I had the opportunity and privilege of speaking with Geenen about her campaign and her race yesterday.
Geenen was the first to announce her candidacy at the beginning of November. I asked her why she decided to enter this race. Geenen readily replied, "I've got kids. I want them and all kids to have the same opportunities for a good education and for good jobs." Geenen also pointed that as a lawyer, it is her job to advocate. She said that she has skill to allow her to do a good job. She said that she knows the law and can look at the big picture.
I pointed out that the voters of AD 19 are very fortunate in that they have a wonderful slate of good and solidly progressive candidates. I asked her what made her stand out and why the voters should choose her over the others.
She replied that she is the candidate with real world, practical experience. She understands the real impact of the laws and policies being passed in Madison today. She discussed how she has seen people who have worked their entire lives based on promises that are no longer being kept and how this is taking away the security and livelihood that people need.
She also pointed out that she grew up in a progressive family and she learned how important it is to help the community. She also said that she would advocate for Milwaukee, not just in Madison, but across the state.
I then asked Geenen what issues she felt were the most important. She answered: "I think that it is important that our legislature focus policies and laws that strengthen Milwaukee and Wisconsin, which means that we must decide what kind of future we want for our neighborhoods, city and state, and must stand up for that future. A first priority is maintaining and creating family supporting jobs, which also includes ensuring access to job training programs, addressing related transportation issues and recognizing the importance of meaningful collective bargaining rights. It is also critical that we strive for the best public education we can provide at all levels and that we address the disparities in our public education system."
Geenen's strong support of labor issues has already gained her the support of the Steelworkers Union.
I pointed out that she doesn't have the name recognition or political connections that some of her opponents enjoy. I asked her if how she would deal with this disadvantage. She said that just meant that she would have to work harder, keep doing doors and going to events. She feels that her strength is that her campaign is a true grassroots movement.
Geenen has been an attorney at the Previant Law Firm for the past seven years, specializing in labor laws and representing unions, retirees and individuals. Besides her work for Previant, Geenen volunteers at MPS.
She has been married for almost six years and has two boys, ages three and one.
For more information about Geenen, you may visit her website and her Facebook page.
I have not decided who I will endorse - or if I will even endorse anyone - in this race. That said, I feel that Geenen would be a good representative and a formidable force in Madison who could make a real impact.