Kathleen Vinehout to make decision on gubernatorial candidacy in January 2014

Via Wisconsin Soapbox…

When DPW Chairman Mike Tate’s comments about Burke being an “instant front runner” came up, Sen. Vinehout acknowledges her belief of Tate’s desire to not have a primary. But she talks about hearing from Dem’s who want to have a choice in the process (here, here). This is where I give a big cheer for the Senator. If Mary Burke is the Dem candidate, I very likely will enthusiastically support her, but I can’t help not liking the feeling I have of having State Party so overtly pulling the candidate strings.

When the topic of her top issues arose, she very quickly listed these three:

Health care

The Sen. says that people are speaking very little about the financial issues facing this state over the 2013-15 budget. (She’s done her homework on this budget if you remember THIS photo). She also says we will be haunted by this budget as time goes on. She notes we are spending $4 Billion more in this budget, but virtually everything took a cut except the administration and administrative contracts. (Turn-down the Medicaid money, and look at what happens.)

Taking on Walker’s “jobs and tough decisions” line, Sen. Vinehout mentions that Wisconsin was at the front during the recession in taking steps to limit the losses. Plus, there was a great line about “Walker paddling downstream faster than the Dem’s paddled upstream.” We really need an effective way to fight back against that attack line of the Republicans, and this is the best way I’ve seen it done yet.

In the same interview with Mike Gousha, Sen. Vinehout stated she won’t officially announce her intentions until January 2014.

Support for Sen. Vinehout seems to be growing, as Blue Cheddar wants Sen. Vinehout to run for governor, and I’ve noticed a bunch of folks on Facebook who are actively trying to convince Sen. Vinehout to run for governor.

While I may not agree with Sen. Vinehout’s positions on concealed carry, the Castle Doctrine, and when it comes to allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control based on “moral obligations,” I do think her background gives her a unique perspective and would make for a great dialogue in a Democratic gubernatorial primary.


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24 thoughts on “Kathleen Vinehout to make decision on gubernatorial candidacy in January 2014

  1. I am not certain what you mean by not sharing Senator Vinehout’s position on a woman’s right to choose. Senator Vinehout supports a woman’s right to choose.

    Here is her March 10, 2012 position statement on the issue, posted at http://kathleenvinehout.org/2012/03/what-is-sen-vinehouts-position-on-womens-health-issues/:

    “What is Sen. Vinehout’s position on abortion, contraception and other women’s health issues?

    In the words of Bill Clinton, abortion should be “legal, safe and rare.” The decision is one for the individual woman to make. I support current law and would not add further restrictions.

    Policies that result in increased use of contraceptives and more factual knowledge of sex will lower the number of abortions. As state Senator, I voted to protect the state’s family planning system, the Family Planning Waiver, funding for Planned Parenthood, and testing and treatment for breast and cervical cancer.

    I voted for the Healthy Youth Act that requires sex education taught in Wisconsin to be medically-accurate, age-appropriate, and comprehensive, and intensely fought the repeal of this Act in the Senate Education Committee this past year.

    I voted for the Expedited Partner Therapy Act intended to reduce the rate of STDs by allowing a provider to dispense a second round of antibiotics for the partner of a patient being treated.

    I voted for the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act that requires hospitals to provide rape victims with information on and access to emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after an assault.

    I voted to require insurance plans that cover prescriptions to also cover prescription contraceptives and to require pharmacies to dispense prescription birth control.

    I voted to fund life-saving diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer for low income women, and to expand the Family Planning Waiver that provides family planning and preventative health care for low income women and men.”

    Mary Ray Worley’s account of Senator Vinehout’s position on access to contraception is also relevant here. (See Worley Dervish, April 6, 2012 posted at http://www.bluecheddar.net/?p=20455): “Questions have been raised about Vinehout’s bona fides in relation to safeguarding women’s reproductive freedom, and my reading suggested that perhaps those questions will be the ones that will dog her most during this short, intense primary season.

    One woman asked Vinehout Wednesday night why she is against abortion. Vinehout confirmed, though, that she believes abortion should be “safe, legal and rare” and that her legislative record confirms that belief. When asked later what she meant by “rare,” she said that providing good health care for all women, access to birth control, and good sex education would have the effect of making abortion rare. I asked about her amendment to a 2008 bill (that didn’t pass) that would have permitted a pharmacist, on the basis of conscience, to refuse to fill a prescription for contraceptives “if the pharmacist ensures that the patient will have access to the contraceptive elsewhere.” I asked why a pharmacist’s conscience should trump my ability to procure my contraceptives without costing extra money (for transportation), delay, and inconvenience.

