Kriss Marion

Kriss Marion, Democratic candidate for the 17th state Senate District, talks about issues during an Oct. 26 interview with the Reedsburg Times-Press at the Sauk County Democratic headquarters in Reedsburg.

Kriss Marion’s passion for finding ways to create more economic development and her love for the 17th District is what motivated her to run for the state senate.

The Democratic candidate is looking to unseat incumbent Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, who is seeking a second term to the state senate in the Nov. 6 fall election. The 17th District covers the southwest corner of the state, including all of Juneau County and the village of Kendall and towns of Clifton and Glendale in Monroe County.

Marion serves on the Lafayette County Board as a District 8 supervisor, where she is as a committee member on the Economic Development Corporation.

Some of her proudest achievements on the county board include the approval of funding a new website to help provide information to tourists, developers and residents and the hiring of a full-time economic development director.

The Blanchardville resident is also the owner of an award-winning bed and breakfast and organic farm, which she said brings numerous people to the village of 825.

Through those experiences, she said she has learned it takes other investments to achieve economic development and addressing a workforce shortage, especially investing funds in infrastructure and roads, broadband and school funding. If elected, she said she would invest in rural Wisconsin and advocate not only for the 17th District, but also “stand up for all the rural places of Wisconsin.”

“I believe in the future of this region, but we are going to need to get investment here in specific things,” Marion said in an Oct. 26 interview with the Reedsburg Times-Press. “I’m also frankly insulted we’ve been left behind. I’m personally offended that so little attention has been given to Southwest Wisconsin. I think we offer something here in rural Wisconsin that you can’t get in so few places in the world.”

If elected, she said she would begin the conversation at the state level to invest and limit tax credits for small, rural businesses and area developments instead of “chasing smokestacks” and major companies, like FoxConn.

She would also like to tackle the issue of gerrymandering to create a more “cleaner government and a government that functions better” at a bipartisan level. This task, she said would be her first priority if elected.

“I think one of the reasons we see the (political) parties so divided at the state level and not working together is because of the gerrymandered maps,” she said.

Another passion for Marion is natural resources. Marion, who serves on the land and water conservation committee on the county board, said some of her proudest achievements is initiating a program to encourage people to test their wells for harmful chemicals.

While it is Marion’s first time running for state senate, she is no stranger with fighting to push change and legislation. An example she gave was when she helped initiate “The Cookie Bill,” which allows bakers to make goods at home without the use of a commercial kitchen and sell them face-to-face at places like farmers markets. She said another issue in the 17th District is the loss of family farms and addiction, especially opioids and alcoholism.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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