State Rep. Dana Wachs recently announced his run for governor in 2018 on a campaign promise to be “an advocate for regular folks.”
Michele Doolan, a hair salon owner and PTO president from Cross Plains, is actually running as one of those “regular folks.”
“It’s hard to relate to the people who are governing us, there's no connection there,” she said. “They’re not like us, how can they make these major decisions for our lives?”
Doolan appeared on the Sunday morning talk show “Capital City Sunday” to discuss her candidacy. She has joined a growing list of declared Democratic challengers for the 2018 election, including Wachs, Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik, and Bob Harlow, a newcomer to politics.
“You come here in a jean jacket today and I assume you want to relate to everyday people in Wisconsin, everything that I've seen from your campaign suggests that,” host Greg Neumann said.
Doolan agreed, saying that government “is supposed to be representational of the people.”
During the interview, she didn’t offer many specifics on policies and instead stressed her willingness to listen and ask experts.
When asked what she would like to see done differently at the state level, she said, “That’s a really broad picture, isn’t it? So I don’t have every answer for that ... I don’t know it all.”
“What do you do if you don’t know something? Well, you ask somebody, ask an expert,” she said.
Neumann pushed back a bit.
“When voters come to you … and ask you what your plans are for education of their children, I would imagine that they're going to want answers, right?” he said.
She then spoke about the importance of making sure funds for education are “distributed equally among all the individual communities.”
She seemed critical of school choice and vouchers, saying “it’s not just about bussing your kids from one place to another. It’s actually taking a building block from the current educational system and allocating those funds somewhere else.”
She said this was “basically destroying one thing in favor of something that’s not entirely thought out.”
Asked about the potential Foxconn deal, Doolan said she wants to make sure the company's “loyalty isn’t tentative,” citing Foxconn’s failed commitment in Pennsylvania several years ago.
She also talked about the need to stimulate business and help those “who have jobs, but they’re still struggling to get the basics.”
Because Doolan has never run for political office, Neumann asked why she was trying to run for governor.
“I’ve watched the Assembly, it’s that petty party bickering thing that seems to be going on right now that divides Wisconsin,” she said. “So I went for a position that is kind of between all that."
Neumann pointed out that many of her fellow challengers will likely have much more sophisticated fundraising campaigns, asking how she could compete with that. Her current fundraising goal is just $200,000. Her donation site shows that she has raised $150.
“Um,” she said, and laughed. “That's hard to say, I guess because I’m just different.”
She said what sets her apart is her motivation, which is simply caring for the people of Wisconsin. She noted that she’s using social media to get the word out for her campaign.
Doolan said her main goal was to get people interested in the election.
“People need to show up, they need to vote, they need to participate their democracy and not be afraid to do it,” she said.