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Sussex Officials Explain Why They Signed Walker Recall Petitions

Village president, two village trustees and a Hamilton School Board member signed the petition to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Here — in their own words — are what they each have to say about their decision to do so.

With a recently released list that names Wisconsin residents who signed the , Patch took a look at which Sussex government officials jotted their names on the list — as have many of our readers. 

The website iVerifytherecall.com lists every person in Wisconsin who signed a petition across the state, and it's been stirring up some controversy. Multiple Sussex Patch readers sent messages via Facebook, called us and shot over emails after learning that four elected officials signed their names. Because of the outcry, Patch wanted to give the four officials a chance to explain why they signed the petition.

While Village President Greg Goetz decided not to comment to Patch nor any other publication, Pat Tetzlaff, a village trustee, gave her full opinion. In addition, , a member of the Hamilton School Board who is up for re-election on April 3, was happy to comment in hopes of putting the topic to rest.

Finally, Trustee Tim Dietrich said he would prefer to speak with constituents on the phone to give a more in-depth response to concerned residents. 

Here — in their own words — are what the four officials had to say.

Village President Greg Goetz

Signed recall petition Dec. 6
"No comment."

Village Trustee Pat Tetzlaff

Signed Dec. 16
"Before my possible re-election, it's a pretty hard decision to make. The reason I signed it is because I think collective bargaining is a right and a privilege. I think Scott Walker went too far, too deep and too fast. I have nothing against him at all, but I know a lot of teachers, policemen, firemen, and it has really cut into how those families are living their lives.

"I really think everyone should pay into heath care and retirement, but the way he did was a little far. My personal feelings don't enter into the way I vote as a village trustee. I still am a resident and a citizen, and I chose to handle the Walker recall the way I did, and I would do it again."

Village Trustee Tim Dietrich

Signed Nov. 15
"I think if someone wants to know why I did or didn't sign a petition, they need to call me and ask me myself. I really, really don't like the idea of being attacked in the paper when I'm just left out in the open like that without a way to defend myself. If someone wants to know, they should call me, and I would be very happy to explain and answer any questions they might have."

Dietrich's phone number as listed on the village website is (262) 246-4300.

Hamilton School Board member Lynn Kristensen

Signed Dec. 2
"I believe signing a petition is a private issue and that every individual should be able to exercise their full constitutional rights in the democratic process. I don't think any person should be forced to reveal their constitutional choices. What I regret is the state of divisiveness, disrespect and intolerance of opposing views that exists in Wisconsin today.

"What happened to our right to privacy? What happened to the ability to have open dialogues without fear of hatred resulting from them? What happened to not only tolerating, but actually being able to appreciate, differing viewpoints? Those are the things that make us Americans and differentiate us from many other countries around the world. The toxic nature of the public forum in our state right now deeply saddens me." 