    She responded that the Wisconsin constitution has a stronger conscience clause than the U.S. Constitution has, and she wanted to ensure that the bill did not violate the state constitution, which as a senator she is sworn to uphold. She also said that a year later a bill was passed that requires pharmacies to dispense contraceptives without delay, while allowing an individual pharmacist to decline to dispense contraceptives for reasons of conscience provided that another pharmacist at that location can fill the prescription immediately.

    A few minutes after she was done with the question-and-answer portion of her presentation, Vinehout came over to our table to talk to me and another woman. I asked her then, “but what about that amendment?” Even though it ultimately didn’t become law, the wording still concerned me. She conceded that the amendment was problematic and that in fact she had borrowed the language from Illinois legislation that had been supported by Planned Parenthood of Illinois. (I haven’t verified this.) She added that she was involved in writing the legislation that did pass the following year and that she prefers its language. So the 2008 amendment was probably not her finest legislative moment, but I was satisfied that it didn’t indicate a desire to restrict women’s reproductive freedom or a lack of support for women’s right to control their own reproductive choices.”.

    1. Ah, well it seems I’m mistaken. I was referring to Sen. Vinehout’s vote to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control based on “moral obligations.”

      I should have been more precise, and I’ve edited the post to reflect that.

    1. Stan,

      Can you provide more information?: What appointees? When? What is the documentation that her reason was the prospective appointees’ support for abortion rights?


      1. Michael, you might want to take a look at the link I provided in my response to Stan. The article I linked to doesn’t give an exact reason as to why Sen. Vinehout voted against the appointees, but I’ve reached out to Sen. Vinehout to get some clarification from her.

  2. Let’s make sure we’re not going from “a woman’s right to choose” to fast tracking a compulsion to terminate any fetus. All Senator Vinehout has done is allow women and an option to think. It’s an issue that directly affects a very small percentage of our population at any given time. And, as the Senator has acted upon it, should not be the major factor in her campaign unless one considers it to represent the thoroughness of Vinehout’s thinking on important matters affecting this state’s public good.

    BTW, are we going to get a Democratic primary?

    1. I had a one on one conversation with Senator Vinehout as a fellow Catholic a few years back on this subject. Respecting her privacy, all I can say is that it was interesting and that I understood and was sympathetic.

      Elsewhere, I was told by a state legislator, who remains anonymous, at a Democratic gathering awhile back that she was called a “sister of Satan” or words to that effect from the pulpit in the presence of a family member. OUCH !!! I think I would have sued him for slander.

      With bishops like Burke in La Crosse (now at the Vatican) and the moron in Madison, Catholic politicians in Wisconsin had it tough and still do.

  3. I don’t think that the Democratics will find any progressive ideal candidate. After all, Mary Burke supported that Charter school in Madison which was refusing to hire Union teachers.
    I favor Vinehout simply because, through her use of blogs, etc, I feel she has more word of mouth, she’s more out there so to speak.
    It took several queries from people before I got the reason the Democratic party might favor Mary Burke – savvy businesswoman, with wealth. Not much word of mouth – even in Madison, where it might be expected, due to her school board position.
    It’s the question – which is more important in running, public recognition, word of mouth, or money?

    1. Susan, you raise a good point about Democrats finding the “ideal progressive candidate.” While I may disagree with Sen. Vinehout on some issues (and I’m sure I disagree with Mary Burke on some as well), I don’t need the eventual Democratic nominee to share every one of my values in order to vote for them.

      1. The question is not merely whom we are willing to vote for, but, also, for whom we are willing to work, and to whom we will contribute financially. That is one reason I so strongly favor an “open and fair” primary. I think that if Mary Burke is foisted onto us without a primary in which she demonstrates that she is preferable to Senator Vinehout, or whomever else might enter the race, many, many of us will dutifully, even sullenly, vote for her, but do no more. Personally, I do not think Mary Burke can demonstrate that she is preferable to Senator Vinehout, but I do know that she must be willing to engage Senator Vinehout on an even playing field, before I will consider doing more that casting my vote.

