Green Bay Packer fan. Rock 'n roll singer. Stand-up comic.
Hiker. Reader. Writer. Eternal optimist.
Kate Rice is a runner, ski bum, rock ’n roll singer, standup comedian and a devoted Green Bay Packer fan who knows nothing about football.
She is also a prize-winning reporter and change-maker who loves to throw parties.
This hick from the sticks fell in love with the big city but always remembered why running through a cow pasture wearing flip flops is a bad idea. She raised her long-suffering kids in the big city but made sure that they spent enough time in the heartland so that they, too, knew how easy it is to step in a cow pie.
As a reporter and analyst, she covered the dawn of online travel and the intersection of travel and technology for top travel trade magazines and consulting companies. She was such an expert on the topic that she was once quoted in both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in the same day.
As an editor for Business Traveler International, a UK magazine for international business travelers, she covered the world, flying to so many business capitals that she had to get extra pages in her passport.
She won Folio Magazine’s Eddie award for her story about human trafficking and the travel Industry for Travel Weekly. The story explored the intersection of the travel industry and sex trafficking, forced labor and slavery.
As retail and technology editor for Travalliance Media, her video stories about the travel business were among the most viewed.
She’s an activist who has fought for many great causes and lost a lot of them.
Obviously, she is a Democrat.
She was part of a grass roots effort by a polyglot group of hardworking locals who fought an international mining company that moved into their rural corner of west central Wisconsin to mine sand for fracking, destroying property prices for all but a few landowners.
She and her group used direct mail, a website that attracted international attention, and phone calls to organize hundreds of locals to protest the development of a sand mine that would level many of the hillsides of the town of Greenfield. The result: the town board had to hold its meetings in picnic shelters and a high school gym to comply with open meeting laws.
The sand mine still came in, but did have to pay some of its profits to the township.
Most of the sand mines that sought to exploit the sand in the town of Greenfield and the rest of Monroe County, where Rice was born and raised, have since shut down or dramatically curtailed operations.
In 2015, as Rice watched refugees flood into Europe, she became a refugee advocate. She was a charter member of the refugee committee started by B’nai Jeshurun, a synagogue on New York’s Upper West Side. She did everything from recruit volunteers to work with refugees to loading up her SUV with donated furniture. She connected B’Nai Jeshurun with Rutgers Presbyterian Church, also on New York’s Upper West Side. The two congregations continue to run multiple programs serving refugees and immigrants in the greater New York area.
She was part of a global effort to publicize the plight of a Syrian Kurd family caught in an international legal limbo when the new Trump administration shut the gates on most immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries. In a heartwarming victory, that family made it to a new life in America, where its members thrive today.
That led Rice to write her first book, How the Refugee Crisis Unites America: Where Right, Left and Center Work Together. It covered refugee advocacy efforts across the United States, particularly in the Bible Belt and other red states. It’s a counter-intuitive story about the unlikely partnerships between what looks like the fabled Trump core—evangelicals and other religious conservatives—and progressive, secular Americans. It’s essentially a how-to of hope that is particularly relevant as the Biden Administration takes the reins and prepares to return America to its traditional role of welcoming new Americans to its shores.
Her discoveries in researching her first book laid the foundation for her second. Jesus Is Not Republican: A Secular Liberal’s Adventures With Politics, Religion and Sex. is an open and irreverent memoir about a party girl’s wrestling with religion set against a backdrop of America’s own battles with faith.
Rice was an active member of Empire State Indivisible, a loosely organized network of grassroots political organizers born after the 2016 election. She was part of an army of volunteers in the state of New York who ousted the Independent Democratic Caucus, rogue Democrats who collaborated with the Republican Party in the New York State Senate, giving Republicans control of the Senate. Thanks to that work, the IDC disbanded and most of its members were defeated in the 2018 elections.
Democrats now hold a super majority in both the State Assembly and the State Senate.
Rice spent much of 2020 as a volunteer for Wisconsin Democrats, phone banking, and delivering lawn signs to rural Democrats. As part of her effort to shine a spotlight on rural America, she created the podcast Monroe County Matters, the Drama, Comedy and Joy of a Bellwether County.
Rice’s next political project: Working with rural Democrats and helping them expand their beachhead in the all-important heartland by improving healthcare, fighting for the small farmer, job creation and more.
Raised in the self-deprecating midwest, Rice was a mostly shy kid who aspired to be a copy editor because she wouldn’t have to talk to strangers.
So of course she became a reporter, calling up people she didn’t know and getting them to talk to her.
Thanks to hard work and an impressive amount of beer consumption in her youth, Rice overcame much of her midwestern reserve and has taken to the stage in Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side and Salt Lake City. She has sung rock and roll anthems at The Bitter End and gotten the occasional laugh at open mics in basement comedy clubs in New York’s Lower East Side and Brooklyn.
She has taken her comedy on the road to participate at open mics at Wise Guys in Salt Lake City.
Rice, who loves to bust stereotypes, points out to her former New York City neighbors who believe Salt Lake is red that Salt Lake is actually so blue that it had its first openly gay mayor back in 2015. New York is still waiting.
Rice thinks Democrats are funnier than Republicans. There are funny Republicans, but they're really Democrats, they just don’t realize it.
Despite her incurable irreverence, Rice sincerely and intensely believes that it is both an honor and a responsibility to be an American.
She lives in Park City, Utah.