Fully aware that many people on the left side of the aisle have concerns about what would happen if Falk became the nominee for this race, I chose to take the approach of asking Falk how she would respond to these concerns as well as discuss some more general issues, if time allowed. To figure out just what I would ask, I went to others to get their sense of Falk and what questions they might have for her. The people I informally poled came from all walks of life, liberal and conservative, unionized and non-union, young and old.
When the conversation started, I have to admit that Falk threw me for a loop immediately by taking the initiative and asking me for what advice I had for her on how to succeed. I've dealt with enough politicians on both sides of the aisle to know to have a certain level of skepticism and wariness, with a few notable exceptions. Too often, a politician will look at me wondering how they might use me or wondering how much a threat I might be, depending on how our political positions align.
Falk didn't take either of those approaches, which was quite refreshing.
Falk also expressed her enthusiasm and excitement for the shift in political awareness and action that our state has seen in the last year. She said, "The most amazing thing is people are doing something constructive," rather than just sitting back and taking it. She also expressed her appreciation for the drive and enthusiasm that people all across the state are showing in their desire to restore Wisconsin back to its traditional values.
Still caught a bit off guard, I returned my focus on the questions that I had for her.
The first question was to find out how realistic it is to expect to restore the damage done by Walker and the Republicans. We agreed to start with collective bargaining to begin with and expand from there.
Falk said that by making the pledge that she did, to veto any budget that doesn't restore collective bargaining was the only way to ensure getting it done. She pointed out that it would be very difficult to turn over the Assembly, which is especially true given the unethical gerrymandering the Republicans have done. She said that a bill to restore collective bargaining could be introduced in the Senate, but that did not mean the Assembly had to take it up. The only bill that both houses have to take up is the budget.
Falk also stated that it was "not enough not to be willing to veto the budget."
Falk has already written about this and you can find her rationale for her pledge here.
I then brought up the fact that Walker has alienated many of the independent voters as well as some Republican voters by going to far with his power grab and his abuses of office. I asked her if she was concerned with losing the middle by going too far to the other extreme.
Falk replied that she was only promising to restore the order of balance that we had before Walker started tearing the state apart. She also said that "people have to know where I am coming from. I don't want to be like Walker and get ousted in a year for fooling people." She said that her campaign was about being truthful and honest with the people, something that Walker has not been.
The third and fourth questions were similar, asking how she would overcome the bias and the label of being a "liberal from Dane County" and being a "puppet for the unions."
Falk pointed out that only Dane County liberals thought that they couldn't carry the state. She pointed out that in her last election, which she had lost by less than one half of one percent, she did very well in the counties in Northern Wisconsin. She also said that when she has gone to those counties in recent days, she is still receiving the same warm welcomes and support she did before.
Falk said that her history and experience shows that she knows how to work with the unions to the benefit of everyone and not just special interests and big corporations. She said that she was extremely grateful for the endorsements and support from the various unions, she is also equally proud of her endorsement from Emily's List and the support she has received from the LGBT community. She also pointed out that she has experience in being an environmental lawyer. She stated that she is not only passionate about restoring workers rights but about correcting many of the other wrongs that the current administration has done.
I will admit that when Falk first announced her candidacy, I was then less than enthused. I was concerned about the issues above as well as the fact that she had ran twice in a statewide race and lost both times. But as I started looking into her record and got to know more about her, I found that many of my concerns were being addressed.
She has the ability to win a statewide race as evidenced by the closeness of her race against JB Van Hollen. I seriously think she only lost because too many people who were faithful to the reputation-damaged Peg Lautenschlager chose to sit that one out. She's more than a single issue candidate. She has more experience than Walker does as an executive and a better track record to boot.
You can find her campaign website here.
Cory Liebmann also had the opportunity to interview Falk and you can click here to see his report.