It is quiz time and since Deborah Kerr, one of two people seeking election on April 6 for the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction post, is a teacher, she should ace this, right?
The question: Why do you have both financial support and endorsements from conservatives, including former Gov. Scott Walker, yet you consider yourself a Democrat?
Sorry, this does not make sense. Yes, I know that officially the election is nonpartisan, but Deborah, according to an article in the Journal Sentinel by Daniel Brice, you ran in the primary as a “pragmatic Democrat.” It also says you are telling people you voted for President Joe Biden.
Ok, so Scott Walker is now supporting Democrats? Wow. That is news. And when I look at the list of people who have sent you money, it includes $15,000 from “conservative mega-donor and voucher supporter Arthur Dantchik and $2,000 from George and Susan Mitchell, former leaders of School Choice Wisconsin.”
Something is not right here. And then last week it was reported that your campaign manager and legal counsel, both with strong ties to the Democratic Party in Wisconsin, resigned. Hmm.
Sorry, Deborah, you’ve failed the test. It appears you are trying to hoodwink voters by telling them you are a Democrat while at the same time hauling in money and endorsements for the conservative, pro-voucher folks. If voters buy into this, you have the best of both worlds: support from Dems and Republicans.
The problem here is the Dems and the Republicans do not see eye to eye when it comes to public education. Not the use of the word “public.” Republicans, especially Scott Walker, have gutted public education in Wisconsin. State funding is now dramatically reduced, and many public school districts have had to resort to costly referendums just to get needed dollars to keep their systems alive.
Plus, and this clearly is the 800-pound Gorilla in that too-small seat in the back of the classroom: Republicans, under the guise of fiscal responsibility and free-market economics, favor voucher schools, which drain dollars from the public schools, further putting public education in peril.
Would Scott Walker, the Mitchells, and Arthur Dantchik support a candidate who did not support the voucher program? I think not, but go to Kerr’s website and you won’t find any mention of her support for vouchers. So how did Walker, etc., come to the conclusion that Kerr is pro-voucher? Could it be that when she is not in public, Kerr tells Dems one thing and Republicans something else?
Kerr’s lack of transparency and her not-so-obvious attempt to play both sides is disturbing, disingenuous, and dangerous. She has, so far, misled everybody and we can’t have this in such a critical position. Vote for Jill Underly on April 6..
Two Dems have already announced that they intend to challenge Republican U. S. Senator Ron Johnson in 2022: Alex Lasry and Tom Nelson. But wait, they may be more Dems. Sarah Godlewski, the Wisconsin State Treasurer, has publicly expressed interest in entering the race but she has not formally announced.
Additionally, there are at least four other Dems who are potential entrants: Mandela Barnes, the current Lieutenant Governor; Josh Kaul, the current Attorney General; Ron Kind, the 3rd District Congressman;and Chris Larson, a Wisconsin State Senator for the 7th district since 2011.
Additionally, Mark Pocan, a U.S. Representative from the 2nd District, has had supporters, but for now, he has declined to run.
The big question, of course, what Republican will seek the post in the U.S. Senate. Johnson has the seat now, and he has filed his paperwork for reelection, but that doesn’t mean he will run. If he doesn’t there are a number of Republicans willing to step into the fray. Three of them are or were reps in Congress; Sean Duffy, who represented the 7th Congressional District until 206; Mike Gallagher, represents the 8th CD, and Bryan Steil, who represents the 2nd CD.
Other potential Republications seeking the seat include David Beth, the Kenosha County Sheriff, and Kevin Nicholson, who finished second in the 2018 Republican primary for the seat Baldwin won in 2018.
Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who holds the second Wisconsin seat in the Senate is not up for reelection until 2024.
This is insane: GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin last week refused to allow Democratic members to participate virtually insisting that they attend sessions in person. Plus, they did not require that those in attendance wear face masks or social distance.
Apparently they don’t believe that we are in the midst of a pandemic that has killed more than a half million Americans and roughly 7,000 in Wisconsin. So masks aren’t needed, even if they have been proven to reduce infections and lessen the spread of the virus.
This makes absolutely no sense. Their stance doesn’t reflect our collective need to protect public safety. I’ve never understood those who use “personal freedom” for justifying their refusal to wear masks and practice social distancing. Their personal freedom is killing people and it is crippling our healthcare system as it struggles to address the pandemic.
