|Address||W1490 Cesler Valley Road |
Alma, Wisconsin 54610, United States
|| June 16, 1958
|Contributor||The Oncoming Storm|
Feb 24, 2013 05:02am
Caucasian - Liberal - Married -
|Info||Kathleen Vinehout is a farmer from Buffalo County. She lives with her husband Douglas Kane and son Nathan on a 223 acre farm situated in Alma Township overlooking the Buffalo River. |
Kathleen is the first child of five born to parents who were veterans of the US Air Force. Her father, Bill Vinehout worked as a union laborer and her mother, Diane (Frenier), a registered nurse. As a youth, Kathleen worked as a janitor in the Catholic high school and later as a nursing assistant, first in long term care and later in a community hospital. This experience and the teachings of her mother inspired her life long love of health care.
Kathleen received a bachelor’s degree with honors in 1980 from Southern Illinois University and enrolled in the graduate program in public health at St. Louis University. Kathleen worked in the medical records department, as a researcher, a medical educator, a quality assurance specialist and completed her Master of Public Health in 1982. She became the education director of a large home health agency in St. Louis and learned first hand of the poverty in the inner city and rural areas.
In 1985 Kathleen accepted a position as university professor at the University of Illinois Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University); she completed her Ph.D. in 1987. She was promoted and tenured and, for several years, assumed responsibilities as program director of both the graduate and undergraduate programs in health administration. Kathleen focused her academic work on state health policy and the health problems facing rural communities. She presented widely and is the author of many papers, training manuals and research reports in health administration and health care reform.
In the early ‘90s, Kathleen and her husband began exploring a career change. Kathleen worked on a dairy farm weekends, spring break and throughout the summer. She began to acquire cattle and machinery, completed a degree in agriculture and the family purchased a farm.
For ten years, Kathleen was the primary operator of the 50 cow dairy. The farm had a rolling herd average of 21,000 pounds of milk, received many quality milk awards and sold registered Holstein cattle to many states and a few foreign counties. Vinehout served as president of the Dairy Herd Improvement Association in Buffalo County for several years and as delegate to represent her district at dairy meetings.
For the past year and a half, Vinehout assisted the Wisconsin Farmers Union with policy and legislative work. In 2005, she served as an advocate for the farmers at the state capital in Madison; assisting in crafting policy and analyzing legislation; she organized and participated in farmer lobbying days and helped farmers learn the tools of civic involvement. Key priorities for the farmers included health care reform, ethanol and other renewable energy efforts and protecting farmer control of cooperatives.
Kathleen participates actively in her church and community; she served on the pastoral council of St. Lawrence Catholic Church where she teaches a weekly bible study course, now in it’s eighth year; she serves on various boards and commissions including the Buffalo County Farm Bureau Board, the Buffalo County Fair Board, and the Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission. She is active in community and economic development, has organized many community forums; is a member of the Alma Chamber of Commerce and the Buffalo County Rural Economic Development Corporation and chair of the Democratic Party of Buffalo County. She was recently honored with the state wide Eleanor Roosevelt Award for her work in grassroots organizing.