Monday, May 13, 2013

Joe Kallas

I offered all candidates for Wisconsin State Democratic Party Chair a chance to write up why you should vote for them at the upcoming State Democratic Convention.  This is from Joe Kallas(and not an endorsement):

Kallas for State Party Chair

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin(DPW) is at a crossroads. We can continue with the misguided policies of the last four years or elect a new chairperson and change course. When Mike Tate was elected in an uncontested race four years ago he had virtually no experience in running anything much less a state wide organization like the DPW. Fresh out of college he seemed to be the leader that we were all looking for. I admit, I supported him then and believed he would at the very least maintain the status quo. I and many others were wrong. Four years ago the state was blue. The Democrats controlled everything. In four short years we lost the Assembly, State Senate, Governor’s office, one US Senate seat, the recall of Walker, and two Supreme Court races. Not exactly a record of success. Now he asks for another term. I believe that would  be a big mistake. We have to defeat Governor Walker in 2014 and a vote for Tate, in my judgment, is a vote for Walker.
I am running for DPW Chair because I believe I have the knowledge, skills and experience to change the political climate and begin anew the long, tedious process of electing Democrats at all levels. I have over 40 years experience in Democratic Party politics. I campaigned for Robert Kennedy in the Indiana primary before he was killed. I have been chair of Green Lake Co.(now I’m vice-chair), been on the local Town and County Boards and ran for the Assembly in 1988. Most recently I challenged Congressman Petri in 2010 and 2012. I have been  a farmer and small business operator in my father’s tavern in Princeton. I have 12 years of supervisory experience working for the county and a community action agency. I have managed budgets, hired and fired staff, and consider myself to be a problem solver. I recently retired from a teaching position at Fox Lake Correctional. On a personal note, I have three adult daughters and live on the family farm where I built a log home in 1980.
Mike Tate will brag about the 19 million he raised last year but when you ask how he spent it, the details are sketchy at best. He says he spent almost 13 million on the recall but that still leaves 6 million for the 2012 elections. Why then didn’t the DPW support all Democrats running for office? They certainly had the money to do it. Not only didn’t the DPW give money to many of the campaigns, including mine, they  wanted me to pay $40,000 for the voter list(VAN). There was no way I could afford it. The practice of supporting only the candidates whom they decide have an excellent chance of winning has to end. I believe more Democrats would have been elected in 2012 if the DPW had supported them. Anyone who makes the time and effort to run for office should have the unconditional support of the party. I never want to hear anyone say, “It’s nice you are running, but you don’t have a chance.” There are many good people who have run over the years, received no party support, never ran again and in a lot of cases are no longer members of the Democratic Party. If I am elected Chairman, I will work to make the DPW a party of inclusion where everyone has a voice. How many times have you thought, I wish someone would listen to me? As Chairman, I will listen to everyone. Many good ideas have been lost because the current chairman, Mike Tate, does not listen to the membership. All he does is ask for money.
Finally, we should not be electing the DPW Chair at the convention. The convention is the place to unite the party and an election by its very nature causes dissention. The election should be held a month before the convention and should be conducted by mail or secure email. Currently only the delegates at the convention have a say in the selection of the Chair. I believe all dues paying members should be allowed to vote for Party Officers. With the election behind us, we can come to the convention and rally around our candidates and set our party platform for the next two years.
I will end with my favorite quote from Robert Kennedy whom I considered to be a true champion of the people. “Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” Why can’t  the DPW be inclusive regardless of a person’s  station in life? Why can’t the DPW support all Democrats running for office? Why don’t we have the message that resonates with the voters of Wisconsin? Why can’t we elect a Democratic Governor in 2014? The answer, of course, to all these questions is, we can. But in order for this to happen the DPW needs new leadership. I ask for your support to bring about the changes that will put a new face on the DPW. With new leadership we will be positioned to replace Governor Walker and renew Wisconsin’s Progressive tradition.

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