Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Petri Won't Endorse Grothman - BFD

This is a BFD. The 6th Congressional District, while it may lean Republican, does have a healthy group of older voters who take a lot of direction from Rep. Petri's decisions.

Today, Rep. Petri noted that he won't endorse State Sen. Glenn Grothamn, the Republican, who is running to take his place.
From the FDL Reporter, a quote from the Representative:
"Why would I endorse a person who has said that if in two years people said he was 'just like Petri' he would be insulted?" Petri said. "I don't want to smother him with love or anything like that."
Later, I think we can read some tea-leaves with respect to how Winnebago Co. Exec. Mark Harris wants to debate in all counties of the 6th CD:
As for Grothman's comments, Petri falls back on his old habit of turning the other cheek. 
"Grothman said if the GOP turns down the path Petri did, he will go against it," Petri said. "I always feel you want to reach out and work with people — that has been my approach to both parties." 
'Fine job' by Harris 
He said Harris has done "a fine job" as county executive. 
To his long-time constituents, Petri suggests the best way to get a sense of each candidate is to view them in person at political debates. 
"We have a tradition of having debates in each of the counties in the district and this is healthy and helpful," he said. "Rather than looking at ads and reading second-hand accounts, go see for yourself and ask candidates questions in a forum setting, in real time."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sabbatical

You've probably noticed a lack of posting on here over the last few days.

It's not unintentional.

I have a lot to reevaluate right now in life, and that means not dedicating time to writing on here in the present.

I love the platform that this blog has given me, the outlet that it has been for venting on the news I read, and directing people towards what I feel they should know about. While I will return soon in some limited fashion, right now I need to take a break.

So don't remove me from your blogroll. Don't think, "awe shucks I'm going to miss him." I'm not disappearing off the face of the earth. I just have a lot to sort through right now, and spending part of my evening writing on here doesn't fit into my sorting process.

Solidarity for now. Thanks for all the kind wishes. I promise to write the week of the election at the latest.

- Soapbox

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let's Sidebar From Wisconsin For a Moment...

Sometimes in Wisconsin, we are insane with out politics.

Yes, pre-2011 I would've thought otherwise, but in the Scott Walker world, our politics are insane.

However, in tonight's Florida Gubernatorial Debate between Gov. Rick Scott and Gov. Charlie Christ, the following happened. Gov. Scott decided to not appear because Gov. Christ had a fan on stage.

You can't make this stuff up:



However, what this moment does allow me to do is show, one more time, the absolutely insane moment from another Florida politician, Sen. Marco Rubio:




Moraine Park's Educators File a Lawsuit Against The School Board

It's landmark time in the lawsuits with respect to 2011 Act 10 in Wisconsin.

I touched upon something peculiar that happened at Moraine Park Technical College this past spring HERE, HERE, and HERE when the technical college board decided to go away from a 2% raise for all employees to offering the teachers only the CPI 1.46% because they recertified their union. 

That's a no-no.

Well this week, the teacher's union filed a lawsuit. And for those of you keeping score at home, this one is going to be precedent setting with respect to how school districts and other public ententes are allowed to give raises to employees who are in a union under 2011 Act 10.

From a letter that was distributed to union members this week:



The "Timeline of Events" on the 2nd page is crucial.

Notice how the board discussed on April 16th, during the middle of recertification, giving all employees a 2% raise but will only give 1.46% if they recertify. You can't do that. It's election tampering, it's prohibited practice by an employer, and it's intimidation.

And yet the board freely discussed their decision in a meeting with union representatives sitting in the audience like it was no big deal.

I'm actually quite shocked how spot-on I was with my June posting on this matter saying that that union would likely file a lawsuit. In fact, that posting pretty-much goes point-by-point with a news article that occurred when employees were first made aware of the board did and why they did.

