Great Trip North: Part V, Trempealeau County

It's the final day of our Great Trip North. I'm wiped out, my head is full, and I feel satisfied that we made the most of every day of our trip. We're on our way home after doing an interview about the amendment on Trempealeau County Community Television. Connie Scharlau arranged for and conducted the interview. She participates in a regular program on the channel and says lots of people around town mention that they see her on TV.

Connie is peaceful, unassuming, and soft spoken. She's also a powerhouse who gets the job done. She first got involved coordinating PFLAG in La Crosse after her niece came out. Then, after attending our speakers training in La Crosse last April, she introduced a resolution against the ban on civil unions and marriage at the meeting of the La Crosse Area Synod of the ELCA (Lutheran). No one was sure how the Synod would respond, but the resolution passed with very little dissent. Connie said at the time, "For me, it's a matter of justice and fairness. Wisconsin has been known as a progressive state, and we don't want to move backwards and take rights away from people. That's not what good people do, and we're good people in Wisconsin."

The cable access show was a completely new experience for me. We talked for about a half an hour about the amendment, especially about the need for people in the county to contact state Senator Ron Brown. Senator Brown, who has his own show on the cable access channel, voted for the amendment in 2004, but he is not one of its main cheerleaders. Our supporters have met with him a few times, and our volunteer phone canvassers have identified hundreds of voters in his district who oppose the amendment. We're hoping he will open his heart to the stories of people in his district who will be hurt by the amendment.

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