Little noted in all the media coverage is how she got her start in politics. She started at the local level:
Tammy Baldwin served four terms as a Dane County (WI) Supervisor (1986-1994), representing the downtown Madison area, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. In 1986, Tammy also served briefly on the Madison Common Council, filling an aldermanic vacancy. She served three terms as a WI State Representative for the 78th Assembly District (comprising central and south Madison) from January 1993 to January 1999.
That's right. She started in city and county government and advanced to the Legislature and then to Congress in a methodical progression to higher office.
Lessons for Tennessee: We seen the election of a lesbian judge in the Memphis area and a gay man to the Metro Council in Nashville, but we've never elected an out member of our community to a legislative body in a competitive race. Candidates continue to run in Nashville, getting closer all the time, but we need more members of our community to do what Congresswoman Baldwin did--start local.
We're behind the curve in Tennessee, but not hopelessly so. There's no time like the present if you're interested in starting. Tennessee boasts several campaign board members of the Victory Fund who would love to see more viable candidates from our community running for office. The key is to start early and get the help you need. I know that TEP PAC, our state political action committee, is also interested in helping good candidates throughout the state.
If you're thinking about running for office and want to talk, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's start the conversation and find Tennessee's Tammy Baldwin.