The legislative agenda being pushed by Gov. Scott Walker and other conservative lawmakers in Wisconsin has turned what would have otherwise been a pedestrian April 5 general election into an election that could determine the fate of Walker’s attempts to do away with collective bargaining for state employee unions.
Ground zero for a final ruling on collective bargaining—and other possible decisions that could come about because of Walker’s extreme right conservative agenda—will be the state Supreme Court, where two candidates, incumbent Justice David Prosser and Assistant State Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, are vying for a 10-year term on the bench.
In past MCJ election articles on those seeking a judicial position, the one key point that every judicial candidate stressed—from municipal court, circuit court to Supreme Court—is that they cannot give an opinion on an issue or lower court case or decision that might come before them in a court of law that they may preside over.
However, anti-Prosser commercials have noted the incumbent justice expressed an eagerness to carry out the Walker agenda if reelected and that when both men were in the state Legislature together, they reportedly supported and voted for conservative legislation 90 percent of the time.
If this is true, then Prosser can’t be depended on to render a fair and unbiased decision, especially if it deals with collective bargaining.
Though Kloppenburg reportedly did the same thing Prosser did when she told a radio audience during an interview that she supports the state unions’ right to collective bargaining, we still believe your vote should be for Kloppenburg.
An experienced prosecutor with some 20 years of courtroom experience, Kloppenburg has demonstrated during the Supreme Court debates held around the state she would be more open-minded and fair.
We’re quite sure if Prosser is reelected, it would give the conservatives not only the governorship and legislature, but the high court as well; a trifecta that will have no winners among the citizenry of this state.
Our pick for state Supreme Court on April 5: JoAnne Kloppenburg.
Another important race connected to the governor (if indirectly) is Milwaukee County Executive, where political newcomer Chris Abele, a business owner and philanthropist who works with a number of non-profit organizations, is vying for the office against Jeff Stone, a 17 year veteran of the state legislature representing Greenfield.
In a January 26 MCJ profile before the February Primary, we wrote that Stone, a Republican, was no clone of Walker, adding he “has always been more about ideas than about partisanship.”
Yet when the governor held a news conference announcing the Assembly’s passage of his emergency budget bill that included the controversial elimination of collective bargaining, standing behind Walker in full view of the camera and reporters was Stone, who voted for the measure.
To us, that’s not the action of someone who doesn’t see himself as a Walker clone, or who puts ideas above partisanship.
In a recent debate, Stone called Abele an amateur who wasn’t qualified to be county executive. True, Abele doesn’t have the political credentials that Stone and Walker have.
But at least he would offer some new, outside-the-box ideas and approaches to deal with the issues the county currently faces—such as transportation, social services and parks—and will face thanks to Walker’s biennial budget for 2011-2013 that has been called by some political observers as “draconian.”
In our opinion, Stone’s vote for Walker’s emergency budget bill sunk his chances of being identified as a moderate, independent minded Republican.
Like many we’ve heard from in the community and given what Walker did as Milwaukee County Executive and what he’s done so far in just three months in his current office, Stone seems, to us given his credentials and affiliations, too close to Walker in ideology and approach. We don’t need four more years of “Walker Lite.”
Our choice: We urge you to vote for Abele next Tuesday.
For more than 20 years, the 10th Milwaukee County Supervisory District has been synonymous with one name, Elizabeth Coggs.
With Coggs now in the state legislature, the seat is vacant and being contended for by two capable individuals, Eyon Biddle, Sr., the executive director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) state council; and noted Attorney Milwaukee Tearman Spencer.
Both gentlemen would serve the district well and aggressively pursue solutions to the myriad of issues the district—and the county—faces from economic development and job creation to crime, to even education (though its not within their sphere of influence) and transportation.
Our choice: As we said either candidate would be an exceptional choice, however, we have to give a slight nod to Eyon Biddle.
One of the biggest areas impacted by the governor’s proposed budget is education. If the budget passes, public school educators will be confronted by expanded parental school choice, less state aid, the inability to raise property taxes to offset the loss of state funds, as well as consolidated schools, which equal more students in a single classroom than one teacher can handle.
We believe retired Assistant Milwaukee Fire Chief Mark Sain is the man to vote for to help the school board and superintendent Gregory Thornton tackle this burning house that is MPS.
A father and grandfather who works with children in the public schools as a mentor and tutor, he has seen first hand the challenges facing students and teachers in the city’s school district.
This up close experience, we believe, gives Sain a unique perspective on the challenges facing MPS. He is open to any and all ideas that will help improve the educational outcomes of more than 80,000 children.
We think he would be an excellent addition to the board that its president, Michael Bonds, can depend on to help him turn around the district in the face of overwhelming odds.
Our choice for the school board: Mark Sain.
Sain’s probable colleague on the board, incumbent Jeff Spence, should also get your vote.
Other candidates on the ballot we endorse:
• Branch 10 Circuit Court—Christopher Lipscomb, Sr.
• Branch 1 Circuit Court—Maxine White*
• Branch 33 Circuit Court—Carl Ashley*
• Branch 47 Circuit Court—John Siefert*
• Municipal Court Branch 2—Derek Mosley*
• Milwaukee Public School Board Director—Michael Bonds*