The actions, or rather inactions, of many in the GOP has nothing to do with personal freedom. It is all about politics. It is all about pandering to former President Trump’s “me-first” philosophy, and retaining political power.
It is also all about a concerted, nationwide effort on the part of the GOP to oppose everything that Democrats favor. It is not about protecting you and me. It is not about proposing responsive legislation, even when the majority of the county favors the legislation. It is obstructionism. Instead of coming up with solutions to the challenges we all face, the GOP spends time and political capital opposing common sense–like wearing face masks when in close quarters.
Please email Joan Ballweg to ask how the actions she and her colleagues have taken protects our health. Ask her if what she and the GOP has done, and continues to do, isn’t counterproductive, petty politics.
Remember Jeff Davis, the incumbent Milwaukee-area Appeals Court Judge who was our featured “speaker” at the February Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting? Davis is seeking reelection to his seat on the District 2 Appeals Court, which includes Green Lake County. During Davis’ “talk” via zoom, he stressed that he did not want the race to be viewed as a partisan effort, and officially, the race is nonpartisan.
Well, Jeff, good luck with that. Davis’ opponent, Muskego Municipal Court Judge Shelley Grogan, recently sent out a fundraising letter attacking Davis. Actually, the letter came from former Giv. Scott Walker’s wife, Tonette. Tonette and Scott have both endorsed Grogan.
In that letter, according to an article in the Journal Sentinel, Davis was attacked because he is “backed by ‘Madison liberals who favor a far-left agenda.’ “ Ouch.
That did not sit well with Davis’ mom, who ripped off a letter a letter to the Walkers suggesting that they were disingenuous in their effort, given that Davis’ parents have been generous supporters of Republicans to the tune of more than $250,000 in donations to federal and state Republicans, including $25,000 to Walker. Ouch again. Don Davis, Jr. Is the former CEO of Rockwell Automation, headquartered in Milwaukee.
We have not seen a response from Jeff Davis, and we probably won’t as he has so far worked hard to keep the politics out of the campaign, but the Walkers, with their letter, have certainly made it a political issue now. Davis does have support from Republicans, including two current Wisconsin State Supreme Court judges, but he also has support from Democrats.
You can learn more about Jeff Davis on his campaign website. Check out his credentials and list of endorsements.
This stuff just doesn’t make any sense. Once again, Republicans in the state legislature are working hard to make it even more difficult for us to vote. Why? Shouldn’t their goal, our collective goal, be to make it easier for citizens to vote?
Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash
Nope. Republicans, as part of a nationwide effect launched years ago, don’t want higher levels of voting. Why? Because strategists within the GOP are concerned that higher voter turnout will result in more votes for Democrats. Paul Weyrich, a UW grad and one-time leader of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an conservative organization behind much of the legislation that shows up on the desks of legislators, is quoted in “The Fall of Wisconsin: The Conservative Conquest of a Bastion and the Future of American Politics,” as saying, “They want everyone to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote.” He adds, “ … our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
Here is Wisconsin, the GOP has taken this to heart and legislation like the bills introduced this week, cloaked in the righteous “to restore faith in our elections” mantra, are a bogus attempt to limit the number of people voting.
Then let Allex Dallman (our 41st State Assembly rep), and Joan Ballweg, (14th State Senate rep) know that these bills represent solutions to nonexistent problems and that the supposed “lack of faith” in our elections was created by the unsubstantiated lies and misinformation churned out by the Republican Party.
Rep. Alex Dallman State Capitol, Room 412N PO Box 8952 Madison, WI 53708 Toll-free (888) 534-0041 or (608) 266-8077
Sen. Joan Ballweg Room 409 South State Capitol PO Box 7882 Madison, WI 53708 Telephone: (608) 266-0751
In a ruling on Monday, the U. S. Supreme Court and its conservative majority declined to hear a case involving challenges to the state’s election laws.The ruling is consistent with the court’s apparent unwillingness to address issues pertaining to the November election, which saw Joe Biden make former president Donald Trump a one-term president.
At the same time, as an article from the Journal Sentinel points out, a federal judge, nominated to the bench by Trump, has referred the lawyers who represented two Republican lawmakers and others who challenged the election results to a court grievance committee. The judge, stated the article, “determined their lawsuit was meritless and consisted of political grandstanding.”
