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SARAH KEYESKI
14th SENATE
CANDIDATE

Mental Health Counselor, Concerned Parent of Six,
Farmer's Daughter & Community Organizer

MY STORY

Let me introduce myself... I'm a candidate for the 14th Senate District and I'd like to tell you how I got to this most unexpected place and, more importantly, why. If you'll read along, I'll tell you my story. I grew up on a dairy farm in Cashton, WI with my parents and four siblings. My dad managed our family farm while also working on the Burlington Northern Railroad (which was, importantly, a union job!). My mom worked part-time as a nurse and raised us kids. Life was pretty darn good (except for picking rocks out in the hot sun in open fields... but I digress! ;)​ Like many kids, I was eager to move away from "small town life" after graduation and I went off to study at Luther College in Iowa and then Northwestern University in Illinois for graduate school. I'd always had a desire to be of help to people and found my calling in counseling psychology, becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor and working as one for the past 24 years. ​Another role I have, and adore, is being a parent. I'm a mom to six kids; four boys and then, surprise!, identical twin girls. (Definitely harder than rock picking!) My husband and I were raising our kids in Sun Prairie, but in 2017 we decided to move to Lodi. It turns out, when I became a parent, I saw the deep value of "small town life" and ran back to it! I wanted to give our kids that same, solid foundation that I had growing up... a sense of safety and belonging in a close community and the sound ethics of hard work, resilience and respect for the land and one another. ​Unfortunately, a year later, my husband was diagnosed with throat cancer and we had to make some big life changes. As a result, I decided to open a private practice in my new town. It allowed me to work close to home, to improve mental health access in my rural community and to invest in developing its floundering downtown. ​Then Covid hit. Our town, like most, was deeply hurt, not just financially, but emotionally. Our residents became more anxious and increasingly divided over responses to the pandemic and the small town values of mutual respect and connection began to erode. As a mental health provider, I was in the "trenches" seeing, and feeling, the devastating impact this was having and I felt compelled to help. I became convinced that, to heal our division, we needed to all come together with a shared, positive purpose. So, I decided to form a non-profit entity that I named "Lift Lodi" and charged forward. The mission was to "bring Lodi together to revitalize what's around us and lift what's within us." For the past two years, I've worked with seven other devoted community members to coordinate community-wide days of service where over 220 people each year work together to pick weeds, paint fences, rake yards, clean up garbage, plant flowers, put up birdhouses, etc. to improve our shared surroundings. And finally (thanks for sticking with me!) this is where my story makes a big shift and leads me to write this message to you... ​In March, I was quite unexpectedly asked by community members to run for the 14th Senate seat. They said they had seen my love for the community and my devoted efforts to improve where we live and wanted me to be their representative in Madison. Since politics had never been an aspiration of mine, I had to think long and hard about it. At first, I wrestled with pure fear. Politics is an ugly business and honestly, I'm sensitive. I worried about me and my family, about people being mean and unfair or untruthful and of us getting hurt. But after sitting in that anxiety, I was slowly pulled by that same sensitive disposition toward the idea of serving. The request to run, and then having others enthusiastically support the idea, began to transform into an inner moral mandate to run, to fulfill a sense of civic obligation... to be of help where people are hurting and to serve where I'm needed. You see, I've always been guided by a strong inner compass with three prominent values; compassion, contribution and courage. It turns out, this was in full alignment, I just didn't know it until others showed me. I've now officially declared my candidacy to represent the people living in the 14th district and to be the outspoken voice for their pain, frustrations, hopes and needs. I'm doing it to protect our faltering democracy, to be a civic role model for my kids, to be of use for a cause bigger than myself and to help leave a better world for my children and theirs. ​Thanks for reading about what motivates me to be here. I hope, in time, I will earn your vote. Warmly, Sarah

(I'm the little blonde girl on the left.) 
The Keyeski family.

WHY I'M RUNNING

Why am I running? In my campaign kickoff speech I share how my commitment to three core values; compassion, contribution and moral courage compelled me to run for office. I am committed to work tirelessly for a better future for my kids, my rural community, and my state.

MY CAMPAIGN PRIORITIES

01.

Education:

I see our rural schools as the cornerstone of our communities and a strong educational system as a critical part of investing in the future of District 14. I support increasing state funding to strengthen our public schools and lifting revenue limits. I also oppose using public funds to subsidize private school voucher programs in our state.

02.

Reproductive freedom:

I believe that women should have the right to make decisions, without governmental interference, over their bodies and about their reproductive options; including having access to abortion care, IVF (in vitro fertilization) and birth control. I also believe that we need to codify Roe into law so that women's liberties are restored for our daughters.

03.

Rural Communities:

As a girl who grew up on a farm, I believe that rural communities are the backbone of our state! I will work diligently to protect our farms and agricultural businesses, invest in critical infrastructure like broadband and roads, support small businesses, and enhance economic vibrancy in our rural communities. I want young people to be able stay in their communities with the option of earning a good living.   

04.

Mental Health:

As a mental health counselor, I am acutely aware of the mental health crisis our country is facing. I know that mental illness does not discriminate and is affecting people all across District 14. I will fight to pass legislation that strengthens our mental health care services and improves the social circumstances impacting mental health (reducing poverty, promoting social inclusion and improving housing).  

05.

Childcare:

I recognize that there are significant 'deserts' in District 14 where childcare options are either not available or limited which significantly impacts the choices families have for their future. I am committed to ensure that working families in District 14 have access to high-quality, affordable child care resources. Ensuring a healthy start for our children is a top priority for me!

OUR
CAMPAIGN
VISION

"Action is the antidote to despair." -Joan Baez

Are you tired of the politics of endless rage, toxic division, and demeaning personal attacks that don't do a thing to help YOU live better? Not. One. Single. Thing. ​Well, I am too!! ​Instead, I'm leading a campaign that represents a deeply-held belief in our capacity as a society to be better and do better toward one another. My promise is that this campaign will be positive, future-focused, hard working, values-driven and uplifting. It will embody what I stand for and model the representation I will strive, every day, to offer if elected. In addition, this campaign will be driven by a faith in the power of "us." The mission is to create a movement OF and FOR regular people... that's you and me, not the political elite, not big money donors, and not the bullies with the loudest megaphones! In this campaign, we'll connect through our shared values of justice, inclusion, respect and empathy. And we'll create a movement that taps into each person's responsibility to work to make our society what we want it to be. Being an active participant in our democracy is imperative, especially right now, and this campaign seeks to be a lived expression of the power of leading with positive intent and will act as a rebellion against hopelessness and complacency.

A few photos from...
SARAH's LOCAL ACTIVISM & SERVICE

JOIN OUR

MOVEMENT

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Our volunteers are a dynamic group, so they were given a name. They're called the "DREAM Team for 14!"

The "DREAM Team for 14!" is a group of caring, devoted citizens fighting for fresh representation in the Capitol. Representation that respects the lived experiences of Senate District 14's residents and responds to life's new challenges while also protecting the small town traditions we cherish.  

If you also care about our democracy, rural Wisconsin, mental health, reproductive choice and our public schools... we would love for you to join our movement!

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