From that posting, where it talks about the board announcing the change of 2% to 1.46% if the teacher recertified while splicing in quotes from an FDL Reporter article:
Announcing a change like that in the middle of an election period is shenanigans. Not to mention, not couth with present law.
The Board’s attorney John St. Peter said at the meeting that the union’s interpretation of the law was correct. 
Yes folks, the Moraine Park Board's attorney agreed with the union's interpretation of the law. But that didn't matter, they did what they wanted anyway and retired into closed session. 
While discretionary raises are an option, it was not something that the college’s Board chose to do, said Kathy Borske, MPTC vice president of human resources. 
Board Chair Richard Zimman of West Bend said the Board would not respond to the issue at the meeting, but did make the following statement in an email: 
“State law prohibits any negotiations — or anything which resembles or could be construed as negotiations — between the teacher’s union and the college (administration and board) on any topic other than base wages as restricted by the CPI cap. The board and administration are prohibited from engaging in any non-base wage compensation discussions with the teacher’s union either publicly or privately, and we are following that law.”
Except for, Moraine Park already budgeted the 2% increase for all employees in their budget and were never asked by the union to do so. Additionally, while there are tight limits on things related to bargaining with 2011 Act 10, Chair Zimman is essentially saying in this e-mail that the board and union cannot ever discuss anything because it could be construed as negotiations. That's flat out false. Administration and unions can meet at any time, on any topic, to meet and confer on issues.
This is precedent-setting stuff folks, at all levels.

No matter what happens in 19 days with the election, 2011 Act 10 will still be law for the foreseeable future. This lawsuit will likely drag out for a long while after this, but the case of the teachers seems very rock-solid. 2011 Act 10 does nothing to restrict what employers offer to employee units, and discussing openly giving lower raises to a group of employees if they recertify their union is long-standing prohibited practice.

Let's see where this goes and when it will finally break statewide.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Recent 3rd Party TV Ads In The Gubernatorial Race

So, in case you haven't figured this out yet, the debate last week opened the floodgates for third-party groups in trying to support either Scott Walker or Mary Burke.

A prime example? The Greater Wisconsin Committee is going HEAVY against walker and trying to extend that gender-gap with women breaking for Mary Burke:



Sure, there is still that whole federal law about equal pay, but good luck actually getting your employer to comply if you feel you've been wronged. Hence why the state law was created and put in place, and no, it's not like it was something that was ravaging businesses. The only reason it was done was to make it easier for business to turn the screws on their workers with them having fewer options of recourse. (Sounds like a familiar trend with the Governor.)

I wonder what tomorrow's Marquette University Law School Poll will tell us...

Today's Gubernatiorial Candidate TV Ad's

Jake and I have been harping on it since June 2012. Craig Gilbert and the Journal-Sentinel finally got on board over the last year.

And now today we finally see the candidates for Governor of the America's Daryland finally release TV ads that relate to farmers.

And to think we have a new Marquette University Law School poll coming out tomorrow...

The Governor today released two new ads. The first centers on Mary Burke hammering him on how jobs numbers have sucked under his tutelage and how she supposedly drove out all those high-paying manufacturing jobs. (Umm, news flash - 2008 financial collapse, off-shoring, automation, all things that have been happening for years.)



I find it funny that this is set in a relatively dark "shop" with a welder and torch that are more reminiscent of manufacturing jobs of 50 years ago as opposed to the majority of high-paying jobs that are related to automation, technology, and in shops that look considerably different than those of yesteryear.

Plus, is anyone ever going to tell the governor that manufacturing jobs of $10-15 per hour are NOT high-paying jobs. $30,000 a year is not high paying...

Then again, this is coming form someone who just today said that he doesn't believe the minimum wage serves any purpose...

His second ad though circles back as a response to the Greater Wisconsin Committee ad that debuted this weekend. It focuses on farming and rural voters and is audio only, meaning that those who are in the tractor are more likely to hear it. (Highway 21-29 Corridor voters)



Just know that when they say "family farms" they mean large mega-farms that are owned by a single family and have the muscle to force the DNR to change groundwater regulations. Oh, and don't even get me started with the recent rash of manure spills.

As for Mary Burke, well she obviously got some cash-influx, because her ad titled "red barn" is a full minute long:



It touches on many of the same themes that have been hallmarks of hers since she launched her campaign - Founding of Trek as a family business, her growing the European sales, her time as Commerce Secretary, it's all there. (Funny that she manages to point out that there were 50,000 more jobs when she was in office as opposed to right now...)

It really is a "closer" type of ad. Focusing on all the positives she brings to the table and selling herself to the voters as an alternative to Walker. The ad is probably her best yet, because it's conveying the message, don't just vote against Scott Walker, vote FOR me.

Please, please, please run this as often as possible in Green Bay, Wausau, Eau Claire, Superior, and La Crosse.

