Kudos to the people’s governor, Tony Evers, and Lt. Governor, Mandela Barnes, for creating opportunities for voter input via the “Building the People’s Budget” sessions and town halls scheduled throughout the state of Wisconsin in December. Being open to the opinions and needs of the citizens of Wisconsin, is one of the reasons I voted for Evers who said, “The people of Wisconsin elected me to solve problems and listen to the needs of everyone.” To that end, Tony Evers outlined his plan for Wisconsin for every voter to read at tonyevers.com/plan. His plan included protections for voter rights, women’s health, natural resources, healthcare pre-existing conditions, wages, natural resources, public education and gun safety.
His words, “It’s time we return Wisconsin to a place where we treat each other with respect and dignity, we stop pitting Wisconsinites against each other and we actually talk and listen to each other, not insult or demean our opponents” convinced me I voted for the right person.
While Evers narrowly won the election statewide, he beat Walker among under-30 voters by a 23-point margin (Tufts University). Thank you, young voters in Wisconsin, for your hope-filled votes.
The pre-election platforms of the Wisconsin GOP showed few clues that the 2018 Lame Duck session would limit early voting, powers of the Governor in relationship to Economic Development or the Attorney General’s responsibility over Wisconsin lawsuits. Did I miss it? The voter certainly knew and was concerned about the risk to pre-existing conditions due to the GOP lawsuit against the ACA and the increased GOP requirements for Medicaid and Food Stamp recipients. Anything about wanting to curtail the power of the governor or the Attorney General? So, it was astonishing nationwide on December 4 when the Wisconsin GOP passed legislation that limited governance rather than protecting the people. The Wisconsin GOP voted to protect their power.
Of concern is the “arrogant insularity of the Wisconsin GOP” as they have become “a national symbol of win-at-all costs, norms-be-damned politics” (The Atlantic, Dec. 6, 2018). While 54 percent of voters voted for a Democrat, Republicans maintained 64 percent of the Assembly seats due primarily to gerrymandered districts (NBC, Dec. 4, 2018). On December 7, I emailed concern to Rep. Joel Kitchens about his vote. The canned response was, “This issue is not as black and white as it might appear in the media. If you will send a phone number, I would be happy to discuss it with you.” I declined. His response? “Life must be very easy when you can just put everyone in a ‘good’ or ‘evil’ box. No need to waste time trying to understand why anyone might have different thoughts.” The same can be said for the Wisconsin GOP.
Democrats Evers, Barnes, Kaul and Godlewski assume leadership in 2019, unseating Republican candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, AG and Treasurer. In 2020, perhaps Wisconsin youth will vote again to instill fairness and civility to Wisconsin politics.
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.