There isn’t much mystery in for whom I will be voting on June 5th in the Senate Race... And being so – HOLY COW – amazingly close to Election Day, I would be remiss to pass up this opportunity to lay out my motivations and reasoning for choosing John Lehman and why I think you should do the same. (P.S. It has nothing to do with being cool just like me…that is merely an added benefit.)
As you can see in one of the photos with this piece – I have been a John Lehman supporter for quite a long time. And his loss in the last election was a painful one. However, we have dusted off and Van Wanggaard generously provided us with more ammunition (ironically) and inspiration to get this thing done.
Let’s just go over a couple bullet points, shall we?
Divided We Still Stand…in Heels – John Lehman co-authored a bill in 2009 which created an easier path for women to seek justice when discriminated against in the workplace. As it stands today, women in Wisconsin typically get paid 77.8 cents to the dollar what men earn. And while there is a federal bill to act as protection for this purpose; the law repealed by Republicans (Van Wanggaard being the final vote) made justice more attainable by using circuit court instead of federal court. The federal path is much more costly and difficult. And really, we have to ask ourselves, why repeal a bill which was doing no harm or costing any money? Aside from more divisive strategies, there was no reason to waste legislative time on repealing the Pay Equity Bill.
Creepy, Van, Just Creepy – Well, this is a recent development that even the biggest pessimists may not have anticipated. Perhaps you have yet to hear about a recent mailing delivered to the voters in Lehman’s district. Some may call the mailing racist as it depicts the unfortunately popularized (by the Trayvon Martin case) hoodie scene. Most would have to agree that is pure fear mongering. And whether people are saying it or not, the ad is nothing more than a disgusting attempt at using dishonest distraction. I realize Wanggaard’s campaign didn’t flip the switch on this ad. However, he was given several opportunities in the press and at the debates to disavow the material – he chose, instead, to support it. Classy.
Hello? Is There Anyone Listening? – One of John’s greatest assets is his incomparable accessibility. I mean, the guy publishes his home phone number on his campaign literature! We, as constituents, so often feel ignored by those hired to serve US. Van ignored many voters in late 2011 and early 2012. Letters, phone calls…even showing up to his office may have gotten you some Starksy and Hutch action. He simply did not want to make himself available to those with questions and concerns. When John says he is there for us, he really means it. When Van says it, “us” really means big donors and corporate interests.
That’s Not MY Job – I don’t think anyone can deny that one of the most evident causes for the loss of American jobs is the fact they are being shipped overseas. John Lehman did his part in attempting to stop those policies with his authoring of The American Jobs Act. Yet the pursuit by Wanggaard and his ilk to attract hopeful employers is with promises of deregulation, legislative paybacks and selling off our own backyards. Van often pats himself of the back for this smokescreen they are touting as "job creation." But I have to ask…how many of these jobs for which they are boasting were actually due to the President’s stimulus package or even on the schedule prior to the new administration? How many are actual living wage jobs? How many are seasonal or temporary?
Star Tech – Yep, there has been a lot of back patting lately (how’s that shoulder, Van?) He loves to speak about his authoring a Tech Ed High School Diploma Bill. But I have heard from several different reliable sources that RUSD and Gateway were already working on a similar program (without the need for legislation) before Van went along with party lines and voted to cut funding to Gateway by 33 percent and public education by billions. After that, the planning for the program ceased and Van was able to gallop in on his horse with flowing cape and take all the credit for this idea himself. Superhero? I think not.
A Mind is a Terrible Thing to…Defund – Last, but certainly not least, is the stark contrast in how Lehman and Wanggaard approach education. Lehman, as a parent and former teacher, values the concept of public schools and what they do to build our communities. Wanggaard has shown us that his priorities are different as he has given $2.3 billion in tax breaks to corporations and the very wealthy. Van recently stated in his debates that contrary to popular belief, RUSD was doing swimmingly. Yea, sure…if you are swimming in the Hudson.
He brags that because of tools (ugh) the budget provided, RUSD actually has four additional teachers this year. This tidbit of info has been naggin’ at me. Four additional teachers? Well, it led me to wonder, how many more special needs students this year? How many aids and assistants were let go? How many full time teachers had hours cut down to part time? I know that almost 100 Educational Assistants were let go. This is a huge blow to the classrooms where they are needed most. And I know that Special Needs teachers are being overwhelmed. But by all means, Van, send the money to private schools that can pick and choose their students, not be held accountable by comparable testing and have educators who are not necessarily qualified. Sorry, but your “four more teachers” really doesn’t make up for all of that.
Do our community a huge service and please vote for John Lehman on June 5.