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Storytelling: Cathy Stoodley, Candidate for District 4 Alderman, City of Lake Geneva

“I've been here 31 years this month. The company I was working for was transitioning into something different and I had been dating someone for ten years who had a house in Abbey Springs. One day I decided to take my son out of his freshman year of high school to move to Lake Geneva and I have absolutely loved it ever since.

It’s always been the people that make up this water’s edge of town. So many of the original people of Lake Geneva, multiple generations, will tell you about the changes that have taken place here. I have always described Lake Geneva as a sophisticated small town because of its people. That never changes. It’s beautiful and its small town charm is why I call it ‘home’. I’ve been involved in a lot and I really fight for the community.

I graduated from a very small high school with a graduating class of 49 people. I love our schools and the awesome opportunities they offer our kids. My son lives out west now, but when we moved here, it was hard at first. He was in high school doing his thing, and I didn’t really know anyone. I have always been in people-based industries but when I came up here, it was the first time I found myself looking for something to do with my time. I ended up connecting through the schools and started working for Market Day. I became a rep for the local schools which got me involved with a lot of people. I went on to be a sales manager and I loved knowing that it was volunteer driven and the funds raised made an impact locally.

In 2002, my husband passed and my job had been eliminated, so I was just wondering, ‘What now?!’ Because of my love of connecting with people, I started a dream job. I became a flight attendant and got to do a lot of amazing things and met fascinating people. I had these moments that touch your heart, that changed my life forever. We used to do the Honor Flights and I met WWII vets. It gave me a lot to think about on those late night drives home from a trip to my little town. I wanted to do more here.

I represented the Geneva Lakes Women Association for 5 terms as their president. Being part of this group of 50-60 women all connecting for a need… it really gave you a lot of exposure. We fundraised for a lot of nonprofits. We worked with the original food pantry, Open Arms, the animal shelter, Special Olympics…you name it, we would be there to help.

Lake Geneva hides its needs. Tourists come here and spend their money here, stay at stunning resorts, and enjoy their boat rides on the lake seeing these $30 million mansions. You would have no idea we have 600 families that need to use our local food pantries or that more than 50% of our students are on free/reduced lunch. We are at a tipping point. Those $30 million homes? Most of us don’t live like that and we have to focus on supporting all of us that make our town thrive and affect change.” -Cathy Stoodley, Candidate for District 4 Alderman, City of Lake Geneva

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