• One of a Kind Candidate: Diane Odeen, Wisconsin's 30th

    Diane Odeen is running for Wisconsin's 30th Assembly district seat, and she has the gall — the gall! to run on a platform of civility.

    "I think the fairness and civility are eroding," the first-time candidate and lawyer said of her home state's political scene.

    Sure, lately Wisconsin has been known for having… how do we say this gently… wild, disruptive political discourse. Leaders from both sides of the aisle can't finish a speech without getting booed, and politicians ran off to Illinois last year to avoid a vote. But that just means politics in Wisconsin are healthy and vibrant, right?

    Odeen, a River Falls resident, has some truly outrageous ideas, like thinking it's important for people to "talk to each other" for "the common good" of the state. But she also has a history of making savvy choices, like having a polka band at her wedding. This author's Wisconsin roots swell with pride just thinking about polka bands, and this author doesn't even have Wisconsin roots. Such is the power of polka bands.

    Odeen's experience may play well with a broad range of voters. Her first job was feeding calves, appealing to the state's farming industry. She also has a PhD in theater and is "a founding mother" of the River Falls Community Theater, which should help her lock down the theater geek vote.

    One potential weakness in Odeen's campaign is her association with those non-cheeseheads in Minnesota, where she went to law school. If she has any shot in her home district, she'll have to convince voters she is Wisconsin Nice, not Minnesota Nice. There is a goddamned difference!

    Previously: Rodney P. Smithley, "Manatee of the people."

    Our friends at Dr Pepper are going to send Ms. Odeen a one-of-a-kind t-shirt, and you get to choose its slogan:

    Want a custom t-shirt of your own? Of course you do! Head to DrPepper.com and get started.

    Tags: One of a Kind Candidates, State Legislature, Wisconsin