Sunday, April 10, 2016

Larson Still More Of A Leader Than Abele Ever Will Be

State Senator Chris Larson again has shown why Milwaukee County made a mistake when they did not elect him to be county executive.

On Friday morning, he sent out a gracious, uplifting and empowering thank  you note to his supporters, showing what we, as a grassroots movement, have already done:
I’m writing to say thank you for everything you did to help make this campaign so great.  I appreciate all you did to get the truth out to voters and carry our message of hope.

We may have lost this battle, but it’s clear to me that we have the power and potential to shape the landscape of our county.

I am glad that I ran for county executive. And when I stood up to run, I’m glad you stood up with me. Together, we worked harder than any campaign I have ever been a part of. I didn’t take a day off in over three months and neither did many on our team. We hoped for a better result but, in the end, the inherited wealth of our opponent carried the day.

I’ll be honest, the last couple days have been rough. I worry about the direction things will head in our county without a leader who listens.

But compared to not running for this seat, I’m proud of where we are today. You should be, too.

Together, we pushed a message of hope and change. We talked of our vision where government functions more like a community than one of a profit-motivated business. We stood strong in our commitment to a community where every neighbor has a voice and together, we would invest in a greater good that we wouldn’t be able to achieve on our own. We reminded our neighbors that parks have value in themselves because of the quality of life that can’t be measured in terms of dollars and cents.

Here's what I know: we shifted the conversation about our community. The Chris Abele who won on Tuesday was a very different Chris Abele than the one we started running against six months ago. Because of our campaign, he backed away from every major thing we pointed to as evidence that he was out of touch.
  • Right after we started running, he turned on the voicemail at his office so people could leave a message.
  • He stopped using taxpayer funds to cover his lavish security costs while slashing general public safety.
  • He kept more funding in his budget for homeless shelters.
  • He backed away from the Takeover of our public schools and even went so far as to completely adopt our vision of providing wraparound services in our schools. This isn’t at all what the Takeover language was and he could have done this anytime in the last 5 years. But it didn’t happen until we stepped forward and put pressure on him.
  • After vetoing an earlier version put forth by supervisors and cutting investment, he adopted as his own the Ready to Work legislation that helps bring new workers into the workforce.
  • When pressed at a forum, he made a commitment to find dedicated funding for transit.
  • He held a public hearing after we pointed out his insistence on avoiding the public.
  • He made a commitment to getting workers to a living wage. This, after he vetoed the Living Wage Ordinance in Milwaukee County and even went to Madison to try and preempt it.
  • He vowed not to sell parks, the zoo, the airport, or the museum. This, after he got special authority in secret legislation slipped into the Republican budget that allowed him to do those very things.
  • He backed away from the power grab of getting unilateral policy making authority without the public at the table.
  • He backed away from a bill that would have given him unilateral budgeting authority without the public at the table.
Now that the election is over, it’s up to us to make sure Chris Abele follows through on those promises he made. And while he shifted on just about every major issue we pointed out, I remain steadfast in my commitment to my progressive ideals and standing up for our community.

In the end, his camp couldn’t find much to attack us on so they had to make things up. They ran against a position I held on the Estabrook dam from seven years ago and were even called out by the media for lying in their ad. They made up a banking connection by attacking an LGBT activist and then claimed a bipartisan bill that helped local retailers and had no one against it (including Abele) was suddenly a giveaway to Wall Street. They even attacked us for proposing to carry out a tax plan that passed by public referendum eight years ago and would lower property taxes by making a slight shift to a sales tax.

You know who I am.  Even after a multi-million dollar attack campaign, I’m still the same man you trusted with your support.

I’m proud of the campaign we ran. I’m proud of each of you stepping up with me. We were outspent but not outworked. Together, we changed the conversation in our community. The establishment in town knows we're watching and our movement will only grow from here.

I have a newfound respect for you for standing strong with us against the odds. On election night, we had a room full of friends who knew the playing field was tilted against us by a 20-to-1 imbalance in spending, but who jumped into the fight anyway because it was the right thing to do.

We’re still just getting started. Together, we will stay energized and mobilized to keep the pressure on whenever there is an undemocratic grab for power.

Your Neighbor,

Chris Larson

P.S. To each of you who has called, emailed, texted, or spoken to me with well wishes and offered your thoughts on the race, I appreciate it. I'm soaking it all in and will get back to you soon.
On the other hand, Boss Abele waited until Sunday evening to send out his thank you email. As the gentle reader could imagine, it was rather self-congratulatory and self=serving. Oh, he promised to listen to the people, but that was at the end of the people he listed, meaning don't hold your breath for that to happen.

It also sounded rather Walkeresque, which in itself isn't too surprising, when he put this line in the note:
...Transforming our community to one in which every person is empowered and has the opportunity to thrive isn't someone one person can achieve alone. Every resident, business, faith group and community leader must work together.
When you put that through the conservative -> English translator, it reads "Expect more service cuts and tax hikes to pay for my plutocratic playground."

It is also rather frightening. He would refer to the county board as "his partners," but then cut them at the knees and took away their authority and is trying to grab even more for himself.

But that isn't the only bit of hypocrisy that Abele shared. I almost did a spit take when I read this:
I want to congratulate Senator Larson on his campaign. Running for office is a tough business, and anyone who puts themselves out there deserves nothing less than our respect and gratitude.
Now think back to all the mailers filling up your recycling bin and the endless commercials smearing Larson with flat out lies. Abele doesn't have any respect for himself much less anyone else.

I agree with Larson that I am very apprehensive about Milwaukee County's future.  I sincerely hope that Larson considers another run in 2020 but I hope even more that there's still something to run for.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for everything you did to ensure Abele won the election Charles!!