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Forty-nine years ago, three men got into a spaceship and left Earth. For five days, they traversed the darkness of space and, with one small step, humans became the first Earthborn creature to walk on another world. As an astrophysicist who scans the skies for habitable planets and life, I see these men as my forebears. Their courage and the giant leap they made for humanity are riveting.

In 2018, our challenges are more complicated than a trip to the moon. Many people — citing environmental degradation, the loss of small farms, closing schools, crumbling roads, high prison populations, and extreme racial disparities — worry that Wisconsin is charting its way to a corporate-owned hell in a handbasket rather than “Forward.”

These problems are real. What’s keeping us above water right now is the fact that Wisconsin is home to the most generous, hardworking people in the nation — and when these people see a need in their community, they pool their resources and act on it. This desire to lift up everyone in the community overcomes political differences every single day.

The incredible power of human love in Wisconsin is the reason I am running for Wisconsin governor in 2018 — and it’s the reason I’m running as an Independent. I want to free us from a two-party system that wastes our human potential by driving us apart. When lifelong friendships are destroyed and family members can no longer be in the same room together because our leaders consistently choose battle over building the common ground — well, then it’s time for a change.

I don’t expect everyone to understand this. You may feel that you do not want to find the common ground. You may prefer battle to compromise and good faith. You might even believe I’m stealing votes that “belong” to the parties who have purchased this election with millions of dollars. But I believe regular people were meant to hold all public offices. I believe the problem is not the “other” people, it’s the terrible system we’ve tolerated for too long. I believe we were meant to live together or perish separately.

I also believe we can heal the rift in Wisconsin with one simple change: ranked-choice voting. In this system, voters rank the candidates. If your first choice doesn’t get a majority, your vote will still go to your second choice — without fear of “spoiling” the race. It is a voting system that makes peace, not war. It is a system that allows third-party candidates to be taken seriously and gives us all a real voice.

Whether you lean right, left or Independent, I will always work for you. As a hunter and paddler, I want to protect our waterways. I want strong schools and basic health care for all. But more than anything else, I want you to have a government that is responsive to your vote.

As Governor of the State of Wisconsin, my first Executive Order will be issued on Jan. 7, 2019, creating the Governor’s Commission on Election Procedures to draft an Elections Repair Bill implementing Ranked-Choice Voting and Automatic Voter Registration for all U.S. citizens living in Wisconsin. Within my first 100 days in office, I will call a Special Legislative Session to act upon the Elections Repair Bill and make these change reality.

I hope that one day, we will sail beyond the moon to the stars. But before that can happen, we must “launch out into the deep” and break free of a political system that is burying us in hatred and fear. I hope the people of Wisconsin will embrace a spirit of independence this year and cast their one precious vote with all their hearts — instead of their fears. Let’s show the world what it means to let Wisconsin shine.

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Antigo native Dr. Maggie Turnbull is the 2018 Independent candidate for governor in Wisconsin. Turnbull is a Madison-based astrophysicist working with the SETI Institute at the Carl Sagan Center where she plans NASA missions to explore the universe for habitable planets and life. She was given the UW Alumni Association’s Badger of the Year Award in 2018.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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