By Joshua Skolnick
It's way past time we take this thing off the blocks, take the engine out of mothballs, and take 'er for another spin. Stay tuned for another We are reviving Sustainable Walworth with our 2016 State Assembly endorsements, which the local paid media wouldn't bother to print. And let's not talk falsely now for the hour is getting late - therefore up on our blog. MAKE SURE YOU VOTE TOMORROW.
The quality of the environment in Walworth County is critical to our county’s tourism based economy. Without healthy clear lakes, forests, and rolling farmland for future generations, the county will lose much of its economic base and jobs. From Lake Geneva to the Kettle Moraine, our county has irreplaceable environmental resources that must be protected, and not exploited by a select few and the politicians who want to enable them. Clean water, clean air and clean local food benefit everyone and shouldn’t be a partisan issue.
In the not so distant past, protecting the environment was a priority in Wisconsin for everyone including both major political parties. Wisconsin was once an innovator and a pioneer in environmental protection, nurturing such thinkers and doers as John Muir, Aldo Leopold, John Curtis and Gaylord Nelson. Wisconsin had such firsts as holistic scientific wildlife management to protect entire ecosystems, restoring prairie, and heightening ecological awareness through Earth Day. As recently as 2001, a Republican governor, Scott McCallum, signed bipartisan legislation to increase the protection of isolated wetlands, left unprotected under Federal law.
Unfortunately, the environment has now become a partisan issue, thanks to the advent of single party rule in Madison. Walworth County’s incumbent state Assembly representatives, Tyler August (District 32) and Amy Loudenbeck (District 31), have backed an agenda that is failing our environment. In recent legislative sessions they both voted to allow privatization of municipal water supplies, reduce the ability of local governments to protect their unique resources which has allowed developers and resource extractors free reign to exploit sensitive lands, allowed lake bottom dredging on public trust property by private property owners, and finally weakened shoreland zoning protections, which degrades the crown jewels of our local economy, our clear and clean lakes and their unique natural buffers. Much of this anti environmental legislation approved by the incumbents was rammed through quickly with little public debate in the course of a week in Madison. I witnessed that opaque process.
This anti-environmental voting record in the 2016 state legislative session earned both August and Loudenbeck the dubious distinction of a zero rating from the non-partisan Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. However we can make a change on November 8, 2016 to protect our environment by electing Christine Welcher to our 32nd Assembly District and Clinton Anderson to the 31st. Christine and Clinton understand environmental protection and have been endorsed by state and local environmental groups. Christine is an organic farmer who understands the importance of protecting our food and water supply, and restoring local control so that the units of government closest to the people, can protect local lakes, farms, and forests. Similarly Clinton realizes that we have a common interest in protecting environmental resources that benefit everybody, instead of exploited for the gain of out of state resource industries such as Aqua America which benefit from privatizing water supplies for profit, and which provide canned legislation to the incumbents on their behalf.
To learn more here are our candidate's web sites:
Also of interest, great candidates who have some overlap along the boundaries of the county. We endorse all of these folks:
http://andymitchellforassembly.com/ Andy Mitchell (63rd Assembly District Burlington, along the east/northeast edge of Walworth)
http://ameejanus.com/ Amee Janus - along south/east edge of Walworth, 61st Assembly District (Kenosha County)
https://www.donvruwinkforassembly.com/ Don Vruwink, 43rd Assembly, including a bit of the northwest corner of Walworth County and town of Whitewater.
https://www.facebook.com/Brandon-White-for-State-Assembly-33rd-District-459871994219650/Brandon White, Assembly District 33, parts of the extreme northcentral and northeast parts of Walworth County.
The #ALEC apparatchik Greedy One Party rule needs to come to an end in Madison, beginning now. Good luck tomorrow to all these folks, who are ready to make Wisconsin a pioneer in environmental sustainability once again!