To date more than 60 lawsuits have been filed by Republicans across the country seeking to overturn the election results. Notably, these lawsuits only are attacking the results of the presidential election; they do not seek to invalidate other elections that were won by Republicans, including many who signed onto the lawsuits. None has succeeded and many have been attacked by the courts, including those overseen by Republicans, for their weaknesses.
Earlier this month, Democrat Alex Lasry, the son of one of the owners of the Milwaukee Bucks, announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Ron Johnson. Johnson, from Oshkosh, has not revealed his plans for the 2022 election.
Alex Lasry, spoke to the crowd at the JFK dinner in Ripon in 2019.
Regardless, most observers expect the election to be one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the county. Johnson, in his second six-year term of office, was chair of the Homeland Security Committee in the Senate last year, Now 65, Johnson has been and continues to be an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump. Like many of Trump’s supporters, Johnson claims that the November election was “stolen” from the former president.
After President Joe Biden won the election, Johnson refused to say so until after the January 20 inauguration. He also gained a lot of notoriety for using his committee to go after Biden’s son Hunter for Hunter’s business ties to China and a power utility in the Ukraine. Johnson also, when he questioned, despite video footage and photographic evidence, whether an armed insurrection occurred at the U.S Capitol building on Jan. 6. “This didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me,” Johnson said
Lasry, who is 33, is a senior vice president for the Bucks. He was one of the speakers at the 2019 JFK Dinner, held at Ripon College. At the dinner, Lasry was credited with being one of the forces behind the awarding of the 2020 Democratic Party National Conference to Milwaukee. Because of the Covid-10 pandemic, the event was transformed into a nationally televised virtual conference. He is taking a leave of absence from the Buck while runs for the Senate.
Lasry is the second Democratic to announce for the seat in Washington. He joins Outagamie County Executive Director Tom Nelson who was the first Dem to announce he is joining the battle to unseat Johnson. Nelson is set to be the primary speaker at the March 6 Green Lake County Dems & Friends virtual meeting.
Lasry made unwelcome news recently when it was revealed that despite not being in an eligible group, he received a vaccine shot. Lasry said he had been contacted by a religious leader who had extra does that were in danger of not being administered and thus wasted That, explained Lasry, is why he was able to be vaccinated.
Lasry has been an outspoken advocate for social justice causes; he also has voiced support for unions. He was quoted in the Journal Sentinel, as saying, “What we’ve had for the last 10 years is a senator who hasn’t been representing the people of Wisconsin, who has been more interested in peddling in conspiracy theories and appealing to our worst instincts and impulses.”
Lasry’s father, according to the Washington Post, “is a hedge fund billionaire.” Green Lake County Dems & Friends Chair Linda Wilkens says that she is working to have Lasby at one of the group’s future meetings.
In January, 2020, Governor Tony Evers ended his State of the State Address with the announcement of an executive order that would create a nonpartisan redistricting commission called The People’s Maps and giving it the mission to “visit every congressional district, hear directly from folks across our state, and draw fair, impartial maps for the Legislature to take up next year.”
That year has passed and the People’s Maps Commission has been busy fulfilling its mission. After hearing directly from residents of six of the eight congressional districts in the state regarding the issue of redistricting since October, the People’s Maps Commission will soon be turning its attention to the 6th Congressional District, which includes Fond du Lac and Green Lake counties, for input from local citizens.
The issue of redistricting is a timely one in 2021. Every ten years a census of the US population is taken, as directed by the Constitution. Final census results are expected to be delivered to the federal and state governments in coming months. These updated population numbers form the basis of the process referred to as redistricting. In this process, the “maps” of governmental units are reevaluated to adjust for the new census information.
In so doing, the boundaries that define the governmental units themselves may be changed, or redrawn. As these maps carry with them many implications for voters and elections, the process by which redistricting decisions are made has come under increased scrutiny.
The 2011 redistricting process in Wisconsin culminated in years of costly lawsuits that carried the issue to the US Supreme Court in 2017. Legal arguments centered around the concept of partisan “gerrymandering” or the practice of manipulating map boundaries with the deliberate intention of establishing an unfair political advantage for one party over another.
The race for the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction post in the April election is down to two candidates with differing positions on a hot-button topic: the shifting of taxpayer dollars from public schools to those operating with vouchers, often referred to by pro-voucher advocates as school choice.