Of course, that ad wouldn't be complimented if it wouldn't also have a quick little 20-second, what looks like a "Internet" ad that repeats over and over Walker's claim from last Friday's debate that "We don't have a jobs problem" in Wisconsin:



Let's see where this goes after this Friday's debate and the Governor's comments today to the Journal-Sentinel:



He doesn't think the minimum wage serves a purpose? Wow... Out of touch with the 20th Century is more like it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

FDL Superintendent - "No Comment," Except When He Does

Oh Fond du Lac... How you sometimes just can't get a break with your school system.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim Sebert was put on the defensive right away today in his monthly interview on WFDL's "Between the Lines w/Greg Stensland." To say he was perturbed would be an understatement.

To listen to the interview, CLICK HERE. 

A little background.

Former soccer coach, longtime employee, newspaper contributor, and well known community member Greg Winkler left his job with the district at the end of September to take a job coaching and teaching in Florida. A combination of factors lead to this decision, but one of the overarching reasons why he was looking at leaving as soon as he did was related to the climate of teaching right now in Fond du Lac at the high school and a feeling that soccer was being relegated to a "second tier" sport.

These issues were first brought to "public" light in an interview he did last week with Greg Stensland, which can be heard HERE. 

I've covered the issue of teacher morale several times over the last few years, mostly tied to the "Cardinal Columns" having draconian policies imposed on it for prior-review before publication. However, I've also touched on the state of teacher morale when longtime teachers got screwed in the new post-contract teacher compensation scale. Oh, and then there's that little fact that I started this blog after I wasn't afforded the opportunity to interview for not one, but two open positions at the high school for which I was already filling in long-term for. Turns out, when the new football coach was hired, every open position at the school was "up for grabs" for them to bring in offensive line, defensive line, secondary special teams coordinators, flanker specialists, and any other coaching position imaginable.


Which brings us back to Greg Winkler, and his retirement. Even though he hadn't officially met the age 55 requirement from the district for his benefit, (he was less than 9 months short) he noted that one of those football coaches who came in when I was unceremoniously not hired on, was able to negotiate his own special contract. In that contract, it gave him a benefit that long-term employees would've been unable to attain in the same manner, 8 years post-retirement health insurance. To put proof in the pudding, he even got proof of the contract the school board approved.

And it is with that background information where Mr. Stensland's interview of the Superintendent begins - with Mr. Stensland asking about Mr. Winkler's interview on the program last week and his situation in feeling (and rightfully so) disrespected by the district he served for 24 years.

I find it funny that a topic which was brought up off the air, and requested to not be talked about, was discussed anyway. (I wonder how much of a doghouse Stensland will be put in for doing that.)

The Superintendent automatically deflects the question, either not trying to accelerate the story forward or trying to cling to the illusion that things are all peaches n' cream at the high school. The real reason why the superintendent won't get into a discussion about individual employee benefits (something that is search-able via a Freedom of Information Act request) is because he knows he's in a sling. It's the same situation that happened with teachers who were mid-stream of their careers were under a pay-freeze and yet new-hire teachers (Read: Football coaches) were allowed to count years of service in other districts when signing their own teaching handbooks.

The Superintendent has been found to not be treating long-term employees with respect time and time again, but doesn't want anyone to call him out on it.

He's also likely worried that community members will start asking questions about why certain employees (football coaches) who've dedicated, at this point, only three years of service to the the school system are being given more gracious benefits that other employees (coaches) who've given almost a quarter-century and already have a proven track record of success.

Hmmm... So, is Greg Winkler right? Is football being given preferential treatment at Fondy High over other sports? Were coaches of football (and has anyone checked the new basketball coaches?) allowed to negotiate better contracts than coaches of other sports like soccer, or more specifically girls soccer? What's going on at Fondy High in their athletics department?

This reminds me of what happened this past spring when the longtime Fond du Lac Girls Basketball coach was "let go" from his coaching duties while still retaining his teaching position. Doug Follis was a very long-time and successful coach for the Fondy program. Then, seemingly randomly, he loses his coaching position? What did Sup. Sebert say about that situation?

Unfortunately the link to the audio of that month's interview is no longer available, but THIS short news-blurb on WFDL's blog sums it up: 
The longtime Fond du Lac High School girls basketball coach is out. The school district athletic director says Doug Follis is no longer the head coach, but is not giving a reason why. Follis’ departure comes about a month after Adam Zakos resigned as the Fondy High boys basketball coach. Follis was the head coach of the girls’ varsity team for 14 years.
Needless to say the audio was a short statement about it being a personnel decision and that nothing more was going to be said. I have sadly distinct memories about how curt it sounded.

