I have seen how the cuts to Wisconsin schools have affected my kids and their teachers over the last six years. I am the daughter of a public schoolteacher, and I know how hard teachers work. I want to fully fund our public schools and support our dedicated teachers.”

Butler pledges to listen to and represent all of the constituents in the 28th Assembly District, not just those who support or agree with her. “When I call my representative with a concern, I want them, and their staff, to listen to, not argue with me. Many people in western Wisconsin aren’t being heard in Madison. I want to help change that.”