AP NEWS

Sauk County party chairwoman running for Democratic Party of Wisconsin Vice Chair

March 28, 2019

A Democratic Party official familiar in Juneau and Sauk Counties may soon be moving to a statewide position.

Sauk County Democrats Chairwoman Tammy Wood is running for Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

The election will be held the weekend of June 1.

Wood is running alongside Assembly Representative David Bowen of Milwaukee. She agreed to be Bowen’s running mate after delivering a speech to the Progressive Caucus, of which she is currently vice chair.

“I definitely endorse her,” said Juneau County Board Member Chris Zindorf.

Juneau County Democrats Chair Stephen Weiser said he plans to vote for Wood and Bowen.

Wood’s time as a cannabis activist pushed her into the world of politics in 2016, when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders made cannabis a key part of his platform in the Democratic Presidential Primary.

“I volunteered with Sen. Sanders’ campaign and after that was over I connected with the Juneau County Democrats and have been a member with them ever since,” Wood said.

Wood went on to serve as the Sauk County Coordinator for Democratic Candidate Art Shrader’s 2018 Assembly campaign.

“Art was a great candidate, and we really felt like he should have had that seat,” Wood said.

Her recent points of emphasis for the county level Democratic Parties has been establishing a permanent office. Juneau County Democrats moved in to a State St. office in Mauston in 2018, while the Sauk County Democrats will move in to a new office in Reedsburg in April.

Having a physical presence in the community is a benefit to local Parties, Wood said.

“We’re part of our communities, we’re not abandoning them after the election,” Wood said. “When LaValle flooded, the Democrats got together and we were sandbagging.”

Wood plans to take her community oriented approach statewide.

“Having a permanent office space is one of my goals 72 counties wide,” Wood said. “If we don’t have a Democratic presence in every corner of the state, we’re not giving our voters and our base what they need.”

No elected office is small enough to ignore, Wood said.

“We are making sure we have a strong bench of candidates,” Wood said. “Not just for the Senate and Assembly, but also for the municipalities and the villages and the county boards.”

If elected, Wood will continue to serve as Chair of the Sauk County Democrats. She plans to step down as vice chair of the Progressive Caucus.

One of Wood’s major goals as vice chair would be “bringing the resources of the DPW to our rural areas that have been not as focused on in the past.”

With the 2020 Democratic National Convention being hosted in Milwaukee, Wood said national attention will be on Wisconsin Democrats.

“This is our chance to really not only be an example to the rest of the nation, but to lead the nation,” Wood said. “All eyes are going to be on us.”

Wood and Bowen are joined on the ticket by University of Wisconsin-Madison student Alicia Lorta. Together, the three make the most diverse DPW ticket in history, with Bowen who is Black and Lorta who is Latina.

Wood described Lorta as “an engaged community activist.”

The group also boasts generational diversity, with Wood, Bowen and Lorta representing Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z, respectively.

“We bring out the best in each other,” Wood said. “I’m excited to work with these people.”

Wood said she is encouraged by Governor Tony Evers support to move Wisconsin towards marijuana legalization.

“He really is listening to Wisconsinites,” Wood said.

Going forward, Wood plans to make rural areas a key part of the Wisconsin Democratic electoral strategy.

“We’re in the rural areas for the long haul, and that’s what I’m bringing to the ticket,” Wood said. “Even as gerrymandered as our state is… we still have Democrats (in these districts).”

For anyone looking to get involved, Wood recommends visiting wisdems.org to find their county Democratic Party.