Middleton-Cross Plains School Board President Ellen Lindgren plans to run for the Assembly, making her the first candidate to enter the race for the redrawn 79th District.
Lindgren, who announced her candidacy earlier this week after filing in November, has served for 17 years on the Middleton-Cross Plains Area Board of Education, the last six as its president.
She says if elected she would continue to serve as president of the School Board.
Lindgren, 62, frequented the Capitol during the height of the protests. She says she went to protest Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s $1.6 billion cut in state aid to education to “show solidarity with teachers” and to oppose what she described as a time when “our democracy was being shredded” by politicians.
In an interview with the Cap Times in November, she referred to Walker’s cut to education as “a huge mistake.”
“It was a one-sided decision with no input from educators, administrators, school boards,” she said in the interview. “The changes are punishing to our students, and it comes at a time when we most need to be investing in improving public education for the future.”
The mother of three children, all of whom attended Middleton public schools, Lindgren is a registered nurse who is mostly retired. Her professional endeavors gave her experience on both sides of the bargaining table.
She says if elected to office she would advocate for adequate funds for public schools – she has been a vocal critic of the state-imposed revenue caps for nearly two decades – and would work for universal health care coverage.
“My nursing background and my commitment to provide health care to all across our state will serve our communities well,” she says. “In the long run, this will support and stimulate businesses and provide savings.”
She says an infusion of new people like herself is needed at the Capitol to move the state forward.
“Some people say I’m foolish … that leaders (from the other party) will never sit down and talk to me,” Lindgren says. “But I’m going to try.”
Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts currently represents the 79th Assembly District. Under the new districts maps, Pope-Roberts will live in the 80th Assembly District, with the lines for the new 79th including a majority of what is now the 81st District and represented by Democrat Kelda Helen Roys, who is running for Congress.
Areas in the new 79th District include Cross Plains, Middleton, roughly half of Verona, Springfield, Waunakee, Westport, Vienna, Burke and Berry.