Brian Rathsack March 27, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Officials should have the right to sign the recall petitions if they choose. However, to expect privacy in the matter is ridiculous. You are petitioning the government for something, and by doing so, you are putting yourself out there in the public eye. It is completely different from casting a ballot in an election. Secondly, It is up to the official to give an explanation. I don't believe they need to, however, by doing so, especially in this case, they imply that they are against the merits of Act 10. I think that the residents have the right to know if their elected officials back the measure or not. By signing the recall against Walker, or any of the State Senators, the implication must be that they support the policies of the previous state government and one can only assume that given the chance they would rather simply raise taxes to cover the budget shortfalls than work to find other solutions. What I don't understand is Ms. Tetzlaff saying she can do her job without her personal feelings affecting how she votes as a trustee. That is speaking out of both sides of her mouth as the affects of Act 10 will have a direct impact on the community. If the majority of the people she represents in the Village want her to vote a particular way on a Village matter, I find it hard to believe that she would not let her personal feelings on the matter affect her judgement.
Na in Johnson March 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Of course they can sign it. Trying to hide/deny it, or the righteous indignation that comes after they are questioned on it is what is so offensive. If you believe strongly enough that the Governor should be removed from office, then as an elected official, you should have no problem admitting to and defending that position. If you can't, then you clearly are trying to present yourself as someone you aren't in order to win re-election.
The real OC March 27, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Now that you know where these officials stand, it's your fault if you re-elect them. They side with public worker unions, not Sussex taxpayers.
Justme March 27, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Sure would be great if we all attend tonight's village board meeting. Afterall, we owe it to ourselves to see and know what we're paying for. None of their answers and comments impressed me...at all!
Jeff March 27, 2012 at 11:12 PM
What is this the new McCarthyism? Since many will apparently be voting based on this, I'll be sure to do the opposite vote for all those who have been "exposed" as non being Walker sympathizers. The worst thing about Walker is the way he has single-handedly turned this state into the hyper-partisan mess it has become.
Pete March 27, 2012 at 11:46 PM
This truly show why the village is spend crazy. The board is flaming liberal socialist union supporters. We elected these people. Shame on us. This explains why "downtown" redevelopment is a priority. Bet all the work will be over priced by union contractors. I guess it is time to use a tactic the board will support. Let's recall them all!
morninmist March 28, 2012 at 12:06 AM
@Chris Davis It was the TeaGOP who started the recall business.
Tulsa March 28, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Morninmist : Not a teaparty member, but tell me who in Wisconsin did the T people start with a recall . I do remember a Pol being recalled in racine for voting for the Miller park tax. Refresh our memories ,,,,,
Jan Golth March 28, 2012 at 04:32 AM
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." - Bill Clinton "It depends on what the meaning of the words 'is' is." –Bill Clinton "That's what I said, was 'no.' And what I meant to say was, 'No, I am not going to respond to that question.' " Lynn Kristense(n)
Luke March 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Those politicians don't realize is that the income of the average citizen has not been keeping up with inflation for years, but the wages of teachers have pretty much kept up. In addition, the cost of health insurance over the past 12 years has probably doubled, requiring employeers to make their employees share more an more of the cost. Teachers, until recently, have selfishly asked us to not only support ourselves during those increases in cost of living, but to also shoulder the entire burden of the cost of them being immune to the plight of the average citizen. Right now, for example, I pay 20% of my own family's heathcare insurance, and I believe I have a 3k deductable (It just changed, so I'm not exactly sure what the number is). In addition, my wife and I (college graduates) both pay 100% of our own retirement, and the amount we withdraw upon retirement is subject to the outcome of our investment funds' strategies. I'm not saying I'm exactly representative of the average citizen, but I am in the ballpark. Ironically, I am the type of person that has to hear that Governor Walker "cut too much, to fast, and too deep," and thereby hurt too may in the public sector. People who say such things are clueless. We cared for those in the public sector as we took on more and more to support ourselves, and now we ask that they take a very moderate step in our direction, as we support them. I look forward to better days. When those days come, they need to be MUTUAL.
Will Silvers March 28, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Go pat, at least there is a reason behind the vote, the rest of them, aside from no comment are stupid responses (not stupid people, stupid responses). 'No comment' is troublesome, why not tell us what you believe? More afraid of not geting elected again? Realize that Sussex generally favors republican candidates?
Luke March 28, 2012 at 12:05 PM
As I said above, this truly shows that a few in the Village have arrogantly become detached from the circumstances of those who have voted for them over the years. In years past, we have paid more and more for our own benefits, while protecting those in the public sector. Only recently have the public sector teachers been asked to step up and do a fraction for themselves that we have been doing for ourselves all along. How dare these politicians show sympathy for the minority of voters, who have done the least for themselves, while taking for granted the majority who have carried the load for both themselves and the rest. Does Tetzlaff not think I pay enough? Do I need to pay more to support those who pay less than the average citizen?
Joseph March 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Interesting how Waukesha County is the heart of Conservatism, but we have a bunch of liberals as elected officials. Clearly they are not representing the people who elected them.
erik1779 March 28, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Maybe it's time to get these people out of office NOW before they do any more damage. We all know how they feel about spending money, just look at you tax bill again.
C T March 28, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Governor Walker did NOT turn this state hyper-partisan...the President turned the ENTIRE COUNTRY hyper-partisan. Governor Walker is a scapegoat for the Presidential Administration.
Joseph March 28, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Earlier this year they wanted to spend more because the village was saving so much money from Act 10.
Lyle Ruble March 28, 2012 at 08:02 PM
You folks in Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee Counties crack me up. You are so Right Wing that any moderate or centrist looks like a liberal to you. You wouldn't know a true liberal even if your life depended on it. LOL
#1 son March 28, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Chris- Walker became milwaukee county exec. on a recall ballot, ironic isn't it!
atthec44 March 28, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Walker was elected MKE County Executive in a special election because Tom Ament resigned.
#1 son March 28, 2012 at 09:48 PM
@44- Yes I stand corrected. Technically, he resigned to get his pension, but the recall was initiated and almost 200,000 signatures were obtained at the time of his resignation.
Sussex Resident March 29, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Elected officials should also remember that they too are subject to recall and thus should be very careful about their public image in their community....
#1 son March 29, 2012 at 12:21 AM
@Chris- not a mulligan, but a clarification if I may: as you say morninmist posed the question about TeaGOP starting recalls. I thought, incorrectly, that Walker got in on a recall ballot-remembered the recall not the resignation- TA would've been blown away in a recall. I never claimed the TeaGOP lead the recall on Ament, just thought I had a bit of irony. So what is JH aka Pushcart doing these days?
DM March 29, 2012 at 01:39 AM
I agree....if somebody exercises their supposed right of free speech but says what some folks don't agree with, they are branded as leftists etc......definitely feels like we've gone back to a dark episode in Wisconsin's history when Joe McCarthy was proclaiming that he also had a list of those who were unworthy......
buckthorne March 29, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Lyle Ruble --- "You wouldn't know a true liberal even if your life depended on it. LOL" Your life just might if O'care goes through. LOL
Luke March 29, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Walker recall petition: 11/15/11 Tim Dietrich N60 W22995 Silverspring Dr Sussex 53089 11/17/11 Tim Detrich 22995 Silverspring Sussex 53089
#1 son March 29, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Chris- No I did not know him, sorry about your loss.
Dawn Gamalski March 29, 2012 at 08:39 PM
@ Emily--the conversation with Lynn Kristense(n) was recorded, both when she lied and later when she admitted it. She also misspelled her name on the Alberta Darling recall petition. Go to iverifytherecall.com and search on her name. That can't be coincidental.
Tulsa March 30, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Lyle You paint with a wide brush my friend , So everyone who lives in the Wood are ?
Lyle Ruble March 30, 2012 at 02:08 AM
@Chris Davis...Of course the Wood borders the University Campus and we have a large number of academic types who are all uber liberal. In fact we are so far to the left that we got kicked to the curb so we wouldn't start anymore recalls. Our schools teach Marxism as a core subject and Caesar Chavez's birthday is a village holiday. The Black Panthers provide us with Neighbor Hood Watch and if your LGBT you get free coffee on Sunday mornings along with a copy of the Shepard Express.
Dano March 30, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Collective bargaining is a right and a privilege? For whom? If I attempt to collectively bargain with my employer, I'll be collectively unemployed. Collectively bargaining with this bunch of "overseers" is like sending the fox to guard the hen house.

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