Michelle Litjens ran for Wisconsin State Assembly to change the direction of her government. She probably did not imagine she'd be at the center of a national media firestorm just months later, when a Democratic colleague told her she was "[expletive] dead" on the Assembly floor for voting for Governor Scott Walker's budget bill in March.
But Michelle ran for office in 2010 to promote her conservative principles: to limit government or, as she put it, to have government "start acting like adults instead of like spoiled children who run up their parent's credit cards."
Her political activism started at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where she joined the College Republicans, Oshkosh Students for Life, and the Oshkosh Student Association. But much of her early political experience took place outside the classroom, when she interned for the Leadership Institute and worked on campaigns.
Michelle's first Leadership Institute training was a Youth Leadership School, LI's "boot camp of politics," in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1992. After that, she took a Broadcast Journalism School in 1994, a Campaign Leadership School in 2000, and a Grassroots Activist School in Madison, Wisconsin in 2006.
In 2010, Michelle decided to run for the open Wisconsin State Assembly seat in her district. The incumbent assemblyman was not seeking reelection -- and neither were 22 other Wisconsin state legislators. To Michelle, that news indicated "we might really have a chance to change the direction of our state," as she explained. It was her first time running for office, but not her first foray into politics, after years spent as a local activist and campaign volunteer.
Michelle won the Republican primary election for Wisconsin's 56th district in September 2010 with 59.87% of the vote and won the November general election as well.
After her general election win, Michelle sent LI staff a copy of her campaign brochure and a handwritten note: "Another LI grad elected to office. I couldn't have done it without you."
Michelle now serves Wisconsin's 56th district in the State Assembly. She lives in Vinland, Wisconsin with her husband, their two children, and their Australian Sheppard.
She joins hundreds of LI graduates in receiving the congratulations and thanks of the Leadership Institute, LI supporters, and conservatives in Wisconsin and across the country for their successful 2010 campaigns and commitment to promoting conservative principles now that they are in office.