Posts Tagged: Sarah Schroeder

Electing for Change: Sarah Schroeder

electing_sarahschroederSarah Schroeder

The debate was heated, and, as it turned out, not easily forgotten.

“I felt that the admission prices being proposed for the town’s new swim center were outrageously high,” says Sarah Schroeder of her tenacious verbal sparring with the Spring Grove, Minnesota, city administrator during a 2006 city council meeting. “And I didn’t keep my opinion to myself.”

The moment passed, the admission prices were set, and that was that – or so Schroeder thought.

“The city administrator remembered that encounter and later suggested I consider running for elected office,” she says. “I remember first laughing and then thinking, well…maybe I should.”

The seed planted, Schroeder went on to mount a successful campaign for city council that same year, knocking on doors, passing out flyers, and sharing her ideas with all who took time to listen, including patrons of her mother’s local beauty salon. “I didn’t know much about city government, but I cared very deeply about the future of Spring Grove,” she says of her motivation for entering the political arena. “It was an interesting four years serving on the council, and I learned a lot.”

In January 2015, Schroeder took the oath of office once again, this time as mayor of this thriving small (population 1,300) town. Her responsibilities include presiding over council meetings, serving on various council subcommittees, helping guide the town through emergency situations (as she did when the town received a hoax bomb threat in late July 2016), and, of course, casting votes on city matters.

electingforchange_logoHer overriding philosophy? “I believe it’s city government’s responsibility to facilitate the betterment of the town,” she says, noting that contention over the city’s extensive, multi-million-dollar Main Street renovation project (now complete) was one of the reasons she decided to get back into local politics. “It’s about not obstructing groups that are working to make the town a better place to live, work, and visit.”

A self-described “joiner, doer, get-involved type of person,” Schroeder recalls engaging her parents in political discussions while she was just in grade school. By high school, she had found another outlet for her love of debate, discussion, and the democratic process – serving on the board of Ye Olde Opera House. “I was young, but I really enjoyed the dynamic of people sharing ideas, agreeing, disagreeing, and ultimately deciding things together,” she says. “It was really fun for me.”

The same holds true today – and that’s a good thing. Schroeder, who works in audio-visual media at Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse, jokes that “when there is a fifth Tuesday in the month” is the only time she has a week without meetings. In addition to (still!) serving on the opera house board, she also sits on the town’s economic development authority, planning and zoning commission, and fireman’s relief association board.

As she looks optimistically toward reelection this fall, Schroeder says she feels energized by the importance of the work that local citizens have entrusted to her and her fellow council members. “Local government impacts everybody’s daily lives – it’s responsible for the water you drink, the streets you drive on, the parks you play in, the sidewalks you don’t trip over because they have been maintained,” she says. “Very few citizens of Spring Grove want to complain – most are just grateful we care enough to take the time to serve.”

Read more about other folks getting involved here!

Read the Fall 2016 Inspire(d) Online!

Fall is one of our most favorite times of the year – glorious weather, beautiful leaves, sweaters, hot chocolate, marching bands…we could go on and on! So we’re super excited to bring you the new Fall 2016 Inspire(d) Magazine! Online today, and out on stands starting this weekend!

Here’s what you’ll get to read:

Be an Acorn! • Foster Care in Iowa • Local Politicians Making Their Worlds Better: John Beard, Chuck Gipp, Kurt Friese Alicia Leinberger, and Sarah Schroeder • Q&A with Rosanne Cash • Barn Sales • Fall Art Trips in the Driftless • Make It: Paper Plants • Probit: Phyllis Green • And more! (Click above to read it full-screen, and just hit esc when you want to exit )

Fall 2016 Editor’s Letter:

Aryn_BioFamilyPhoto_Fall16Right now, it’s 5:24 in the morning. I’m dreadfully behind on my magazine deadline, even though this is the third time this week I’ve been up all night – once for flooding, though. Benji’s been on the road for seven weeks living out one of his long-time dreams (living out dreams is something we highly encourage around here), and tomorrow, Roxie and I go to pick him up! Exciting!

I’m not gonna lie – it’s been a lot of work, these past seven weeks, but, man, as I’m reaching all sort of finish lines here tonight, I’m feeling like a mother bleeping champion! Seriously, you might Fall_16_Covereven be able to hear me roar.

And it makes me think about you and me and us, and how we really can do anything we put our minds to.

Somehow, we started this magazine nine years ago in October. It’s far from being “to the nines” (i.e. perfect), but it’s been a whole lot of fun and I truly believe we’ve changed our world – at least a little bit – for the better.

It brings it all around to our cover this magazine: “Be an acorn.” I’ve said this ever since my Ralph Waldo Emerson kick in college. His quote is, “The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” Boom. That sums up everything behind our mission for Inspire(d) – small changes can lead to big world changes. Be an acorn, man!

There are lots of acorns in this issue.

Folks changing the world through politics, like John Beard, Chuck Gipp, Kurt Friese Alicia Leinberger, and Sarah Schroeder (pg. 14).

Others trying to help, care for, and inspire some of the nearly 6,000 kids in foster care here in Iowa (pg. 34).

Others still, living out their dreams of being artists and being successful – you can visit artists all around the region in the fall during studio art tours or at cool art festivals and more (pg. 52).

There’s also a lot of fun in this issue (and in the region in the fall): Barn Sales (pg. 26), outdoor dining, (pg. 9), and great music and performances all over the Driftless.

Speaking of performances, make sure you check out Rosanne Cash’s performance at Luther College November 12, and before you go, check out my interview with the prolific singer/songwriter. I had a blast chatting with her on the phone, even though I always get so nervous about stuff like that!

The top of my fun list always includes a road trip too – we’ve gotten pretty good at packing the car and getting ready, so don’t miss our little essentials guide at the end of the mag (pg. 64). I’m hoping to put that list to good use, because, seriously, as I was putting this magazine together and I was all, “I want to go to Mineral Point! I want to go to Soldiers Grove! I want to go to see Rosanne Cash! I want…”

RoxiePreschoolPicApparently, there are a bunch of things I want to do this fall. We hope you feel the same way!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols


Roxie started pre-school this fall! Ahh! How is that possible. We thought you, dear readers, might want to know. ‘Cause, you know…you’re family! Thanks for sticking with us for NINE years! Whew! XOXO