Kim Butler, a Balsam Lake mother, volunteer and Democratic Party leader, will run for Wisconsin State Assembly District 28 in November. Butler ran against the current representative, Gae Magnafici, in 2018.
“Gae hasn’t demonstrated the kind of leadership and accessibility to her constituents that we deserve from an Assembly representative,” Kim said. “Both parties need to work together, but Gae votes with Speaker Robin Vos 100% of the time. Solutions need to be tailored for our area, not for a political party. I will be a strong and independent voice, who likes to dig deep into policy and is open to input from all sides.”
Kim is an 14-year cancer survivor and became active in her community after neighbors supported her family and then-young children during her surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments.
"After my hair grew back, I wanted to give back to this area that provided meals and emotional support to my family and me,” Kim said.
Kim initially focused on her children’s activities, taking leadership roles in Girl Scouts, soccer and school groups and projects. In 2019, she was elected Chair of the 7th Congressional District Democratic Party. She serves on the board of the Polk County Association of Lakes and Rivers. Until recently, Kim served part time as an in-district representative for State Sen. Patty Schachtner.
Kim and her husband, David, moved to Balsam Lake in 2001 after the birth of their children. They will celebrate 22 years of marriage this year. David runs their small business in Milltown. Kim worked for almost two decades as an award-winning television and video producer for Twin Cities Public Television/PBS, The Discovery Channel, a national gardening club, and local television stations. Kim graduated with a BA in English from Grinnell College in Iowa.
"I am running to champion the issues I care deeply about: Public education, job growth, and affordable health care, which I think are being neglected in our District,” Kim said. “With the pandemic, unemployment is a serious issue in our counties. I think we can grow our economy and keep people healthy. In my volunteer work, I have seen too many parents who work full time, yet struggle to provide for their families. I have ideas on how to expand and train for high tech and “green” jobs and work with employers to get them the skilled workers they need, as well as support family farms and a new generation of farmers. We need family-sustaining jobs here in Western Wisconsin and creative ways to support our farmers and workers during this economic crisis."
As a cancer survivor, Kim has purchased private insurance, been in the WI High Risk Pool, and now buys insurance through the Affordable Care Act. She knows the importance of affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions and good preventive care.
“The pandemic has exposed the flaws in our health insurance system,” Kim said. “I support Badgercare for All and other ways that we can help make healthcare, mental health care, and addiction treatment available and affordable to everyone in Western Wisconsin. People shouldn’t need a spaghetti dinner fundraiser when they get a serious illness. Prescription drugs should not cost as much as a rent payment.”
Kim pledges to listen to and represent all 28th Assembly District residents, not just those who support or agree with her.
"When I call my representative with a concern, I want them and their staff to listen to me, not argue with me or dismiss me,” Kim said. “Many people in Western Wisconsin aren't being heard in Madison. I want to help change that. If elected, I pledge to hold multiple town halls and listening sessions each year, attend county meetings and respond to constituents who contact me."