If Wisconsinites are wondering how different an administration under Governor-elect Tony Evers will be, one of his first transition team appointments may provide a clue. On Tuesday, Evers announced Dane County Supervisor Jamie Kuhn will be one of his policy advisors.
Kuhn is in her second stint as a county supervisor, after she caused a stir her first time as an office holder when she refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at county board meetings. Kuhn and another supervisor, Echnaton Vedder, were heavily criticized at the time for their decision to not to recite the pledge, causing Kuhn to write an op-ed in 1999 defending her decision.
“In a country that must deal with homelessness, violence, HIV, children shooting children, it seems to me ‘patriotism’ should be defined by what one does to help our country eliminate these ills rather than worrying about whether or not someone, who is standing respectfully before the flag, does not mouth the words of the Pledge of Allegiance,” Kuhn wrote in the Wisconsin State Journal.
Shortly after the controversy erupted, Kuhn left her position with the office of former state Rep. Sarah Waukau (D-Antigo). She would later join the staff of state Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona) before leaving to become a lobbyist in 2012. She did not run for re-election in 2000.
As recently as 2017, Kuhn defended her behavior by telling the Capital Times that she was trying to challenge the traditional ways the county board operated.
“When I joined the board not only as a younger member but also who at the time was interested in lifting up other voices, I think there was some butting of heads and some challenges with that for certain,” Kuhn said.
In addition to being a county supervisor, Kuhn also works for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin “as a leader on PPWI’s Public Affairs team,” according to her county board bio, and is a former lobbyist for Milwaukee County during the 2013-14 legislative session.
Evers’ transition office did not respond to an email asking if they were aware of Kuhn’s refusal to say the Pledge of Allegiance or her lobbyist background.