Navy Man & Entrepreneur Gets Fed Up: Now Congressional Candidate

April 23, 2012 | By Lauren Hart

In 1993, Dan Sebring bought an old auto service repair station and started to build a business.

Dan had worked as a lot of things: assembly line worker, janitor, turret lathe operator, school bus driver, gutter installer, truck driver, printer, painter, disc jockey, bartender, body guard, carpenter, and cabinet maker. Sebring Garage, LLC, his new company, was his way to "provide something better" for his community and, as Sebring's website puts it, "uphold the tradition of the neighborhood garage."

The company is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the state where Dan, and his parents before him, were born and raised.

Dan moved home to Wisconsin in 1992. He'd left in the
1980s -- the severe recession left him unemployed and
living out of his car -- to serve in the U.S. Navy, first at the Pentagon then at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

When Dan came back, he was ready to get involved in his state's politics. He found his opportunity when Milwaukee,
his city, proposed a handgun ban in 1994. Dan didn't sit back; he got involved.

That sparked a nearly 20-year journey of activism and campaigning.

Now Dan is the Second Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Milwaukee County’s Milwaukee – South Branch,
for which he heads the nomination committee. He's also a candidate for Congress, running for the third time against four-term incumbent Rep. Gwen Moore.

Dan first ran in 2008. Rep. Gwen Moore was unopposed heading into Election Day, so he staged a six-week write-in campaign to be her opponent. Though he didn't win, he netted nearly 500 votes and made his point -- and he wanted to do more in the next election. Shortly after Thanksgiving that year, Dan filed his declaration of intent to run for office.

Local activists recommended that Dan's campaign manager, Jessica Strautmann, attend Leadership Institute training. She took the Campaign Manager School and Political Voter Mail School in February 2009.

When Jessica came home to Milwaukee, Dan recalled, "she was so impressed that she basically demanded that I attend LI's Future Candidate School, which I did in August 2009."

Dan seemed glad he'd taken his campaign manager's advice.

"Leadership Institute training is an absolute must for anyone seeking public office," Dan said. "It is far and away the most comprehensive, indispensable crash course introduction to political activism for activists, candidates, and campaign staffers on the planet.  I recommend it highly to anyone considering running for public office and their staff."

Dan has since used his training in his 2010 and 2012 campaigns against Rep. Gwen Moore.

His grassroots campaign is focused on what Dan sees as the proper role for the U.S. representative from his district.

"It is the job of Members of the House of Representatives to take the ideas, opinions and concerns of the people they represent to Washington and say 'this is what the people want,'" Dan explained. "It is not to bring the policies of the government back to the people and tell them they need to 'get behind it.'"


Dan joins thousands of other Leadership Institute graduates working for the causes and candidates of their choice – including themselves! – in this election year.

Please welcome Dan as the Leadership Institute's graduate of the week!

In 2012, the Leadership Institute is offering its top-notch campaign training -- the Future Candidate School and the Campaign Management School -- in the first full week of every month. Learn more or register online right now.

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.