My bet - Mr. Follis decided that being a long-term employee and seeing the ungodly amount of resources being poured into the football program was just too much for him to handle, so he let someone have a piece of his mind. I have no knowledge of what really happened with this situation, but at this point, little would surprise me of what long-term employees of the FDL District would do or say.

As THIS other blog-item from WFDL last April points out, the issue of discontent among employees has been an ongoing issue since last school year:
As the Fond du lac school board reviews a new teacher compensation plan some teachers are concerned about what they say are salary inequities between longtime employees and new hires. At last week’s school board meeting, special education teacher Shannon Ferguson aired her concerns. Her husband is a second grade teacher at Riverside Elementary. Ferguson says at the start of the school year there were 60 new staff hired. "To me that's a red flag, coupled with the vast amount of people who have also left the district in the two years prior to that," Ferguson told the school board. "I feel the district is at a critical time and I truly fear that more and more teachers will be leaving to seek employment with other districts." Superintendent Dr. Jim Sebert says the compensation plan is designed to treat everyone equitably and to be sustainable into the future. "To give everyone a raise from where they are at, to put them on a three year evaluation cycle and also provides a professional development stipend every three years for $1500. That, combined with the fact that it is sustainable for the Fond du Lac School District I think are the important pieces of the new compensation plan." Sebert says teachers leaving the district is not unique to Fond du lac.
Quote, "teachers leaving the district is not unique to Fond du Lac." Let's remember that...

Because, it's the EXACT same reason Sup. Sebert gives in today's interview when asked about a charge from Mr. Winkler about a large number of departures from the high school after the last three school years and teachers leaving because they don't feel they are being treated fairly by the district.

Sup. Sebert says that teacher mobility is happening "across the board" and puts much of it back on 2011 Act 10. He says that after about five years of teaching in a district, you wouldn't have the opportunity to move to another district and make the same amount of money as you were in the district you started in.

I cannot begin to tell you the utter line of BS that is being sold on people with that.

Sure, teachers after about five years had little reason to try and move from district to district, but it wasn't for the reasons being described by Dr. Sebert. Teachers often times decided that it wasn't worth trying to leave their job when everyone was on relatively equal footing across the state and salaries were not anywhere near as far out of whack as they are now when it comes to cost of living and overall compensation when factoring issues like health insurance. In fact, the primary reason for choosing to stay in a district and not "shop around" related to post-retirement insurance benefits and accumulation of things like sick-time to use as a post-retirement payout.

All that even being said, there were still PLENTY of teachers who moved districts in the "contract" era for all the same reasons that the superintendent mentioned about why we are seeing more movement now. Plus, contrary to what the superintendent says, nothing about 2011 Act 10 makes young teachers look closer to their hometowns or to get out of their first district because of better opportunities. (On the contrary, my hometown apparently wanted nothing to do with my skills...) All the reasons why teachers left rural districts before 2011 are still in place, but only are now exacerbated by suburban districts having more funding and a greater ability to offer more generous compensation packages. The same would, in theory, hold true for districts where test scores are high and ample resources are available for both teachers and students. The only place you see mass-losses of teachers are places like West Allis-West Milwaukee where discontent is extremely high and administration at some level doesn't seem to care. 

I personally think that jumping district, to district, to district, really is a short-term phenomena where the dust is still settling from having such en-mass retirements hit the system over a number of years. More and more I think that people who will leave teaching jobs aren't people moving district to district, but as the Superintendent says, are people who leave and move to other lines of work.

It's interesting how at the end of the discussion about the Fond du Lac School District's climate Sup. Sebert tries to tread lightly about teachers who aren't as motivated to continually climb the ladder and run the rat-race he seems to be championing. He also alludes to the fact that some of what people are expressing in frustration is how education has changed and how those changes have happened incredibly rapidly. There is probably some truth in that, as I know I'm not entirely thrilled with the direction we are taking with our PUBLIC education system.

