By Jeff Simpson
The Wisconsin State Democratic Convention is coming up and while I will not be there, there is an incredibly important vote going on. The vote for who will be the next head of the State of Wisconsin Democratic Party(and first vice chair).
In the running are:
Martha Laning/David Bowen - Martha Laning ran for WI Senate in the 9th district and while running gave basically the same answer as Mary Burke was giving regarding ACT 10. Some gobbeldygook about it helping balance the massive budget deficit which showed she didn't understand the deficit, or ACT 10 and is more than willing to throw public workers under the bus. Laning also does not support a raise in the minimum wage. No thanks!
Also, running on her ticket for first vice chair, is Representative David Bowen. I really like and respect Mr. Bowen and see a strong future for him in the Democratic party and the state of Wisconsin. However he needs to get his own house in order before worrying about the party. The Assembly, under Peter Barca's "leadership" has lost seats every year, and last year let 26 of the 99 seats go unchallenged. When Bowen challenges Barca, I am on board 100%, now I am not on board at all.
Jeff Smith/ Stephanie Findley: I also like and respect Jeff Smith, I hope he stays involved and active in the Democratic party for many years to come. However I can not support his candidacy at this time. I personally think, that the number one issue that Democrats can get behind and win on is public education. We see it every election cycle with referendum after referendum passing.
People want what is best for their kids, and what is best for their kids is a strong public education.
Unfortunately, Ms. Findley is very much on the wrong end of this argument. The alternative to public education, is a public education that has the resources needed to succeed, When you want to give even a penny of our public education dollars to snake oil salesmen like Zeus Rodriguez or formerly convicted felons like Scott Jensen, then you are running for leadership of the wrong party.
Jason Rae//Penny Bernard Schaber: This is the biggest head scratcher of them all. It amazes me that someone from the lobbying/consulting firm - Nation Consulting, would be bold enough to try and run the Democratic Party. One of the important issues that Democrats stand for is getting money out of politics. To elect a lobbyist to run the party would be like hiring a someone who was knee deep in the caucus scandal to run the gubernatorial campaign against Scott Walker. Ok, we tried that and it did not work out very well.
All we need to do is allow Thad Nation, to have access to the full party and who knows how many pipelines we can get flowing through Wisconsin.
It is unfortunate that Ms. Schaber has hitched her wagons to a lobbyist because she has served our state well.
Please, whatever happens, putting Nation Consulting in charge of the Democratic Party would be a death knell to the party.
All of the people running, I appreciate that they are. I also believe that the Democratic party has to be a big tent party. I also understand that party purity is hard to find in terms of candidates and members, however we need it in our chair.
Finally the team that I support and fully endorse:
Joe Wineke/Dottie LeClair:
Joe Wineke used to be party chair and last time he was in control, the Democrats had both houses and the Governor. My how things have fallen.
I know one of the biggest complaints is that Mr. Wineke brought Nation into the Democratic party and was a lobbyist for AT&T. While everyone makes mistakes, hopefully we know enough now about Nation Consulting that they will be blackballed from the Democratic party and all Democratic candidates. I know I personally will not send a nickel to any candidate that hires them.
As for the lobbyist gig, let me address that. I have always, and still do, hold the profession of lobbying, slightly below ambulance chasers and snake handlers. That being said, Mr. Wineke was taking no salary at the time as head of the party(people need to make money, so the chair should take a salary) and everyone needs to make money. Secondly, while it was not the best move in the world, after getting some pressure, he resigned his position.
Let me say that again. After getting pressure from the people in the party, he actually listened and resigned his position.
Had our last "leader" actually listened to the people in the party we might be in a different position right now.
In the end, it is results that speak to me and it is undeniable(while I understand Wineke does not get full credit) that when he was in charge of the party, Democrats won elections.
That is enough for me and I urge the people who signed up to be delegates(and who actually get to vote) to vote for Joe Wineke/Dottie LeClair ticket!
Some more on Joe Wineke:
Here he is on Sly
Here he is again on Sly discussing the party chair position
A Q & A session with his local paper
A Blogging Blue interview
Dave Zweifel of the Capital Times, take on Joe
One last thing, the last time I joined the Democratic Party was the day the Senators left Wisconsin to slow down the fast tracked Walker anti-worker agenda. After that year, I let me party membership lapse because it seemed like once they came back to WI, they stopped representing us. If Joe Wineke wins the party chair election, I will join the party the following Monday.