The state’s largest teachers union on Wednesday endorsed former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk for governor, saying the longtime Democrat has a proven track record of responsible government and a belief in fairness and democracy.
“We cannot afford to sit back,” said Mary Bell, president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council. “Our state must focus on jobs, improving education and helping citizens.”
Officials with the union said the announcement was the result of a democratic selection process conducted by teachers and support staff representing educators across the state.
“Wisconsin educators have been at the forefront of this movement ever since the first attack on worker rights was leveled nearly a year ago,” she said, referring to Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to all but end collective bargaining for most public workers. “Today, we take the next step.”
Falk is one of two Democrats to have announced for the potential recall election against Walker. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, announced her candidacy on Wednesday.
Which was followed by Kathleen Falk accepting the recommendation:
This led to much uproar over the process and endorsement. Everywhere you go on social media you see that numerous complains from WEAC & None WEAC members alike. I want to stress here that while I like Kathleen Falk, I think its a little early to endorse(but not by much). While i am not ready to endorse yet, I want to address a few of the main talkng points I have heard tonight:
* We need a primary: We will have a primary, right now there are two people in the race and probably more soon which means we will have a primary and plenty of time to support your candidate assuming he/she jumps in the race.
* Democrats should not make our candidates sign pledges the way republicans do. I agree that we should not do it the way republicans do, however collective bargaining rights is an exception. If a candidate is not fully on board with restoring them – thanks but no thanks.
* WEAC should not have endorsed so early. I agree they endorsed a little early but I am sure they had their reasons.
* Kathleen Falk is a Madison Liberal who can not win the state. ANYONE who wins the nomination will be classified as a “Madison liberal” regardless of who they are. This recall race is about Scott Walker and not the democratic candidate. Whoever survives a primary on the democratic side, and backs labor, will beat Scott Walker.
* Look at her record:
Kathleen Falks record as Dane County Executive is 20 times better than Scott Walker’s as Milwaukee County Executive. Nuff said.
* Kathleen Falk worked behind the scenes: 1. She has a very solid campaign team behind her, and 2. You know better than to think that, anyone else who got in or is thinking about getting in was not also trying to get this endorsement. These are hard core esperienced politicos, not friends running for class president.
* Candidate X would be a better candidate: Well call Candidate X and get their butt in the race. I knew from the time that the announcement was made two weeks into the recall process, that we had 1/2 the signatures that we were going to have a recall election. So did everyone else, and it is time to announce in or out. Show some faith in the recall petitioners and work off the assumption that we have enough signatures. Waiting until the verification seems a little like covering your bases where you do quite trust that there will be one. Time to Fish or cut bait! Kathleen Falk was the first one fishing, I admire her for that!
A couple more items of housecleaning:
1. I would have liked to see her answer her question about being in the pockets of the unions this way:
I gladly admit to being a friend of unions and working with them. You will notice, as I stand here surrounded by unions members, every single one of them is currently a taxpaying citizen of Wisconsin while my opponent is who knows where collecting unGodly sums of money. I lost track is he in Arizona, Florida, New York or some other state he did not tell his constituents he was visiting.
2. How does this scenario sound? Kathleen Falk (or whoever but until someone gets in the race that I like better,, I am leaning her way) or whoever is the candidate for Governor, be joined by Lieutenant Governor candidate Jon Erpenbach. Then they pledge to give the Lieutenant Governor more power and responsibility to allow Jon more statewide exposure. Plus, unlike our current LG, Erpenbach is qualified to do more. Then the loser of the Mark Pocan/Kelda Roys congressional battle, would slot nicely into Erpenbach Senate seat.
So everyone please just take a breath! Kathleen Falk is a good person and good candidate, no need to demonize her! It’s not like they endorsed Ron Kind! Let’s give it a couple weeks and see who else gets in and we will see if WEAC has a winner or a loser here by playing their hand so early.
3. I attended the press conference and noted that Mary Bell specifically said that WEAC “recommended” Kathleen Falk for Governor. We will see if using that word instead of endorsement has any significance.