ELECTION WATCH 2012
Next week’s primary elections may be the most important in recent years.
In addition to the U.S. senatorial race, the elections will change the face of the state legislature, including, if predictions are correct, a 50% reduction in the number of Black state lawmakers
The elections will be the first since federally mandated reapportionment. Population shifts and partisan priorities weighed heavily in the redistricting process, creating several new legislative districts, and the merging of several others. As a result, the concept of ‘community of interest’ will be tested, as will the question of whether Black representation is still a priority of among central city voters.
That latter concern has played out in recent weeks as several past and incumbent Black representatives have encouraged Black voters to ‘vote for individuals’ who look like us. Others have challenged that philosophy, stating that voters should vote for whomever best represents our interests. Without getting caught up in that controversy, our endorsements reflect our steadfast decision to support candidates who prioritize the needs of the community above those of special interests, political party or campaign funding. We also base our endorsements on responses to questionnaires we provided to each candidate (published two weeks ago) and their community endeavors.
The Community Journal endorses…
Millie Coby–Candidate for Assembly Dist. 10 Seat
This has been the most watched race in this election, pitting three black candidates against a respected White lawmaker who is seeking to represent a predominantly Black district. Sandy Pasch is highly qualified, but we lean toward the candidate who has received the endorsement of some of Milwaukee’s most esteemed and respected Black leaders including former Mayor Marvin Pratt, political pioneer Vel Phillips and former State Rep. Polly Williams. Coby has an impressive record of community involvement, understands the issues and has shown a willingness to be open to new approaches to those issues besetting our community.
Jason Fields–Incumbent for Assembly Dist. 11 Seat
Fields epitomizes a steadfast pragmatic politician. He has been one of the most effective legislators during his tenure, as exhibited by the fact that he was the only lawmaker to shepherd three bills through during the last session, even while facing sometimes hostile Republican opposition. Fields has been attacked of late by a segment of the Democratic Party establishment for his independence and his penchant to put his ‘people before his party.’ We however, applaud him and strongly endorsement his reelection.
Tracey Dent–Candidate for Assembly Dist. 17 Seat
There’s an interesting field of candidates running in this open seat, most of whom would make excellent representatives. After careful analysis, however, we lean toward Tracey Dent, whose record of community service is unequaled. As late as Tuesday, Dent was orchestrating a prayer vigil for the victims of the racist attack at the Sikh temple. That was only the latest in a long line of similar efforts he’s put together to combat crime, press for educational accountability and employment opportunities for Black Milwaukee men, who lead the nation in joblessness. Dent is a proven community activist who will take his fight to Madison.
Jaret Fields–Candidate for Assembly Dist. 18 Seat
A fresh voice from a distinguished family whose life has centered on community servitude. We have decried nepotism in the past, but in this case, Fields’ credentials are unmatched as is his desire to bring fresh ideals and challenge the status quo.
Beth Coggs–Candidate for Senate Dist. Six Seat
Like Fields, Coggs is unafraid to question establishment politics and willing to put here neck on the chopping block to advance an agenda of benefit to our community. The field in this race is impressive, including Nikiya Harris, who shows great promise. But Coggs’ experience and political savvy—as county supervisor and state representative—would serve us well as the new state senator. No one can match her experience, and few come close to her unwavering commitment to remedy the myriad of problems that confront our community.
U.S Senate–There is no Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Herb Kohl. That means Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin is guaranteed a place on the November ballot. Baldwin is an excellent choice for the Democratic nomination and her record as a strong supporter of President Obama and programs that positively impact our community is noteworthy.
With the absence of a Democratic presence on the ballot, many of our readers will cross over to vote on the Republican side, selecting a candidate from four Republicans, two of whom have sought statewide office in the past. One candidate sticks out, however, not only because he served as governor of our state for over a decade, but also because he is the only moderate in the group.
It’s interesting that conservative Republicans have targeted Tommy Thompson since he announced his candidacy. Is it because he supported institutions like OIC and the Private Industry Concil while governor?
Is it because he was the catalyst behind legislation that made the state responsible for paying two thirds of the cost of public education, a commitment that has been reneged upon by former Governor Jim Doyle and now Scott Walker?
Or is it because Thompson, as a Republican signed legislation for the strongest minority business participation program in state history?
That conservatives are attacking Thompson gives us reason for pause. Obviously, he’s the best of the lot.