Photographed by Hillary Schave

State Rep. Melissa Sargent says she’s “building a Wisconsin that matches what our dreams are for the future of the state.” The Madison Democrat says her passion for championing equality is inspired by her children and her community.

In 2018, Melissa Sargent hopes to continue upholding Wisconsin’s forward values across many issues, including addressing what she calls “menstrual equality.”

That includes removing the 5 percent state sales tax on menstrual products, such as tampons and pads, which Sargent says should be considered necessities, like medications and groceries, which are exempt from the sales tax. She also would provide menstrual products in public restrooms.

“Half our population doesn’t have what they need when they walk into the public bathrooms and the other half does,” Sargent says. Women typically spend roughly $2,000 a year on feminine hygiene products. Wisconsin is one of 45 states that collect sales taxes on such products.

“Defining success, even if these bills don’t pass this session… opens up a conversation for the community to be thinking about it [and] talking about it,” Sargent says.

–Rae Sanders

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