Victoria Vollrath, President, Sheboygan
Victoria was born in Sheboygan, but grew up spending summers at Elkhart Lake and going on family fishing trips to Vilas County. Victoria graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in History and later received an MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin. Victoria was an Assistant Clinical Professor for the Department of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Wisconsin. She has practiced family medicine in Waukesha and Madison. Victoria loves being outdoors – running, sailing, fishing, gardening, and camping.
I’m a conservation voter because it is my belief that conservation of the Earth and its precious resources is the overriding issue facing the world. All the other things we face — the economy, education, social justice, affordable health care, peace — won’t mean anything if we don’t have a place to live.
Roberta received her MS in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee and her primary interest is how human behavior has shaped the environment, changed animal habitat, and impacted biodiversity over time. Originally from the southwest, she attributes growing up in New Mexico and witnessing disputes over water as the primary factor for her keen interest in water conservation and water quality.
Roberta and her husband, Bruce, reside in Milwaukee. They are avid hikers and backpackers and are active supporters of Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail. They also enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and fishing at their cabin in the Nicolet National Forest. They have four children and one grandchild.
I’m a conservation voter because for me there is no feeling comparable to the peace and joy that I experience when I am hiking or kayaking. Sometimes our legislators and business leaders need to be reminded that our most important resources are finite. We are at the point where good economic strategy must coincide with good environmental policy, because we will have no economy if we forfeit our environment.
Christi Clancy, Madison
Christi Clancy teaches English at Beloit College. Her essays and fiction have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Magazine, Glimmer Train Stories, and Hobart. She’s a contributor to WUWM’s Lake Effect and WPR’s Wisconsin Life programs. She’s an active supporter of the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee.
I am a conservation voter because it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone who says they love Wisconsin would ever compromise the quality of our air, water, and soil. Sadly, non-renewable resources in our state are frequently under attack, so my conservation vote matters more now than ever. Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters provides me with an opportunity to empower voters with information and show politicians that their conservation votes matter, too.
Chris Ford, West Bend
Chris Ford is a retired attorney living near Riveredge on 20 acres of rolling wooded and prairie property. His legal career included private practice and 15 years as a prosecutor in Milwaukee County. After his first retirement in 2002, his continuing interest in public and nonprofit administration, as well as service on nonprofit boards, led to a certificate in nonprofit administration at The Bader Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2005. Thereafter, he served as President of the Board and Interim Executive Director for three years at Centro Legal, a nonprofit legal service provider on Milwaukee’s near south side. Upon re-retirement a few years ago, he moved to north Ozaukee County and currently serves on the Ozaukee County Land Preservation Board, the Board of the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog, and the steering committee of the Ozaukee Treasurers Network. Chris and his wife, Jude, a retired psychotherapist and writer, enjoy their family, their land, and their two dogs.
I’m a conservation voter because as a grandfather I share the most basic concern of all parents and grandparents: our children’s futures. There’s little enough we can do to really help those who follow us. Choosing a future world that helps our progeny, not hurts them, seems the best way to put what small influence I have to its best purpose.
Bill Lynch, Milwaukee
Bill Lynch is a retired attorney from Milwaukee, where he specialized in civil rights and discrimination cases. Bill serves on the Board of Midwest Environmental Advocates and the Board of Preserve Our Parks, a Milwaukee area parks and green space watchdog and advocacy group, and chairs the Lakefront Development Advisory Commission (LDAC), a Milwaukee city, county, and state commission that reviews all proposals for new development on public land along Milwaukee County’s Lake Michigan shoreline. Bill also chairs the Public Parks Alliance in Milwaukee.
I’m a conservation voter because protection, preservation, and enhancement of our environment does not just happen. It takes the efforts of citizen advocates and voters. Working together to influence public conservation policy and practice is essential for securing clean and healthy air, water, and land. Only if we also work to assure clean government will conservation succeed.
Jeff Rusinow, Grafton
Jeff Rusinow has been an active member of the early-stage venture capital community in the Midwest since 2000, when he left as Executive Vice President of Kohl’s Department Stores and founded Milwaukee’s first angel network, Silicon Pastures. He has been on the board of several privately held companies and non-profits. He formerly was on the board of The American Bird Conservancy and the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, and played an active role in launching Wisconsin’s only nature preschool. Jeff has both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia.
I’m a conservation voter because I embrace Aldo Leopold’s writings in A Sand County Almanac, where he advocated so eloquently for the need of a ‘land ethic’ in shaping our role as critical stewards of our natural surroundings. It’s very easy these days to determine whether or not a politician is a friend or foe of Wisconsin’s environment. I vote for people who cherish our natural resources.
