From being the second woman in the state of Colorado to be promoted to captain of the fire service, to becoming a first generation college graduate, Professor Tori Jennings continues to seek new adventures.
Jennings has been an anthropology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for seven years. She is now looking to apply her degree in a new way, by running for office.
Jennings is running for the position of District 1 alderperson.
While this position is not at a state or federal level, Jennings believes that local government holds its own unique importance. She is running because she believes local government is the best way to actually make change.
“I want to make a difference, and this is a way to do that. I can help craft policy in a way to make this a better community. I think I can do this because being a professor and teaching is also about making a difference in the community,” said Jennings.
Running for office, even locally, is not a decision to make on a whim. Jennings has been mulling over the idea for quite some time.
“I made the decision the night of the presidential election and I began working on my campaign flyer that night,” said Jennings. “I do believe local government is the place to make change in the world. It needs to start from the ground up.”
City activism is not at all new for Jennings. During her time in Stevens Point, she has coauthored the Transportation Alternatives Program for nearly half a million dollars, and is the chair of BPAC, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Though most politicians nowadays have a legal background, Jennings is bringing her Ph.D. in anthropology to the table.
“My anthropological background suites me really well for this. I talk with people, I listen to them,” said Jennings. “My training allows me to bring complex information together and I observe, that’s what anthropologists do.”
Often, people say you are not allowed to complain if you don’t vote. Even Barack Obama said in 2016, “Don’t boo, vote!”
Jennings wants to take that advice a step further, voting was not making enough difference in her eyes.
“One of the reasons I got interested in this whole political thing is when I was watching what was happening at the state level with Scott Walker over the last eight years. I saw everyone screaming about all the budget changes when he took office,” said Jennings. “But I thought ‘how many of us are retiring and getting into politics to change the system?’ I was becoming frustrated with talking about it but not actually being out there in the world changing things.”
Jennings will be on the ballot for anyone who votes within the first district on Apr. 4 along with the State Superintendent candidates. Go to myvote.wi.gov to find your voting registration status and polling location.
To learn more about Tori Jenning’s campaign visit her website at torijenningsalder.com