2010 Endorsements

High time i got to this. Let’s make it brief, except when it’s not:

U.S. Senate: Russ Feingold

As I said previously, in this day and age when so many are hollering about “defending the constitution,” it’s a travesty that people think the one Senator who has stood up for the U.S. Constitution and our liberty and personal freedom as U.S. citizens time and time again has another thing coming.

Russ Feingold is my senator, and I am proud to be voting for him.

Wisconsin Governor: Tom Barrett

I think Tom has done a good job as mayor of Milwaukee, and I think he’d be far better as governor than Milwaukee County Exec. Scott Walker. While Walker has dedicated himself to starving the county government to death, Barrett has directly dealt with the city’s financial issues. Rather than using illusory tactics and budgetary shenanigans, which are Scott Walker’s modus operandi, Barrett has faced the music and made cuts when necessary, but still preserved vital services. More importantly, Tom Barrett has helped Milwaukee grow economically. He’s responsible for us getting new manufacturing jobs, reversing the deindustrialization trend of the past forty years. He has helped to bring development to previously barren parts of the city, be it Park East or the 30th Street industrial corridor. Scott Walker has purposely left the county’s economic development office without a director, stifling economic development at a time when it’s direly needed. But at the same time he’s given huge pay raises to his cronies, he’s forced furlough days on county employees—not once, but twice. People are screaming about budget deficits, but giving this behavior support? Come on! People need to come to grips with the fact that Walker will stifle and corrupt the state government just as badly or worse than he has the Milwaukee County government.

Wisconsin Attorney General: Scott Hassett

Scott Hassett is my pick. Though he will be our special guest host at next week’s Drinking Liberally, again that’s not the only reason I’m picking him. While Republican J.B. Van Hollen has not been a complete disaster, he’s made enough moves that I disagree with to want him out. Scott is a good choice for this office.

Wisconsin Treasurer: Dan Bohrod

Okay, Dan came to Drinking Liberally, which means a lot to me. But it’s not the only reason I’m voting for him. He’s got a good sense of how to run the office, and will do a fine job as Treasurer.

State Senate, 7th District: Chris Larson

Once again, I am endorsing the man who was once my electoral opponent. Chris Larson has proven himself as an effective leader who is capable of bringing together coalitions of people who may not normally sit together. With his leadership, we passed the transit and parks referendum. Larson is a co-founder of the Coalition to Save the Hoan Bridge, was successful in persuading the state to begin repaving the bridge starting next month. And as state senator, Chris will work to fix the state school funding formula that sends $57 million in taxes to schools in other parts of the state.

His opponent, the incumbent state senator Jeff Plale, has long been a friend of the moneyed interests. He’s passed a law that made it possible for AT&T to raise its rates. He’s made it possible to bring more dirty, polluting coal-fired power plants to the state. And he single-handedly killed the legislation that would have put Wisconsin on the path to producing clean, renewable energy. While I can personally appreciate his work on toughening drunk driving laws, having nearly been killed by one myself, I do not at all like how he’s beholden to corporate powers. Nor do I appreciate the fact that my friends have gone to his office in Madison, where they personally lobbied him to vote for the Clean Energy Jobs Act, heard his assurances that he would vote for it, only to have him kill it. A democratic representative should listen to his constituents, not his corporate contributors. Yes, it’s hard to ignore the ones who give you tens of thousands of dollars, or give your staffers cushy lobbying jobs. But that’s the way it’s got to be. I know that Chris Larson will continue to be approachable, honest, and will strive to help us in the state legislature.

Assembly District 20: Christine Sinicki

Rep. Sinicki has been doing a very good job as our assembly rep, having passed laws creating more accountability for voucher schools. She’s voted in a smart way on other bills such as phosphorus in cleaning products (a big cause of algae in our lakes), budgets, and so on. Chris will continue to do a very fine job in Madison.

Milwaukee County Sheriff: Chris Moews

The sordid tale of David Clarke begins with his appointment by a Republican governor, his curious plan to run as a Democrat, and his subsequent politicization and degrading of the sheriff’s department. Four years ago, I supported Republican Don Holt in his bid — the first time I’ve voted for a Republican in my life. This time around, Chris Moews is the one trying to beat Clarke in the primary, and he gets my vote hands-down.


Great time at Fourth of July parade in Cudahy

The south side city of Cudahy, Wisconsin puts on a fine Fourth of July parade. I had a great time, accompanying state Rep. Christine Sinicki’s convoy, throwing candy to the crowd and wishing folks a happy Fourth. This parade was made a lot easier for me, as the float behind us, which I believe was for a Cudahy official, had a rock band on it. This band did a really good job, covering tunes by AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne, the Rolling Stones, and Golden Earring. And who’d have thunk it, the Stones and Osbourne make really good music for throwing candy to the crowd! Despite doing my best impression of Mick Jagger at one point, my exertion in the heat did not wear me out until we were a few feet away from the very end of the parade at Sheridan Park.

My buddy Zach Dubya has posted the first sections of the Declaration of Independence. As we get the Sunday New York Times, I had the chance to marvel at that document, the same parts of which are printed on a full page in the Sunday Times. It’s impressive to see how many people signed it, folks whom I hadn’t heard of. Arthur Middleton? Button Gwinnett? Robert Treat Paine or Francis Lightfoot Lee? Most interesting. Shows me what I need to study a bit.

