Wisconsin needs a solid, new direction. We’ve become a low-road state with policies that favor well-connected interests over the environment, workers, and our communities. I’m running to replace that extreme and divisive agenda with high-road, progressive policies that can make Wisconsin a more vibrant and sustainable state again.

As an elected official, nonprofit leader and responsible owner of a small business, I bring a unique background and a track record for working effectively to get things done.

Despite state-imposed challenges to budgets and local decision-making, I made sure workers were compensated fairly as valued partners who find cost-effective ways of providing services. I’ll defend the UW System from further cuts in the same way, and will work to revitalize the Wisconsin Idea by providing a stronger funding commitment to higher education by the state.

As executive director for Wisconsin Environmental Initiative, I’ve worked more than 20 years to improve the environment, economy, and quality of Wisconsin through initiatives that promote responsible business practices, sound environmental policy, green building and water stewardship. We need to revitalize the Department of Natural Resources to protect our natural resources and ensure clean air and clean water for all.

I’ll also apply more than 30 years of management experience and work with diverse stakeholders to champion a broad Wisconsin-based plan that includes the innovative policies we need to be a leader in clean energy, climate action, sustainable communities, regional transit, affordable housing, food security, and entrepreneurship — a plan that attracts well-paying, accessible jobs and helps restore Wisconsin’s environmental heritage.

As co-owner of the Arbor House on Monroe Street for more than 24 years, I know firsthand what it takes to manage a budget, grow a business and make a payroll every week. We need an economy that works for everyone and provides a livable fair wage, family-friendly benefits, work-life balance, education and technical training to close the skills gap. Our goal should be to make the state a model for high-road practices and provide incentives to those that adopt them and enact legislation requiring them.

“We take care of our own”  — I’ll stand for equal pay for women and a woman’s right to choose and equal rights for all of our LGBT community members. We need to empower more entrepreneurship, particularly for women, immigrants, and people of color to help reduce social/economic disparities and provide well-paying, accessible jobs for low-income households. I’ll also stand against intolerance and hate and the rhetoric and policies that target immigrants, refugees and people of all faiths in our community.

I support our wonderful teachers and public schools and will be dedicated to the education, well-being and success of our children. We need more equitable school funding and common-sense reforms to end gun violence. Our seniors and citizens with disabilities deserve a decent and affordable quality of life. That includes affordable health care with a “public option” as well as prescription drug reform legislation that addresses skyrocketing costs and the devastating opioid epidemic.

“Fighting Bob La Follette” underscored the need for a vigorous and competitive primary so voters meet the candidates at the door and consider their track records before they have a direct say on who should represent them in the Legislature. I’ve personally knocked on thousands of doors throughout the 77th Assembly District. Voters want dedicated, experienced and effective leadership and a candidate who will listen and take a cooperative, practical and effective approach to transcend the extreme divisiveness and inaction of today’s state politics.

I would appreciate your support and thank you for your contributions to the success of our community. For more information, see www.imes4assembly.org

Johm Imes is executive director for Wisconsin Environmental Initiative and a Democratic candidate in Assembly District 77.

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