Leonard Sobczak, Milwaukee
Leonard Sobczak is President-Principal of Eastmore Real Estate Management, a commercial real estate firm specializing in multifamily real estate management and commercial-investment brokerage. He has long been and active voice for conservation and a member of many state and local conservation organizations. Leonard has put his passion for the environment to work restoring and enjoying 70 acres of prairie in the upper Kettle Moraine. Leonard has also been a leading voice for many other issues and served an appointment on the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission from 2000 to 2009, including three years where he served as Chair of the Commission. Leonard is a Milwaukee native, and a graduate of UW-Madison.
I’m a conservation voter because nature has always been an inspiration and spiritual refuge to me. I believe that the natural environment should take a greater role in all of our lives. Government can have the most important impact on protecting the natural environment. Electing those who strongly support this goal is one of those most important things I can do.
Don and Mary Stirling, Gays Mills
Don and Mary met in Denver, where they shared a love of gardening, hiking, camping, and cross-country skiing, as well as a great concern for social justice. Colorado brought home to them the crucial role that government plays in the distribution, quality, and conservation of water. It was water that brought them to greener (and whiter) southwestern Wisconsin to homestead and raise their family. Don worked as a carpenter while Mary taught adults basic skills. Both are active in a restorative justice program they helped to start, and which Mary directed for its first 10 years.
They are blessed to be part of an active community in Crawford County where they have participated in a number of efforts to protect the environment and people of the Driftless Region, including the initial organizing meetings of Organic Valley, stopping low level military jet flights over the area, recovering and rebuilding after the floods of 2007 and 2008, halting plans for a high capacity well, and opposing CAFOs and frac sand mining.
We are conservation voters because while we’ve always tried to express our environmental ethic in our personal life style, we finally realized that we cannot individually stop global warming. However, we have learned how much a committed community can accomplish together. The earth is at risk, and efforts to save it for future generations require public input. Conservation needs to be front and center in public dialogue and policy. Together, our votes can make that happen.
John Stollenwerk, Mequon
Following his graduation from Marquette University, John Stollenwerk worked for ten years with government and Catholic international development agencies in Costa Rica, Brazil, Honduras, Paraguay and Angola. Upon his return to the United States, he established an import/export business and in 1980 purchased the storied, Wisconsin-headquartered Allen-Edmonds Shoe Corporation.
Throughout his career and since retiring as CEO and President of Allen-Edmonds, John has enjoyed leadership roles as a board member of several business and nonprofit boards of directors, including Badger Meter, Inc., Northwestern Mutual, Koss Corporation, Marquette University, Greater Milwaukee Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, PAVE, Skylight Opera Theatre, and many more community organizations.
John resides in Mequon with his wife, JoEllen, and enjoys spending time with his family in Door County and spending time outdoors skiing and sailing. The couple has five children and 11 grandchildren.
I’m a conservation voter because I have spent most of my life living near Lake Michigan and enjoying time with my family sailing the Great Lakes, so the issue of protecting the Great Lakes is a personal one for me.
Tom Thoresen, Fitchburg
Tom Thoresen is retired from 30 years of state service. He spent 26 of those years at the Department of Natural Resources where he retired as the Deputy Chief Conservation Warden. Tom spent 16 years as a DNR Senior Manager and also served as a Field Conservation Warden, Recreational Safety Warden, Environmental Warden and Conservation Warden Supervisor. He is active on a number of issues to help restore Wisconsin’s reputation for clean government. Tom serves on the Dane County Parks Commission and teaches Hunter Education. Tom holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and lives in Fitchburg with his wife Kim and sons Daniel and Douglas.
I’m a conservation voter because my working career was dedicated to protecting and enhancing our natural resources so the public could have a healthy environment we could safely use and enjoy. It is important to pass these resources on to future generations in better condition than we found them. In today’s political world of power politics and special interests, it is critical to have a voice that educates voters for informed natural resource decision making.
Dan Collins, Mequon, PAC President
Dan Collins is a licensed Professional Engineer and technology business owner. After twenty-five years in communications technology he recently joined his wife’s company, Landscapes of Place, as Program Manager, performing environmental restoration services for public and private clients. Their work uses techniques of participatory land restoration aimed at enriching both the place and the people. Merging his economic and environmental concerns, Dan strives to expand the base of ecologically minded voters to include owners and workers in the business community. Dan believes that environmental literacy must be inculcated in and among the community to enrich the lives and livelihood of our state.
I’m a conservation voter because it is one way I can communicate to future generations my hopes and dreams and love for them. We can’t easily speak to the future, except in what we leave behind for them. In Wisconsin, we were gifted a landscape full of possibilities. I’d like to make sure that we too, offer future generations a chance to discover a magical outdoor place.