At the parade, I was wondering about how some of the parents weren’t telling their kids to run out into the street to retrieve candy. There are floats and large fire trucks coming up behind us… Hopefully no one got hurt as a result of chasing candy.

Also, I had a fine time meeting people from the Cudahy Police Department, including Chief Thomas Poellot, canine handler Officer Brian Olson, and the black and tan German Shepherd “Ezzo” (pronounced Et-zo). I bought a Cudahy P.D. Canine Unit t-shirt for my daughter, who’s become a fan of dogs now that we have our big dog Carl in the house.

So yeah, happy birthday, America! Having come into the world just before your 200th anniversary, it’s been a pleasure and an adventure to be here. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it to your 300th. A full 100 years old, I’d be. Well, stranger things have happened.

Have a great Independence Day!

Wisconsin RTA bill to pass Assembly committee, then Assembly… and what of the state Senate?

Word from Rep. Christine Sinicki is that the Assembly RTA bill will pass committee tomorrow, and should pass the Assembly as well.

The real trick, apparently, will be to get it passed in the state Senate. Sen. Jeff Plale, who represents me, sent me a letter saying he’s co=sponsored an RTA bill. (I don’t have it handy or else I’d cite it.) Figuring that the senators from the eastern parts of Milwaukee County will vote in favor, senators and representatives from the western region of the counties may have a disproportionate influence on the bill. Eastern Racine County seems to be in favor of it, while the western portion of Racine County wants nothing to do with it. If only we could magically divide Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee Counties along a narrow east-west divide, we’d have it sewn up. Only, it doesn’t work that way.

More soon.

A final stand to save Milwaukee parks

The short story is that the Wisconsin State Assembly meets tomorrow to vote on the final state budget, and there are a few ammendments that will be put forward that would remove the sales tax support for our parks. We the people of Milwaukee County voted for that sales tax increase. And it passed! Now a few are trying to undo it. Perhaps they don’t realize what jeopardy the parks would be in without it. Perhaps they don’t care. Either way, that is not what we voted for and it is not what we’ve spent the last nine months working on getting in to the state budget!

Do the right thing. Give us the tax increase that we voted for.

Endorsement: Rep. Sinicki for State Assembly

In just a few days, Milwaukee’s south side will have a small but important election on September 9 that will decide who is our representative in the Wisconsin state assembly. Because there are only three candidates in that race, and all of them are running as Democrats, that means whoever wins the primary election will also win the seat.

Rep. Christine Sinicki has been our representative for the past ten years, and she deserves to keep the seat. I generally agree with the Journal Sentinel on why she should stay there:

“We believe 10-year incumbent Christine Sinicki, 48, has earned another term in office in this southeast Milwaukee County district, based on her service to constituents and her work on several key issues, such as equal pay for women and minorities, the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail proposal and education.”

Unlike JS, I do agree with her on so-called “school choice.” Sinicki has been working to raise accountability for these sometimes fly-by-night schools. If our tax dollars are going to pay for something, we should be able to have a hold on what they do and how they run themselves. Receiving assistance from the state inherently means that your enterprise is not solely private, despite attempts to cast it as such.

Her opponents, who seem to be Republicans in Democratic clothing, have not made a sufficient argument as to why Rep. Sinicki should be replaced, and more importantly, how they would do a better job. Attempts to tar her as anti-Catholic are laughable at best; if Sinicki is anti-Catholic, how do you explain this picture of her chatting with a member of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee? Second, billing her as a “tax-and-spend liberal” carries little weight when Republican state and federal administrations who have racked up record debt and fiscal insolvency. Attacking her based on past finacial problems is not sufficient means to unseat her, especially when one of her opponents may be in the race because of his own such problems.

Rep. Sinicki knows we need to make sigificant investments in our infrastructure — not just new highways, but in rail and other means of access. She has been very accessible to her consituents, and has done a good job of representing us. On September 9, let’s give her another term in the state legislature. She deserves it.

Wisc. 20th State Assembly District Candidate Forum on 8/25

Forwarding this along:

You are invited to participate in the Holler Park Neighborhood Association L.L.C. 20th State Assembly Candidate Forum to be held August 25th @ 7PM in the Holler Park Lodge (5151 S. 6th Street).

We will be conducting H.P.N.A. business from 7-7:20PM with a Candidate Forum to begin immediately after.

Christine Sinicki (I), Phil Landowski and Steven Sutherland have been invited to participate in this casual forum. Candidates will answer questions given to them in advance by the Holler Park Neighborhood Association followed by an audience “Question & Answer” session.

The goal of this forum is to make an educated vote in the upcoming September 9th Primary Election.

Thank you in advance for getting this out to your members and your participation.

Sincerely yours,
Christopher Kuester
Chairman- Holler Park Neighborhood Association

Also: I just realized this primary election is important for the district, as all three candidates in the race are running as Democrats. There are no Republicans, Green, Libertarians, Independents, or members of any other party. In other words, this will decide who is our 20th District representative, at least until the next election. It’s a weighty choice for a primary.

Finally, I have endorsed Rep. Sinicki. She deserves your vote on September 9.

Reps. Colón, Sinicki, and Staskunas named Conservation Champions

These three state assembly reps were awarded the highest environmental conservation honors by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. Nine other reps and eighteen state senators were also awarded with the honor. Assuming they represent you, this honor should help settle any lingering questions about which incumbent representatives should get your vote in September.

The PDF documents containing the League of Conservation Voters’ press releases is over here. Rep. Sinicki put out a press release as well.