I began my career in public service with a successful election to the Town of Washington Board of Supervisors. I served from 1992–1995. A few years later I applied to serve as a commissioner on the Eau Claire County Housing Authority. I was appointed by the Eau Claire County Board and served for 10 years, from 1998 – 2008. At the same time, I developed an interest in land use issues, so I applied to fill a citizen appointment to the Eau Claire Plan Commission. I was appointed by the City Council, serving from 2000 – 2004. After my election to Council I remained on the Plan Commission as a City Council representative, until 2007.
In 2004 I ran for an at-large seat on the City Council. I have served on the Council since then. I was elected Vice President twice: in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 and 2012 I was elected City Council President. Eau Claire is the only city in Wisconsin that elects its Council President in a general election.