(Editor’s note: As we move into election season we’re looking for office holders and candidates who have some affinity for biking. When we saw that Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) had integrated biking into his campaigning we were intrigued and so we asked him to write this short piece for our blog.)
It was a just over three years ago that I began my first campaign for elected office. I had little financial support and no party backing, but what I lacked, I tried to make up through creativity, a whole lot of sweat, dedicated volunteer support and the blessing of family backing.
In an effort to garner at least a little media attention, we began planning a bicycle tour of the entire 59th Assembly District. My reasoning? If Governor Thompson and Walker can tour the state on Harleys, then I can certainly handle one Assembly District on a bicycle. The goal? Raise funds for the campaign and a separate fund for the Fisher House project in Milwaukee; news media would pick it up, I would get some needed exercise and I could stop to visit with residents who may be weeding their flower beds or enjoying an afternoon game of bean bag toss.
What my family did not expect was a stunning election win and a bicycle ride that has turned into an annual event.
This June we rolled out the third annual two day, 75 mile “Ride the 59th”, a trek from New Holstein on the east side of Lake Winnebago to Hartford in the western portion of Washington County. Although it was once again a pair of sticky 90 degree days, it was a blessing to slow down life, make scheduled stops to meet with constituents, meander through the forests and farms, and enjoy conversations with those riding alongside me, especially my three daughters when they could handle it, ages 12, 10 and 6.
Sadly, many folks, including myself, do not take the time to slow down, enjoy our beautiful state, bond with our families - our most important resources, and get the exercise that our bodies truly do crave - stress relief, weight loss, and cardiac health.
If there is anything that I can do on this front, then I truly hope that this annual event becomes a mouthpiece promoting a healthy lifestyle, encouraging others to take walks, dust off the bicycle, get off the computers and phones, and ensure that they are strengthening and maintaining long-lasting meaningful relationships with family and friends.