Jill Underly, who does not favor vouchers, and Deborah Kerr, who does, topped the seven person field in yesterday’s nonpartisan (wink-wink) primary election.
Jill Underly topped the vote totals in the Feb. 16 primary election. She now advances to the April 6 general election.
Underly, who was supported by the state’s top teacher’s union, was the top vote getter with 88,703 votes in the statewide voting. She is the superintendent of the Pecatonica Area School District,Kerrr, a former superintendent in Brown Deer, was right behind with 86,045. Collectively, they pulled in 55% of the total vote of 344,584.
Underly had strong support from Democrats and the teacher’s unions, while Kurr, who says she is a Democrat, had strong support from Republicans.
Underly participated in a virtual Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting on Feb. 6. Kerr was invited to participate in that meeting, but she did not respond to the invite.
Finishing a distant seventh with 27,422 was Fond du Lac’s Joe Fenick. Fenick is also a Fond du Lac County supervisor and high school science teacher.
As a recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal reported, school choice, championed in recent years by Republicans, has long been a litmus test in races for state superintendent.
Kerr raised the most money for her campaign
The State Journal article also revealed that Kerr raised “just over $28,000 in January and spent about $58,500, the report filed late Monday with the state shows. She had nearly $20,000 cash on hand in the two weeks before the primary. Her report shows a $15,000 contribution from Arthur Dantchik, a conservative mega-donor from Pennsylvania who has given nearly $147,000 to Republican candidates in Wisconsin over the past decade, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.”
Sheila Briggs, who finished third with 50,741 votes, currently an assistant state superintendent, raised the second most in January, at just over $19,400. She had about $30,500 cash on hand, added the State Journal. Underly, the superintendent at Pecatonica Area School District, “raised nearly $18,000 and had about $30,200 cash on hand.” The Wisconsin State Education Association PAC gave Underly’s campaign $18,000.
For these candidates, funds left over from the primary, help them support their campaigns for the election on April 6.
Tom Nelson is running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh)
Tom Nelson, the Outagamie County Executive seeking to replace Ron Johnson as one of the state’s two members of the United States Senate, is the featured speaker at the March 6 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends.
Nelson, a Democrat, has been the county’s top elected official since 2011. On April 5, 2011, Nelson defeated former Republican State Treasurer of Wisconsin Jack Voight for county executive of Outagamie County, by roughly 52% – 48%. He had advanced to the general election by winning a six-way primary in February. He sought re-election two times in 2015 and 2019 and was uncontested in each race
He also served as the majority leader of the Wisconsin state assembly back in2008 when the Dems had control of the state legislature. In 2016 he unsuccessfully sought to win the 8th Congressional seat now held by Republican Mike Gallagher. Gallagher earned 63% of the vote to Nelson’s 37%.
Nelson was first elected to the Assembly (District 5) in 2004, defeating Republican incumbent Becky Weber 51 percent to 49 percent. He was the only Democratic to unseat an incumbent legislative Republican. When he took office on January 3, 2005, he was the youngest member of the state Assembly. Nelson defeated Jim Reigel of Hobart 62 percent to 38 percent. Nelson sought re-election again in 2008, beating Jim Steineke, 64 percent to 34 percent. Members of the Assembly Democratic caucus elected him Majority Leader on November 12, 2008, for the upcoming 2009-10 session.
In 2010, Nelson announced that he was running for the position of Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin, rather than seek re-election to the Assembly. He gave up his position of Majority Leader post with the goal of helping Tom Barrett defeat Scott Walker.
Nelson waited until the end of the legislative session to launch his campaign because he wanted to focus on “his legislative responsibilities”. Nelson officially announced his candidacy on May 25, 2010, just over three months before the fall primary on September 10, 2010.
On September 14, Nelson won the Democratic nomination in a four-way race, defeating State Senator Spencer Coggs and two others.
During the general election, Nelson made repeated requests to Republican lieutenant governor nominee Rebecca Kleefish to debate, but Kleefisch refused. The gubernatorial candidates debated three times.
Nelson and running mate Tom Barrett (who ran as a ticket) were defeated in the 2010 general election by and Walker and Kleefisch.
During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Nelson was a delegate for Bernie Sanders.
Few people are sure–perhaps even Johnson himself–if the two-term (6 years per term) Senator will even run again in 2022, but Nelson is not waiting; he announced for the position back in October of 2020. Johnson is being cagey about his plans, having announced back in 2016 that he would not run for reelection. Since that announcement, Johnson has edged his bets and according to some reports he will run again.
