The New Year is upon us, and I find this to be a time for personal reflection and a look ahead at what I hope to accomplish in 2024 and beyond.
Following the publication of my first column by Wisconsin Right Now, I received a great deal of feedback, which I always welcome. There was one comment that gave me pause as I reflect on the past year and look ahead at 2024 being a columnist with Wisconsin Right Now.
“It appears to me that Mr. Strom (spelled wrong) may not be qualified to give opinion, political or otherwise… Can anyone tell me what his direct experiences are, what qualifies him, as self-appointed or ‘selected’, to opine…? Right person, right role isn’t just applicable to public servants…” – Former Gubernatorial Candidate – Timothy Ramthun.
Am I qualified to offer an opinion? Who should offer commentary on the state of politics nationally or at the state and local levels? What is the proper role of citizens in the political process?
I will offer a brief history of my interest in politics. I have always had an interest in politics going back to high school and becoming an avid talk radio listener to Steve Wexler on WISN even before Mark Belling and Rush Limbaugh. That interest grew as my family had an immigration issue that caused us to reach out to Congressman Mark Neumann. We quickly learned the good that can come of a dedicated Congressman, and I became involved in the campaign of his successor, a 28-year-old named Paul Ryan.
Fast forward some years to volunteer involvement in races for US Senate and Governor, Vice Chair of a County GOP party, more County GOP Executive Board roles, many RPW Conventions, and 1st District GOP Board member.
A very rewarding undertaking is the creation of Burlington Area Conservatives with a couple of like-minded friends back in 2020. Burlington saw its school board meeting being shut down by agitators from outside our community. We created Burlington Area Conservatives in response to take back our school board from liberal control that ushered in the chaos at the school board meeting.
Our first goal was to elect two conservatives to the BASD school board. With the help of community volunteers, outstanding candidates, and others – including Vicki McKenna – who headlined a meeting that raised funds for the candidates, our two conservative candidates won!
We have since added another conservative to the BASD school board and are making great strides in improving the school district. Burlington Area Conservatives has gone on to host many meetings for candidates from local to statewide races for the past three years.
So does all of the above “qualify” me to offer an opinion? I say NO, absolutely not! If you have an interest in policy that affects you and your family – YOU are qualified! More importantly, if you are interested in policy that affects you and your family – get involved!
Your local Republican County Party is a great place to start. Leadership at the county level is elected by county party members who in turn elect District and State leaders for the Republican Party of Wisconsin. Get involved with candidates’ campaigns who you believe would make great elected officials. Talk to your family and friends about issues and the effect those issues will have on their lives. And if you feel so moved … write a letter to the editor offering your opinion.
I do not take offense to Mr. Ramthun’s comments. Actually, I thank him as it has given me the occasion to reflect on what is needed in the political arena today. So much is at stake in 2024 and 2025. Obviously, the Presidency but also the US Senate and Congress as margins are so slim and taking back the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2025 from the uber-liberal activist majority.
We ALL have a role to play if we are to make America and Wisconsin red again. Simply complaining and attacking people on social media won’t win elections. We need to turn that interest into action! There isn’t some magic degree that qualifies us to be involved politically, but simply a desire for a better nation, a better state, and a better community.