  4. To defeat Walker, the Democratic nominee will need to pull independent voters who cast their votes for Walker in 2010; at this point unless Burke can make a convincing case, I believe Vinehout can best do that. Vinehout will “play” well in rural areas like northern and southwesten Wisconsin. Walker has already started to lay the groundwork to discredit a Madison/Milwaukee liberal and make Burke’s wealth a campaign isse…”poor, common, working-class” Scotty! Vinehout can out “brown bag” Walker; he and his “handlers” know it.

  5. Rrrrrrrr, To many R’s but I agree with you, I was able to see Kathleen on Gousha, I wish she would have stated actual State Rankings that WE have unfortunately held on Job’s Wages Econ outlook, Those don’t lie!! I believe if She stick’s to those 3 issues and the Fact’s of His Policies she can win. Most recently Walker is going to have to answer real quick for His misinformation with the ACA, Medicaid expansion, Which raises another issue that I came across with regards to another Gov and his stance on the ACA and wonder if there are ant ties to Walker, here’s the link and story, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/09/03/georgia-governor-gets-paid-through-secret-pac-to-obstruct-obamacare/.

  6. What did Senator Vinehout mean by her statement?

    In today’s CapTimes’ news, we read how Senator Vinehout’s message on state debt is distorted by the Journal Sentinel’s rating of “Half True” from Politifact Wisconsin.

    “Columnist calls out Poltifact for covering up Scott Walker’s debt problem.”

    “State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout was completely accurate in claiming that state debt has reached ‘record levels’ under Gov. Scott Walker says Milwaukee columnist Bruce Murphy.”


    I am of the opinion that a “Half True,” if there is such a term, is in fact a lie or a deliberate deception by concealing a material fact or additional considerations. Or better yet, there is no such thing as a “half true” just as there is no “half lie.”

  7. The “half-true” rating is due to Senator Vinehout’s attributing the problem to Scott Walker’s budgeting, not because of her claims about the level of indebtedness. JS buys the notion that because some of the debt was inherited from the Doyle administration, the fact of record level indebtedness cannot be solely attributed to Walker’s budgeting.

    Superficially, that judgement seems valid, but only superficially. Walker could have budgeted in ways that brought the level of indebtedness down, or, at the least, did not increase it. If I inherit a debt, and, then, willfully take on further debt, isn’t the new high level of debt “because of” my choices?

  8. I agree, Mike, that Senator Vinehout’s statement is “True” and any attributon to cause or explanation in this case is unnecessary. I have concluded that the Journal Sentinel’s reporting using Politifact’s terms is at least misleading if not biased.

    The public has so many sources such as polls, Politifact, and various statistics, some of which are flawed, that it causes confusion to the general public.

  9. Duane12,

    Do you think the public sees enough “information” to become confused by it?

    But, wait until this is incorporated into a political ad, broadcast repeatedly.

  10. “Do you think the public sees enough ‘information’ to become confused by it?”

    Yes, Mike, confused, misled, and/or they may tune it out all together although there are some, maybe many, but not all, who do their homework to cast an informed vote. My statement is not a criticism, but recognizes the reality that voters, as I did in my working and educating life, place their schooling, family, or job as having a higher priority with only 24 hours in a day. There is little time to sort out the political truth for the working family today which requires two incomes by almost all of the middle class to support a family, unlike Scott and Tonette.”

    The horrendous decision defining that money of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Klan, and other robber barons as free and equal speech has not helped.

    As an example of misleading polls or statistics, I recently read a claim that Walker has honored or completed 42% of his “promises.” Really? Yet, in his inaugural address, Walker claimed, “he had only three priorities(promises) in the coming four years,’jobs, jobs, and more jobs'(later defined as 250,000).” That computes to an “incomplete” using four years as the time allowed.

    In effect, the 42% claimed is a lie, a gross misstatement, misleading by not giving weight to a comparison with more important goals such as jobs, or does not state the parameters or definition of “promises” by the statistician to the reader.

    Confused? You bet!

  11. Today we saw an opening campaign ad by Walker on the Packer game on selective economic issues which IMO avoided the big picture in his failure to grow “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

    While Senator Vinehout cannot compete nationally and financially with such partial,misleading claims by Walker, it would be helpful to citizens if she would use local media and blogs to rebut or reveal the big picture Walker avoids in his Koch sponsored lies.

    Walker ads are in effect, “lipstick on a pig” or a makeover or coverup of his failure to grow jobs by 250,000.

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