Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Palmeri’s evolution in politics

Courtesy of Lori Palmeri – Rep. Lori Palmeri looks over a document with Rep. Supreme Moore Omokunde. An Oshkosh resident since 2008, she was elected to the 54th Assembly District in 2022.

Lori Palmeri, Oshkosh’s first female mayor, assumed higher office as the Wisconsin Assembly representative for District 54 and admits the road wasn’t always easy being a single mom. Adversity and resilience have defined her journey into public service. 

Palmeri said advocating for her neighborhood caused her motivation to run for the Oshkosh Common Council, and after co-founding the Middle Village Neighborhood Association, she became a voice for her community. 

“As a neighborhood advocate and non-traditional student of Urban Planning, I felt a duty to help where I could,” Palmeri said. “Also, my husband had held the position years before and I was acquainted with how one could affect change at the local level.” 

Palmeri said her time on the Oshkosh Common Council often reflected her background in urban planning, and that she used a people centric angle to consider policy. 

“Being the first person with a masters in urban planning was how I navigated the business-as-usual Council approach. I looked at many issues with a policy analysis and people first approach,” Palmeri said. 

When she spoke about becoming the first directly -elected female mayor of Oshkosh, Palmieri said her victory came with skeptics and unique challenges to being a woman.  

“Adversity and resilience are things that I am proud to have overcome and many women in male-dominated positions experience this every day,” she said. “Certainly, there were some who excluded me from the boys club, but many also welcomed me.”  

Palmeri’s fortitude shines throughout her career by defying the stereotype that women can’t lead in politics, and denying the false allegations made against her character by the Don Herman campaign, her Republican challenger in the Assembly race.  

“I did have multiple driving tickets on my record from a period of time I was not in a good place and I suffered the consequences,” Palmeri said. “I addressed it with correcting the facts and acknowledging that none of us are reduced to mistakes made in younger years.” 

While Palmeri won District 54 with a platform of resilience, she admits organizing the campaign was not without the challenge of recruiting volunteers , and managing a chaotic schedule.  

“The district was much sought after and competitive,” Palmeri said. “Knocking on thousands of doors, attending hundreds of events, making hundreds of fundraising calls was vastly different for a state-wide race than the running and winning four local (Council) campaigns with under $1,000 each.” 

Palmeri said she fights for UWO and the entire university system in Madison, arguing the budget crisis is systemic; UW institutions remain underfunded over political issues like diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) while Wisconsinite enrollment is a record low. 

“We must continue to demand our representatives value higher education through budgetary action, and constant communication that the liberal arts are needed and, in some cases, not only transform, but save lives,” she said. “I have been a consistent messenger on this for the UW in Madison, in the district and with the media.” 

Palmeri’s committee appointments include the Committee on Environment, Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention, and Licensing Reform, but she is especially invested in a green future.  

“We must support sustainable forestry practices, and increase our green urban spaces, while reducing our gas-powered auto-centric culture,” Palmeri said. “This includes passing legislation which looks at seven generations down the road with renewable energies incentives.” 

Medicaid expansion is also an important priority that Palmeri supports in Madison by advocating for uninsured and underinsured Wisconsinites wanting more services, physicians, dentists, and mental healthcare providers.  

“I support expanding Medicaid as well as getting better Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers,” she said. 

When Roe v. Wade was overturned, an 1849 Wisconsin abortion ban went into effect making patients, and their physicians who perform the procedure guilty of a felony; the original ban was overturned in a court ruling, but abortions are still restricted.  

“Women and pregnant people’s right to choose has been extremely limited, especially for folks who don’t have resources to go out of state for abortion care,” Rep. Palmeri said.  “Legislators have no business dictating healthcare or controlling women’s bodies.” 

Representative Lori Palmeri may only be a first-term legislator, but she is able and willing to serve constituents with problem solving strategies to help the public, even if that’s by connecting someone to another resource.  

“It’s a duty and an honor to serve this district and while I’m in my first term as a state legislator,” she said, “I am approachable and responsive to all constituents.” 

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