However, I also know that how individual districts react to those changes affects how the staff react to those changes as well. The disrespect Mr. Winkler was referring to can be summed-up in the fact that even before the issue of post-retirement benefits came up, there were no members of the Fondy High administration at Coach Winkler's last game. Oh, and that the teachers have been divided over the last year over a randomly imposed censorship policy on a newspaper who's up for major national awards by the National Scholastic Press Association. Oh, and that teachers who were dedicated to the district were not compensated at the same rate as new hires who had equal years of experience teaching. And that there is still the unresolved issue of around $300,000 needed to be paid back to build a giant brick archway to the football field when teachers were being told they had to accept a pay freeze. Lest we forget that there is essentially a revolving door of teachers who are at this point deciding that the toxic environment that has been fostered at the high school isn't worth staying in.

We're talking here about a Division 1 school of 2,000 students and district of 7,000. Yet, the Superintendent doesn't think that high young teacher turnover and veterans leaving because they feel disrespected is a problem? I cannot possibly fathom having been a student in the conditions that exist in Fond du Lac right now. I sure hope the ship gets righted soon.

Once you bleed Fondy Cardinal red, it's impossible to not want to see you alma mater succeed. Sadly, right now it's dark days in the halls of Fondy High.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Greater Wisconsin Committee Reads The Marquette Poll and Reads Craig Gilbert Too

Look no further than recent news reports about Gov. Walker having incremental, yet important growth in the last Marquette University Law School Poll in parts of Western and Northern Wisconsin.

That's farm country.

It doesn't take illegal coordination for any third-party company to figure out that if that's where the candidate you back is coming up short, you should sink some resources in that area. So, the Greater Wisconsin Committee has just put out a new ad which touches on those down-on-the-farm bread and butter issues of Wisconsinites that are outside the rim counties and the Madison beltline:

The Money Starts Flowing

Another, "I haven't seen that ad yet but it's already a week old" scenario.

This one is from the "Right Direction Wisconsin PAC," which is really just the Republican Governor's Association, and focuses on the faux scandal of Mary Burke's "plagiarism."



What does seeing this ad tell me now? It says that the RGA is starting to really dump in money if I'm seeing it in Milwaukee.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Oh The Things You Miss Living In The Milwaukee TV Market

You miss so much living in the Milwaukee TV market.

I miss the ability to watch both Green Bay and Milwaukee TV when I lived in Fond du Lac. You get such a more vivid picture of where the spending is happening and what it actually looks like with respect to TV ads.

Two ads that I just saw tonight while watching Green Bay TV that I have not seen in the Milwaukee market are good examples.

First, is an ad that's already almost a week old from the NRA:



Can we get a check on whether or not she actually did testify across the whole state?

Then, I saw the FIRST ad of the year by the WMC Issues Mobilization Council. It's curiously late in the game for the WMC to be getting into the race, but I find it incredibly funny that I haven't seen this ad in Milwaukee:



Again, all the more reason to really remember that the echo-chamber we live in with our media is important when trying to gain perspective on how this race is playing out across Wisconsin.

Again today when driving across Milwaukee I was awe-struck by the literal sea of Mary Burke signs lining lawns in the inner-city. I also saw a bunch of my fellow-workers hitting doors today and making voter contacts.

On the road up to the Fox Valley, it was funny how I didn't see anywhere near the Scott Walker signs I did in 2012. That says nothing about how Gov. Walker will perform in that region on Nov. 4th (yard signs don't vote, only make people feel better), but it is something to keep an eye on with respect to how people are "energized."

NARAL's "Honest" TV Ad

I've been insanely busy the last few days.

I will be honest with you, a great deal of that time has been trying to recoup and relax a little after so many long days at school. (Yes, I was there for two and a half hours today)

However, you may have missed the latest TV ad that just started airing around the state by NARAL. The abortion topic was certainly one of the more interesting ones last night in the debates, and I'm sure as we keep moving on it will be more and more a topic of discussion.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Today's TV Commercials

It's been a LONG day with parent-teacher conferences. I'll be right back at it tomorrow.

So, for today, let's look at the new TV commercials that Gov. Walker and Mary Burke put out today:

First, Gov. Walker goes back to the whole "plagiarizm" charge, trying to keep this supposed story in the news. (They are also apparently trying to bring back the dot-matrix printer):



What kills me is that these "facts" aren't really all that factual.

Now, for Burke's new ad. She goes back to her base as well. Tax breaks for millionaires, virtually nothing for the middle class:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

John Nichols Nails It Again - I Call It The 21-29 Corridor

I've labeled it the "21-29 Corridor" since I pulled a Mary Burke and "plagiarized" from Jake at the Economic TA Funhouse back in June 2012. And today in his column for the CapTimes, John Nichols essentially says what Jake and I've been saying for three years now - WORK THE GUT!

