As a young woman, who aspires to change the world, I am so lucky to be surrounded by strong female role models like Wisconsin State Supreme Court Candidate Jill Karofsky who showed me just how successful, and strong women can be and what a powerful impact we can have. I feel as though it is my job, coming from a place of privilege where I get to be inspired by women that surround me everyday that I should make those same inspirations available to others who may not be exposed to the role models I am.
So, who is Jill Karofsky?
Jill Karofsky is a mother of two (is that not credential enough?). She is a runner - who is constantly training for a new challenge and has two Ironman Triathlons under her belt. She is a resilient fighter, who recently suffered a ruptured hamstring that had to be surgically reattached but who worked so hard and is now training for yet another 50 mile race. She is an experienced judge, elected by the people of Dane County. She was a prosecutor in the Dane County District Attorney's Office for 10 years who put away sexual assailants and worked to make our community a safer place. She is a victim advocate who capitalized on that title as head of the state's Office of Crime Victim Services where she spoke for those "don't always have a voice, or feel they don't". Judge Karofsky is a voice for the community and here is what she has to say:
When asked what sets her apart from other candidates, her answer was pretty simple. Karofsky has the experience that makes her a well rounded candidate. She talks about being on both sides of the bench, privy to both the perspective of the prosecutor and the judge. She understands both how the law can be used and how to walk that line fairly and come down on the side of justice. As a victim advocate, Karofsky emphasized the impact of laws on individuals and got to see first hand how the laws and decisions that were made in the courtroom actually affected the people they were about. Not only did she play a part in the making of these decisions, but she followed up and saw how they went into effect, and that inturn added to her plethora of expertise, that she will soon bring to the state bench.
So with that, let's just say I know who I'm voting for. More than that, I wanted to know what I was voting for. What does a vote for Karofsky mean? What does she hope to accomplish once in the court?
Karofsky's answer was multifaceted yet straightforward -- "a more unified court". Her campaign is also founded on the principle of getting politics out of the court and ending the current judicial polarization as a non-partisan candidate. She wants "clear decisions", that give the state the guidance it needs.
Something she said caught me off guard -- because it is so essential and relevant especially in today's day and age of police violence, profiling, and prejudice, and something that I had never considered; Karofsky's court will be one where "everyone believes when they bring their case to court that it will be fair and that the decisions aren't made ahead of time or politically motivated". For a country that prides itself on the "fairness" and "innocent until proven guilty" ideal that we lack so much of, Karofsky is the candidate to restore that.
The change I hope to see is clear, the path to get there, on the other hand, is less so. Being a college student, I am surrounded by young adults who refuse to vote because they believe that their single vote doesn't matter. When asked what she has to say to those people Karofsky articulated what I and many others have struggled to.
- Your vote matters, your voice matters.
- These races are extremely close. She then cited the previous election that was won by 6,000 votes. That is less than 1%!
- Not only does your voice matters, but "who your judge is matters".
A point I think is essential and often overlooked; especially since, from my understanding of it, your judge serves as your voice when it comes to laws, and policies that affect your everyday life.
If there's one thing I got out of this interview, and hope you take away from this article is that not only does Karofsky have what it takes to be the judge for us, but she is what it takes.
So how can you get involved?
Donate to the Karofsky campaign! But, if you're reading this, chances are more likely than not that, like me, you are a broke college student. That's ok too! You can still get involved with the campaign, volunteer, and of course VOTE (the primaries are in February!), encourage your friends to vote! You can check out the instagram @JillforJustice to stay up to date with the campaign!
Ok young people -- let's change this world!!
To Jill: Thank you for this interview + all that you do, and thank you in advance for all the great things you will do for Wisconsin in 2020. You rock! Girl power!