I was born in 1985 in southeastern Wisconsin. After a childhood too quick to recall and too long to write about, it was time to decide what to do about becoming an adult. I was smart, but awkward, creative, but disorganized. I toured five Wisconsin campuses, and was accepted to Madison, Marquette, and La Crosse. Family finances ruled out Marquette and I did not care for the size of Madison or its campus. La Crosse blew me away with its University and with the city around it. I made friends quickly, joining the Residence Hall Association Council my freshman year. I stayed involved on campus, spreading celebratory hand slaps while coordinating National High Five Day events which some people might still remember. I also branched out into the community, volunteering with Human Powered Trails, an organization which still sees tons of my time each year. I studied computer science, then information systems, and interned at Trane for 3 years. Now I work for SAP, having insisted on staying in La Crosse after graduation. I spend my free time brewing beer, gardening, mountain biking, or doing trail work in Hixon.
I want to inspire people. I want to inspire them to create, or to contribute, or to participate. Inspiration produces different results in different people, but ultimately an inspired community is going to benefit itself. When people exhibit passion for their home, they are more invested in its success, and more willing to take an active role in the city. We're going to need creative and passionate people to reinvent our city, but La Crosse has the potential and the motivation. We need the spark of inspiration.
La Crosse is treading water when we should be swimming. We're committed to doing things the old way, because it's been keeping our heads above water. But we can't afford to continue to bifurcate neighborhoods to facilitate more cars, or spend precious revenue on bribing businesses to come to us. Investing in our communities is cheap and the return is excellent. La Crosse isn't just a place to live, it's a great place to live, and we should capitalize on that.
Viewing issues as problems instead of opportunities is hampering our creative solutions.
We can reduce drug use and drug-related crime by taking a people-focused approach, and treating addiction rather than punishing it.
We can't wait around for someone else to find the answers for us.
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