One of the key takeaways for anyone following Wisconsin politics these last few years, has noticed how petty the Republicans can be in Wisconsin. One of the pettiest of all, is Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald, and his latest stunt might have taken the cake.
Scott Fitzgerald recently came up with the idea, which he then fast tracked in the Senate, where he came up with and fast tracked a bill that says you can not serve in the Assembly and also be a county executive.
Full disclosure, I actually think its a good idea, not sure how someone can serve two full time elected positions(although I still believe that the WI legislature should be a part time job), but that is up to the voters to decide. If they feel so little of the job you are doing as a County executive, and want to also send you to the legislature in Madison also, so be it.
My problem with the bill however, is that it falls into the main category of governing that the Wisconsin legislature has worked under for 6 years - punish your enemies.
Fitzy served over 6 years with Manitowoc County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer and never had a problem with Mr. Z collecting two paychecks or serving both positions. Just last year, Paul Farrow served as Waukesha County Executive and in the Assembly for three month concurrently, to no complaints from Fitzgerald.
Now that Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is the front runner for Senate District 18, Fitzgerald passed a law making it illegal to hold both positions.
On a 19-13 vote, senators approved SB 707, which would bar anyone from simultaneously serving as a legislator and county executive. That measure is aimed at a Senate run by Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a Democrat seeking the seat being given up by Sen. Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac).At least Fitzgerald is in such a gerrymandered district that he admits he is doing it just to be petty.
Fitzgerald said Harris' run brought such questions to the forefront."I know people are going to say there is a political piece to this, and there is," he said.Ziegelbauer even weighed in on how ridiculous this is:
Ziegelbauer often sided with Republicans and quit the Democratic Party near the end of his Assembly tenure but was harsh in his assessment of the GOP-backed bill.
"It's for partisan purposes and it's a cheap shot for one particular candidate," Ziegelbauer said.Even Republican friendly Wisconsin State Journal weighed in against it:
Fitzgerald’s real motive is preserving his political power. He wants to continue to run the state Senate with a comfortable GOP majority. And the Democrats’ best shot at gaining a seat is the 18th District, though the Democrats would need to pick up a total of three seats to claim majority control.
Fitzgerald’s argument that there ought to be a law is weak for a conservative who, in theory, should favor limited government intervention. Fitzgerald should wait until a problem actually exists before worrying about a top-down solution
The best part of this whole bill though, is that after spending the majority of the year campaigning for President, and blowing $7 MILLION dollars doing so, Scott Walker weighed in with incredible irony deficiency
Gov. Scott Walker, a former Milwaukee County executive, was noncommittal about the bill when asked about it last week, but he brought up points raised by supporters.“Whether there’s a bill or not, I think it’s a legitimate question to ask how someone could possibly serve in both,” Walker said.