Op Ed

Godleweski Is Best Choice for State Treasurer

Candidate who helped save the office is best qualified to make it a check on the governor.

By - Aug 13th, 2018 10:42 am
Sarah Godlewski. Photo courtesy of the Progressive Media Project.

Sarah Godlewski. Photo courtesy of the Progressive Media Project.

Only a handful of months ago, few Wisconsinites had ever heard the name Sarah Godlewski. At least I hadn’t, nor had anyone around me. And then in February of 2018, this firecracker from Eau Claire had been invited to come speak to a progressive Millenial leadership training fellowship, New Leaders Council, about an insane bit of injustice that was about to happen right under our noses: Scott Walker was just going to slip a little amendment onto the April 3rd ballot that would eliminate the position of the Office of the Treasurer. This would render Wisconsin the only state in the country without the checks and balances of a fiscal watchdog in the state legislature. Murmurs of “How is that possible?” “Can he really do that?” “Why does no one know about this?” rang throughout the room, turning quickly into scoffs of disbelief as Sarah’s meticulously researched powerpoint went on..and on..and on about how much there was at stake to lose if this amendment went through. An amendment that hardly any Wisconsinites knew about, and one that would negatively affect all of us, regardless of party lines, for generations to come.

Years of Experience and Positive Impact

It was evident we had to do something, and we had to act fast. And yet, who was this person in front of us who seemed to be the only authority on the matter? She was not a politician, nor a lawyer, but a fierce and savvy investor, co-founder of MaSa Partners, a socially responsible investment firm that focuses on positive global impact. MaSa invests in early stage, socially responsible companies making technological advances in fields such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and preventative neo-natal care. Not only does Sarah have an entire career’s worth of experience in business and finance, but she has done so with an unwavering ethical bent and moral compass.

Saved the Office of the Treasurer from Elimination

Sarah Godlewski was continuing her work with MaSa when a friend sent her a nearly-missed article about Walker’s attempt to take our State Treasurer away. As she put it, “That would be like a company’s CEO firing the CFO and taking over those responsibilities. I would never advise a client to invest in a company like that, it’s reckless.” And so the Save Our Fiscal Watchdog Campaign (also referred to as the #VoteNO Campaign) was born, a grassroots, raggle-taggle effort led by volunteer drive and passion to ensure that Wisconsinites –the client– were not robbed of this government balance–therefore trapped in a bad investment. Sarah Godlewski was not obligated to run this campaign. She was certainly not paid to run this campaign. She ran the #VoteNO campaign with the sheer drive of knowledge that it had to be done; we could not lose this political power. And Wisconsinites agreed: we voted the amendment down, and opted to keep our Office of the Treasurer by nearly 62% of the vote. Wisconsinites didn’t yet use Sarah Godlewski as a household name, but they showed at the polls that they believed in the work she was doing.

Ability to connect across party lines

Working with Sarah on the #VoteNO campaign was a lesson in the way politics are supposed to work: informing voters about an issue that they care about, compelling them to vote based on their core beliefs, not the bullet points shoved at them by a political party. Republicans and Democrats have not had much to agree on in recent political history, yet Sarah saw the connection across party lines that the Office of the Treasurer represented and used those to truly connect to voters from all backgrounds. Public land access and checks and balances in government–no matter the party in power–were issues that Wisconsinites of all political parties cared about, and were able to unite over, thanks to the efforts of the Save Our Fiscal Watchdog Campaign.

A Voice of the People

Once the Office of the Treasurer had been saved, it was clear that Wisconsin needed an experienced leader in that position, spurring Sarah’s announcement to run for office. Early in her campaign, Sarah Godlewski made the announcement that she would not take corporate dollars to help fund her efforts. She would not be tied to the demands attached to the strings that come with corporate money. This campaign has to be won because Wisconsinites believe in her message, and trust that she will work for them. She represents a voice of the people, and she is willing to prove her loyalty by taking this risk.

Imminent Threat to the Walker Dictatorship

Several articles have referenced “Walkerbots” actively trying to take Sarah Godlewski down as competition, which is a good sign; they wouldn’t be working so hard if she wasn’t a threat. She represents change, the “Forward” motion that was once the motto of this beautifully progressive state. She represents the underdog, the overlooked, the marginalized, the unheard. That is a scary thing for a white male trying to maintain the status quo of behind-the-scenes fraud in favor of money over the people: A woman ready to not only save an office that operates as a fiscal watchdog, but to help restore it to its former glory of a true balance of power.

It’s Personal

As a woman new to the world of politics, witnessing other women enter the “boys’ club” gracefully, fiercely, and seemingly effortlessly is inspiring and empowering, and unfortunately still too uncommon. Sarah Godlewski represents the idea that “you have to see it to be it,” and shifts the common narrative that the space for politics is solely male. She lives the narrative that a woman can do the same work as a man (if not better). Just look at her necklace: a metal ring encasing seemingly shattered glass. I asked her at one point during our work on the #VoteNo Campaign what it meant. She held it up and smiled, “It represents breaking the glass ceiling.”

For more information on Sarah Godlewski’s campaign, visit www.sarahforwisconsin.com

Becca Segal, Kindergarten Teacher at Milwaukee French Immersion School

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us