Here's what I said back then when dissecting why Tom Barrett lost the recall election and focusing on Outagamie County. (It was the sixth post I ever wrote...): 
Jake pretty much makes most of the points I was going to in his last two posts: here andhere. But, this is what I found to be most interesting and definitely worth a little more investigation:

The other lesson to be learned from the vote swings- the Dems need to become a 72-county party. They have lost the Hwy. 29 corridor and the Northeastern part of the state. The DPW already is good at getting the boots on the ground and voters out in Milwaukee and Madison, but they need to take that same attitude to the rest of the state to get back a lot of the voters they have lost in those areas since 2008.
Amen brother! Hits the nail on the head! I would actually argue that it's not just the "Hwy 29 Corridor" but really more of a "Hwy 21 -29 Corridor". Now, Jake only looks at the 2008 Presidential Election and the 2010 and 2012 Gubernatorial Elections, but I wanted to take it a step further back and look at the 2006 Governor's Race.



Imagine those returns June 6th! That's what I term the "21-29 Corridor": all the counties that touch or are between Highway 21 stretching from Oshkosh to La Crosse, and Highway 29 from Green Bay to River Falls.
Well, I've graduated from simple paint-created maps and become just a touch more in-tuned with politics since those humble blogging beginnings when those words were written in 2012. But the facts remain - The 21-29 Corridor is where the 2014 Gubernatorial Election will be won.

John Nichols' article never explicitly gives it a name like Jake and I have, but you know it's what he's talking about in his second point on what Mary Burke needs to do:
The second factor that Burke and her backers must recognize is that she is polling poorly in some areas where Democrats have historically run well. Burke's numbers in Milwaukee are solid (she's up 69-24), just as Walker's are in the Milwaukee suburbs. Burke's strong in the Madison area (advantage: 66-31). And she's running credibly in the Green Bay/Fox Valley region, with 43 percent to Walker's 52 percent. But her numbers in the rest of the state are weak: 39 percent to Walker's 58 percent. 
I'll tell you right now, if you drive around parts of north Milwaukee, there is a Burke sign every 2nd or 3rd house. (Not that a lot of Wisconsinites would ever DARE driving down Roosevelt or Burleigh so they would even know.)

However, Nichols is right with what the poll numbers bare out. While Burke does appear to have some more support than Barrett, especially in the Madison TV market region, she needs to do more in that "21-29 Corridor."
Those numbers should alarm Burke and her aides, as the Democrat cannot win simply by running up big totals in Milwaukee and Madison and hoping for the best elsewhere. That didn't close the deal for Democrat Tom Barrett in 2010, or in the 2012 recall election, and it won't be enough this year. 
It's conventional wisdom that's been regurgitated again, and again, and again... Drive up the vote totals in Milwaukee & Dane for Democrats, the WOW counties for Republicans. Problem is... it doesn't work. You need to maximize the vote totals outside there. I keep showing this graphic from the Wisconsin State Journal for a reason. Look at the counties it highlighted that Walker was able to maximize in the recall. TWO that flipped were in my "Corridor." Then, look at those big red circles in the Fox Valley for Walker, the little black dots in the west for Barrett, and you can see why we say this is where the race will be won:

Back to Nichols:
Most of the counties in western Wisconsin that traditionally vote Democratic (at least in presidential races) backed Walker in June 2012. Across northern Wisconsin, counties where election finishes are often close broke heavily for Walker. That was the end of the story for the governor's recall race that year, but not for Democrats in general.
In November 2012, both Tammy Baldwin and Barack Obama swept western Wisconsin and carried much of the north. In so doing, they brought many Democratic-leaning counties back into the partisan fold. 
More maps.. starting with 2002 Gubernatorial, 2004 Presidential, 2006 Gubernatorial:










