Sunday, November 5, 2017, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. UTC 

Hosted at the Wisconsin State Capitol Building at 2 E. Main Street, Madison, WI

Join us for an action-oriented conversation focused on strategies for stepping up and owning your fair share of political power.

Local elected leaders and politically ambitious young women will share how to best position yourselves as public leaders. You will leave inspired, activated and ready to run!


Representative Joan Ballweg, Wisconsin 41st Assembly DistrictBallweg_Headshot.jpg

Joan Ballweg was born the oldest of four to a first generation American in West Allis, WI on March 16, 1952. After graduating from Nathan Hale High School in 1970, Joan received her Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from the University   of Wisconsin – Stevens  Point. Joan and husband Tom married in 1974 and settled   down in Markesan, WI after purchasing an agricultural and lawn equipment dealership.                                                                                                                      

While Joan and Tom together ran a successful business in Markesan, Joan began to demonstrate her leadership and commitment to the community. In 1984, she chaired the Markesan Revitalization Committee and in the fall of 1986 was elected as Alderperson to the Markesan City Council. Joan helped to found the Markesan PTA in 1987 to fight against all day kindergarten and served as its president in 1989. Joan served as alderperson to the Markesan City Council until being elected to serve as Mayor in the fall of 1990, a capacity in which she served until 1997.

Joan has exhibited leadership in education, business and health care. She participated as a spokesperson for the City of Markesan school referendum in 1998 and served as a member of the Waupun Memorial Hospital Board of Directors from 1999 to 2005, after serving as Chairperson of the board from 2002 to 2005 and on the management committee of Agnesian HealthCare Enterprises, LLC from 2003 to 2004.

After winning a nine way Republican primary in September 2004, Joan was elected in November 2004 to represent Wisconsin’s 41st district in the State Assembly. Now in her sixth term, Joan serves as Co-Chair of the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules,  Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Council, and as a member of the following committees: Colleges and Universities, Financial Institutions, Mental Health Reform, Rules, and Tourism. She has served on the following special committees: Symposia Series on Supporting Healthy Early Brain Development, 911 Communications, Emergency Management and Continuity of Government, Continuity of Legislative Operations, Review of Higher Education Financial Aid Programs, Differences in Laws Applicable to Cities and Villages, and Review of Emergency Detention and Admission of Minors Under Chapter 51.

Joan has authored legislation impacting agriculture, small businesses, health care, education, state preparedness and homeland security in the State of Wisconsin. She is fighting to expand the eligibility of financial aid to part time and non-traditional students; she has achieved the passage of Donate to Life Wisconsin license plates in an effort to raise awareness and funds for organ donation; has achieved the opportunity for residents and non-residents to purchase on-day fishing licenses and is working hard to modernize and provide greater access to the small claims courts process in Wisconsin.

Joan and husband Tom live in Markesan, WI. They have three adult children who reside outside the district, Jeffrey (Julie), Kristen (Mike) and Rebecca, and two grandchildren, Emmett and Madeline. Follow @RepBallweg on Twitter.

Senator LaTonya Johnson, Wisconsin 6th Senate Districtlatonyajohnson.png

LaTonya Johnson was born on June 22, 1972 in La Grange, Tennessee. She attended Tennessee State University, earning a B.S. in Criminal Justice.

For the last twenty eight years, she has lived, worked, and raised her family in Milwaukee. LaTonya owned and operated a licensed in-home childcare service. She served as President AFSCME Local 502, the union representing in-home childcare providers in Milwaukee. When Act 10 was passed in 2011, she saw her income collapse. Changes in the way the union was able to advocate for consistent wages for childcare providers were detrimental. “This is the not the Milwaukee I moved to,” she said in the wake of Act 10. When a seat opened up in the State Assembly in 2012, LaTonya decided to run for office to champion workers and working families in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. She went through Emerge Wisconsin, an intensive training program for progressive women who want to run for office and is a proud alum of the Class of 2012.

LaTonya won a four-way Democratic primary and the general election. She served in the State Assembly for four years, serving on the Consumer Protection, Children & Families, Criminal Justice, and Urban Education committees.

In 2016, LaTonya announced her run for the open 6th district State Senate seat. Once again, she won this election and was inaugurated in January 2017. Her first bill was to make juvenile correctional officers mandatory reporters, after the Lincoln Hills child abuse scandal revealed this oversight in our mandatory reporting laws. This bill faced little opposition in either house of the State Legislature. Follow @StateSenLaTonya on Twitter.

Representative Melissa Sargent, Wisconsin 48th Assembly DistrictSargent.jpg

Melissa Sargent was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin and is proud graduate of East High School and UW-Madison.  Melissa Sargent owns and manages OPA Color, LLC, a small business dedicated to high quality art reproduction utilizing Giclee printing. Melissa is a proud graduate of the Emerge-Wisconsin class of 2012.

In November 2012, Sargent was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly representing the 48th Assembly district by winning 83% of the vote. The 48th Assembly District is made up of the north and east sides of Madison and the Village of Maple Bluff.

Melissa was elected by the incoming Democratic freshman as co-chair of the Freshman Democratic Caucus. She has been appointed to serve on 6 legislative committees including: Energy and Utilities, Aging and Long Term Care, Mental Health Reform, Financial Institutions, Small Business Development, Joint Legislative Audit Committee. 

Melissa has served as PTO President of Gompers Elementary School. She has been a member of the Friends of Cherokee Marsh, Friends of Lake View Hill, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, Wisconsin Business Alliance, River Alliance, Wild Warner, and Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue. Melissa was also a founding member of MRFY, an advocacy group for homeless, unaccompanied youth.

Melissa was elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. In 2012 Sargent was appointed to be Chairwoman of the Dane County Health and Human Needs Committee. 

Married to Justin Sargent, the chief of staff for Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson, they live on Madison's Northside with their four sons, Devin (1998), Bailey (2000), Keanan (2005) and Trystan (2009). Their school aged sons attend the Madison Public Schools. Follow @RepSargent on Twitter.

Representative Chris Taylor, Wisconsin 76th Assembly Districttaylor.png

Elected to the State Assembly in August 2011 and quickly redistricted into a new district, I represent the 76th Assembly District.

I have successfully worked across the aisle to pass good public policy including a first-in-the-nation law requiring outside investigations of deaths involving law enforcement, an address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence, harassment and human trafficking, and The Children's Outdoor Heritage Act.

I graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and went on to attend the University of Wisconsin Law School, where I received my J.D. in 1995. As a college student, I volunteered for Planned Parenthood and worked at an advocacy organization for victims of domestic violence. During law school, I advocated for incarcerated women, studied international human rights law in The Netherlands and worked for a human rights organization in Northern Ireland. Prior to being elected to the Legislature, I practiced law at several private law firms before becoming the public policy director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI). At PPWI, I led efforts that resulted in more pro-active reproductive health laws being passed than at any other time in Wisconsin history, including comprehensive sex education. 

My husband, Jim Feldman, and I are longtime residents of Madison’s east side. Jim received his PhD from UW and is a professor in environmental studies at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. We have two sons, Sam and Ben, who attend Lowell Elementary School. Follow @ChrisTaylorWI on Twitter