Sussex - On the surface, Sarah Bregant, 19, seems like another normal college kid. She goes to class, works at the dining hall and even plays golf for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women's golf team.
The 2011 Hamilton High School graduate began her freshman year at Whitewater last fall, where she began a major in business. By the second semester, she had changed course and started working toward a major in public policy and administration - a perfect compliment to her night gig as a Jefferson County Board supervisor.
Bregant ran uncontested last week for Jefferson County's 24th board district, a job she will add to 18 college credits, a job and an athletic career.
"I am enjoying every minute of it," the budding 19-year-old politician said. "I find time for sleep and hanging out with friends.
"I know I'm just going to have to pay close attention to everything going on around me with regards to the county a little bit more than I am now," she said. "Also, I'll have to sit on a couple committees. I was looking into the sustainability committee, because that's something that I'm interested in."
Bregant said her government courses at Hamilton High School inspired her interest in politics. But she also presided over the school's DECA group and the school store, which originally led her down a business path.
Upon learning of the county board's vacancy and with some encouragement from friends, Bregant threw her hat into the ring. Her first foray into politics was relatively stress-free.
"I had to file my nomination papers before we left for break last semester," the village of Sussex native said. "I needed to get 20 signatures to get on the ballot. So that was my main push there, to get signatures right around the campus."
She plans to use her experience on the County Board as a springboard for future endeavors.
She said, "Well there was really no single issue that got me interested in it. The thing for me is to really get my feet wet in government - to really see what it's like to serve in an elected position as a representative. And I think that's going to be so important as a basic form of experience and a really good stepping stone as to where I can go after that."
Where her career goes remains to be seen, but few 19-year-olds have the sort of ambition, and now, experience Bregant has. She begins her two-year term this week, a position that will force her to remain in her current dorm next year. Only a small sliver of the UW-Whitewater campus lies within the borders of Jefferson County.
Even with all of her commitments outside of academics, Bregant maintained straight A's in her first go-around with college. Her success is not lost on her proud father, Paul.
"She's not one to get in trouble … she's done good in college, so I can just knock on wood and say, 'I guess we're pretty lucky.' "
The elder Bregant described his daughter as a committed Democrat and said she is not scared of an argument.
"She'll argue with you on anything, and she's not going to lose the argument," he said with a laugh.
Back home in Sussex, Sarah worked at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store and at Silver Spring Country Club, where she tended to carts and various other duties around the golf course.
"You can't keep her down," her father said. "She always wants to work and make some money."
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