2008 Presidential, 2010 Gubernatorial, and a map where each candidate gained in the 2012 Recall:
Just look at where Gov. Walker gained in 2012 over 2010 and you can see where Mary Burke needs to be working more. Heaven help us west of US 51 and north of Wis 21! Back to the article:
Baldwin extended her reach to other, more traditionally Republican counties as well. The Democrat from Madison carried the majority of Wisconsin's 72 counties against a popular Republican, former Gov. Tommy Thompson. 
Even where she did not win, Baldwin absolutely held her own even in Republican-friendly regions — finishing in the mid-40s or better in dozens of rural counties, where she had worked hard to connect with strong messages about investing in rural development, preserving small-town schools, and adopting fair trade policies that benefit family farmers. 
Don't be surprised to see a Mary Burke farm/country style ad soon. Also, she would be wise to focus on rural school funding a LOT during the debate this Friday.
The exit polling from the 2012 Senate race showed that Baldwin won 68 percent of the urban vote — roughly the same percentage as Burke is polling in Milwaukee and Madison. But Baldwin also won 45 percent of the rural vote — a good deal stronger percentage than Burke appears to be attracting after a review of various 2014 polls. 
What's the difference between Mary Burke and Tammy Baldwin?

Well first, Scott Walker is a lot different than Tommy Thompson. But, there's little reason why these two ladies should have radically different polling numbers in rural areas. Hey folks, I think we found those "Obama-Walker" voters.
In the month leading up to the 2014 election, Mary Burke will be pulled in many directions. But if she wants to prevail on Nov. 4 she is going to have to do more than merely maximize her base vote in urban areas. To win, she has to make a stronger connection with the rural, small-town and small-city voters who contributed significantly to the Democratic margin of victory in 2012 and who, presumably, could do so again in 2014.
She needs to be wearing the pavement down doing the circuit from Manitiwoc, to Wausau, to Eau Claire, Hudson, La Crosse, Thoma, Adams, Oshkosh, Appleton, and back to Manitowoc.

Throw in a few side-bars to Madison, Milwaukee, Superior, Rhinelander, and I damn well bet we can win this thing.

WE. CAN. WIN. THIS. THING!

Penny For Your Thoughts?

I think this really does beg the question, why don't more candidates have campaign-songs like the olden-days?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Flashback - June 12, 2013

Abortion has become the hot-button topic on the airwaves in the gubernatorial election.

While Sen. Mike Ellis may not be running this fall, lets not forget that one of the most famous moments of the last session of the legislature came because of SB 206, one of Gov. Walker's abortion bills, in June of 2013.

I covered it HERE, but to refresh your memory, I'll repost the entry in it's entirety:

***

What an early morning eye-opener the Wisconsin State Senate was today.

The only real order of business was the final passage of SB 206, relating to having an ultrasound done prior to an aborting being performed.

The entire period happened in a half-hour, and can be viewed via Wisconsin Eye HERE.

The final few minutes got more than a little heated when after Sen. Mary Lazich offered a speech as a rebuttal to Sen. Kathleen Vinehout's comments that lead off what one would have assumed been a series of speeches made by the minority party. Except, it didn't happen that way.

Here's what unfolded in the final few minutes of the session (Watch the full 3 minutes of the video):


Yikes.

So, what the hell happened? Well, Scott Bauer of the AP's Twitter feed gives us some clues. Apparently, Sen. Fitzgerald wanted to limit debate to 30 minutes and Sen. Larson turned down the offer:

Okay, so why was "SIT DOWN" shouted so loudly to make the gavel's base break? (Yes, really):
Well, apparently Sen. Larson, along with other's, voicing their objection really irked the Speaker:

Remember when on "Up Front" a few weeks ago Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate said he thinks Sen. Ellis is "extremely vulnerable"? Well, they're already starting to use this a fodder in that race, as an e-mail was sent out today with the above picture of Sen. Ellis & the following caption:
But, the Republicans passed their bill anyway, while Senate Democrats were still debating. Senate President Mike Ellis even broke his gavel while silencing the voices of Wisconsinites.
How Democracy was exercised today, while true to the rules, was in no means true to our progressive, Wisconsin tradition. Both sides have practiced it in the recent, but it's not right. Hopefully this outburst helps Democrat's chances in the Fox Valley, as it is an area they need to pick-up to gain Senatorial control in 2014.

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So, where are we at right now with what I talked about a year and a half ago in this post?

Sen. Ellis has decided to retire after essentially hypothesizing the same thing that Gov. Walker is being defended to the death in with John Doe II, which opened up Rep. Penny Bernard-Schaber to have a commanding presence in this district.

How can we possibly forget that this is what Gov. Walker allowed to happen to our legislature only a year ago over abortion legislation that somehow he thinks is all about somehow providing safe-guards?

Kind of fun to remember just how divisive legislation can be that is supposedly all about safety and protection, right?