Most famously, Johnson has been one of the disgraced former president Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. He has also been the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. In that role Johnson has repeatedly attacked President Joe Burden’s son’s business relationships in China and the Urkaine, despite a Trimp Justice Department stated that it could find no indication’ that Hunter Biden’s business relationships were improper.
Nelson doesn’t appear to have a campaign website or even a Facebook page. He does appear all over the official Outagamie County FB page where he regularly does 1-minute little videos.
Nelson received his MPA from Princeton and his B.A. from Carleton College.
Content for this post came from Ballopedia and Wikipedia.
Here are the questions we asked each candidate who participated in our Green Lake County Dems & Friends Zoom meeting on Feb. 6 One of those candidates, Troy Gunderson, is pictured above.
What do you see as the impact of vouchers on public education?
Given that COVID 19 has put additional financial strains on public schools, what is your plan for funding public schools? What safety measures would you put in place for all school personnel and students?
Opening public schools comes with a variety of challenges, including in a wide range of educational achievements and deficiencies. What is your plan to provide all public school children with the skills they need to achieve in school? How does your plan provide equity for students regardless of race, rural versus urban schools, socio-economic status and zip code?
If you want to know how they each answered these questions, check out the video from the meeting. You can access it here.
Six of the candidates running in the Feb. 16 primary election for the critical state superintendent of public instruction position participated in our Green Lake County Dems & Friends Zoom meeting on Feb. 6, We invited all seven of the candidates to join our meeting but only six responded. Pictured above is Shandowlyon Shawn Hendricks-Williams, one of the participating candidates.
If you are unsure about your choice for the position, we strongly urge you to watch the video. As one member said after hearing from the candidates: “Gee, I wish you could all serve on some sort of cabinet to support whomever wins. You are all outstanding candidates.”
If you were not able to join us, you can view a video of the meeting at the URL below. Note, however, that at the end of the address is a passcode. You will need to enter in the code when you open Zoom.
The passcode is yQU%=8^T. You can copy the code to your clipboard and then paste it into the field for the code or write it down and then enter in the code manually. If you have any problems, please let us know.
Also note that the candidates provided additional information, including links to their websites and Facebook pages in the chat column on the far right of the video screen.
In an earlier post, we provided information on three of the candidates for the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction post. Today, we are providing information on the other four candidates.
Note, if these candidates gather the required 2,000 signatures on nomination papers and submit them by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5, they will be on the primary ballot on Feb. 16. If they fall short of the needed signatures, they will not be on the ballot
Joining Joe Fenrick, Jill Underly, and Sheila Briggs, the three candidates identified in that earlier post are:
Troy Gunderson Shandowlyon Hendricks-Williams Deborah Kerr, and Steve Krull.
Fond du Lac”s Joe Fenrick gathering signatures for his nomination papers.
Three of the six candidates for the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction office being contested in the Feb. 16 primary election participated in some form at the Dec. 5, 2020 meeting of the Green Lake County Dems & Friends meeting via Zoom or in person.
Jill Underlay was one of those candidates. Learn more about her by visiting her campaign website and Facebook page. You can also follow her Twitter feed.
Also participating via Zoom was Sheila Briggs, another candidate for the state’s top educator post. Learn more about Sheila at her Briggs for Kids website.
The third candidate at our meeting Saturday was Joe Fenrick, from Fond du Lac. Joe made the trip to Green Lake for the meeting, wore a face mask, practiced social distancing and tried hard to keep warm. Fenrick, a high school science teacher, has attended our meetings in the past. He also serves on the Fond du Lac County Board of Supervisors. Visit Fenick’s website, and Facebook page.
Technically, this is a nonpartisan election, which means that none of the candidates on the ballot will be identified by their political party affiliations.
Because there are six announced candidates for the position, it appears there will be a primary election on Feb. 16, for those candidates who garner enough signatures on their nomination papers. Each candidate is required to have a minimum of 2,000 signatures submitted to the Wisconsin Elections Commission by 5 p.m. on the first Tuesday of January, 2021 (Jan. 5).
If you are interested in signing a nomination paper for your preferred candidate, you can download a nomination paper from the candidate’s website.
Next week we will provide information on the other announced candidates.