Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear editor, 

My name is Patricia (Patty) Arneson and I am writing this letter with the support of my husband, Gary Arneson, to endorse our granddaughter Kayley McColley for the Wausau School Board. 

Gary and I have raised Kayley and her brother Isaac since they were in kindergarten and 4K. We consider ourselves very blessed to have watched them both grow up. Even as a child, Kayley was wise beyond her years and always wanted to be a good helper and do the right thing. Now, Kayley is 22 years old and the same is still true. 

We would describe our granddaughter as empathetic; she has a gift for listening to and understanding the perspectives of others. She also can effectively communicate her positions on issues and over the years we have seen her progress into both a talented writer and speaker. Lastly, she is committed to serving our community. Kayley has worked to organize the Dr. Martin Luther King celebrations in Wausau, the first-ever Juneteenth celebration, and a book fundraiser to purchase books about Black history to distribute to youth and their families in our community. 

It has been highly disappointing to witness the misinformation and disparaging remarks being made about Kayley. She is a strong, resilient individual and hasn’t let this deter her from running a respectable and ethical campaign, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult to endure as people who love her. 

My husband will be 74 years old this April and I will be 73 years old in July. The world kids are growing up in now isn’t the same as the one we grew up in. Due to this, we need leadership that is dynamic and prepared to address the needs of students and their families in the present day. That means encouraging young people to engage and opening our minds to new methods of problem-solving. Henry Ford said it best, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” 

We hope that you’ll consider our granddaughter for the Wausau School Board and we invite you to prioritize voting on April 5th. 

Thank you sincerely for your consideration,

Gary and Patty Arneson, Wausau