The publisher of The Shepherd Express has some thoughts on Healing Our State…and he comes to the conclusion that it requires the election of Mayor Tom Barrett as governor in the recall this Tuesday June 5th!
It was when I was elected to the Assembly 25 years ago that I met Tom Barrett. We both represented the city of Milwaukee, and I also represented two suburbs. Barrett had a strong sense of values and strong views on various issues, but he was always the one who could present his positions in a non-combative manner and thereby work with—and be liked and respected by—both sides. Barrett’s skills were very useful when we had the Legislature controlled by one party and the governor’s office controlled by the other. This ability caused some to think that he was too nice to make the tough decisions. I think that perception definitely has been shown to be incorrect, as we have seen him publicly disagree on issues with some major Democratic Party constituencies when he believed that his positions were right for Milwaukee or the state of Wisconsin. I did not agree with Barrett on a number of issues as a legislator—and as publisher of the Shepherd Express, the Shepherd and Mayor Barrett have not always seen eye to eye—but we could talk it out and end up agreeing to disagree.
And the atmosphere in Madison is anything but healthy for the near term and particularly in the long term:
Right now, our state faces the most divisive and vicious political environment that anyone currently alive in this state has ever experienced. Unfortunately, our Legislature and governor are following the playbook of out-of-state special interest groups and the wishes of out-of-state billionaires who do not live in, and will never live in or even visit, Wisconsin.
As a former economics professor and a successful entrepreneur in Wisconsin, I know that this approach of tax cuts for the wealthy and education cuts for the many will eventually make Wisconsin look a lot more like Louisiana or Alabama, where there are a few good suburban schools and some good private schools and the rest of the public schools are struggling to provide even a modest education. The leading countries of the world are investing in education while Wisconsin cuts back. Cutting back on education is a surefire recipe for a poorer and dumber Wisconsin, when the future depends on a skilled and educated workforce to compete in the world economy.
So the perception of Tom Barrett as too nice is shared even in the media but belies the real nature of the mayor. But it comes down to this:
Wisconsin needs to heal and become the above-average and moderate state that has served us well for so many decades. Tom Barrett has unique skills in the area of compromise and bringing people together, and those skills have never been more needed in Wisconsin than on June 5. Vote to heal Wisconsin. Please vote for Tom Barrett on June 5.
Louis G. Fortis