Last week, Jeff Simpson over at CogDis attacked the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke after it was revealed Burke’s campaign had hired Tanya Bjork as its “senior political advisor.” I’ve had several readers email me encouraging me to write about the story, especially considering Bjork’s role in the “Caucus Scandal” that resulted in a number of convictions of elected officials and aides for their roles in illegal campaign-related activity on the taxpayers’ dime.
Tanya Bjork, 38, was convicted of two misdemeanors in 2005 for her role in the largest political scandal in state history. Bjork served as a chief of staff to former Sen. Brian Burke (D-Milwaukee), who was convicted of a felony and misdemeanor in 2005 as part of a widespread investigation that uncovered political campaigning using taxpayer resources. Before she worked for Burke, she worked for the Assembly Democratic Caucus.
In his post, Jeff Simpson was very clear that he disapproves of the Burke campaign hiring Tanya Bjork. Ultimately, I’m disappointed in the move because in hiring Bjork, the Burke campaign sacrifices the political “high road” it would have been able to take in regards to Gov. Scott Walker’s close ties former aides of his who were convicted of criminal behavior while they were working for then-County Executive Walker.
However, while bringing Bjork on board as a member of the Burke campaign is troublesome, at what point do we continue to demonize her for the mistakes she’s made in the past without giving her a second chances to prove she’s learned from those mistakes? There’s absolutely no denying Tanya Bjork broke the law, but she took responsibility and was punished for the crimes she committed, and she should be given an opportunity to move in a positive direction.
I’m sure that in articulating my thoughts on the decision by Mary Burke’s campaign to hire Tanya Bjork I’ll take some criticism from some on the left, but I guess I just believe in giving people who’ve made mistakes an opportunity to demonstrate that they’ve learned from those mistakes. None of us are perfect, no matter how hard we try to be.