Once in recent history, the state of Wisconsin was a grim place to live and raise a family. Although a lovely place to explore and play in all four seasons, financial sustainability for families seemed virtually impossible. Unemployment was over 9 percent. Jobs were hard to find. We were seeing double-digit tax increases. Our governor was robbing the state Transportation Fund in order to plug the enormous deficits in his budget. The future looked bleak for our children as even the most affordable option for college, our University of Wisconsin System, was raising tuition at a furious pace.

In 2010, the citizens of Wisconsin elected Scott Walker to be governor. He promised to make some common-sense reforms to help the taxpayers of this state enjoy an improved, more hopeful life. As he and the Legislature moved forward with enacting those reforms, we saw the chaos and pandemonium of public educators walking off the job, lawmakers’ lives threatened, and protesters’ occupation of our state Capitol building. Every effort was made to overturn the will of the voters with a recall of our governor and others in public service. Despite the chaos, Gov. Walker won the recall election by an even greater margin. His laws were upheld in court. Wisconsin moved forward in strength.

Now our amazing state enjoys brighter days. Unemployment is at an all-time record low. We have our choice of good, family-sustaining jobs available. The taxpayer burden has been lifted with billions in relief. College tuition in our UW System has been frozen for six straight years. Our major highways are finally repaired or are soon-to-be repaired. Public education is also receiving more funding than ever before. At the same time, parents are given the opportunity choose different educational options through our expanded school choice program. Patients are allowed a “right-to-try” with experimental treatments in life-threatening situations. And law-abiding citizens are finally allowed the ability to protect themselves with Wisconsin’s concealed carry law.

These past years I have been grateful that Rep. Joel Kleefisch served our 38th Assembly District, fighting for these common-sense reforms along with other legislation. Rep. Kleefisch has been a warrior for protecting children. He has also been one of our state’s greatest friends to hunters and fishermen.

It would be my great privilege to follow in the footsteps of Rep. Kleefisch by serving our district. My diverse experience of 13 years in the investment industry followed by 16 years in the special needs, nonprofit world will serve the constituents well. People are concerned about mental health, opioid abuse, and physical health care. This is an area that I know well. I have served for well over a decade as an advocate both statewide and nationally for those with chronic illnesses and disabilities. This includes families with adopted children and those with substance abuse problems.

People are concerned about keeping their taxes low and preserving their constitutional rights. My expertise with fiscal management and personal defense of our freedoms will assure that taxpayers have someone fighting for them in Madison. Citizens will further find my experience as a past Chamber of Commerce member and ambassador, church treasurer, board of directors member, and active volunteer to their great benefit.

We need to keep moving forward with sound leadership in this great and beautiful state. I am the candidate to provide those qualities. I ask for the citizens of the 38th Assembly District to grant me your vote on Nov. 6.

Barbara Dittrich is the Republican candidate in Assembly District 38.

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