Walker Recall Election and potential candidates – a Progressive Wake-Up Call…

As scores of petitions begin appearing on the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) website in the form of scanned pdf files (for all the world to see and verify), it will become obvious in the coming weeks that a recall election is inevitable. The grassroots have its wish – a constitutional referendum on Scott Walker’s power grab, after only one year in office. The time has come for a Progressive wake-up call, or reality check, in the form of who is willing, able, and ready to step up and replace Scott Walker. And based on recent social (and mainstream) media chatter, some of you will want to sit down and take a deep breath before you read any further.

It is time for Democrats, Progressives, Socialists, moderate Republicans, and all who are looking for Scott Walker’s replacement to concede one major point. For the good of the movement, and the people who struggle every day against Scott Walker and the GOP’s draconian measures in Wisconsin, it is time for us to acknowledge that Russ Feingold will not run in a recall election against Scott Walker. This is not a popular statement to make – but it is true. Allow this writer to assure you that there are sources close to Senator Feingold who have consistently confirmed this fact. Out of respect for Feingold’s years of tireless and selfless progressive service to Wisconsin, we ought heed his decision – and rally behind what it means to this movement of the people.

Russ Feingold’s decision not to run does not mean the loss or lack of a Progressive Champion for Wisconsin. On the contrary – it makes room for something that has been desperately needed in the last decade. A NEW champion for progressive values, and the people. It is time for the new progressives, arising from this grassroots movement, to take hold of this moment and champion the cause of the people. Feingold will undoubtedly continue to champion our cause, through Progressives United and support of Progressive candidates; indeed, his time to represent the people will most certainly come again. However, in his stepping back, he has given us a great opportunity, if we seize it, to determine the direction Wisconsin Government will take for generations. From the Governor’s Office to Senate and Assembly seats, to the State Supreme Court, to local elections, the people may now choose a NEW politic to lead them – if we recognize the rare moment we are poised upon. It is now our obligation to engage in consideration of future generations and the leadership yet to come.

For the moment, and the movement, let go of Russ Feingold, and embrace the potential that new leadership can bring to Wisconsin. Our common foe is the greed, avarice, and corporate plutocracy represented by Scott Walker and his GOP allies around the country. Just as we united to collect over one million signatures, let us now unite to begin electing a new generation of representative government, keeping a vigilant eye on corporatic power …and don’t worry, Russ Feingold will be back to represent us as an elected official, in his time, just as he now represents us as “Citizen Feingold.”

In this early debate of candidates, Badger Democracy would like to offer its current (and subject to change – as John Nichols said, “politics is evolutionary”) top three potential candidates, in no particular order:

1. Peter Barca – Barca, the Assembly Minority Leader from the 64th, has been an outspoken critic of Scott Walker and the GOP power grab from day one. More importantly, Barca has been a lifelong resident of Wisconsin, served his area as both Congressman and Assemblyman, and has always been a champion of social, economic, and labor justice. One downside for Barca would be his Congressional seat loss to Mark Neumann,  but his approachability and demeanor would play well statewide. Not to mention, he hails from outside Milwaukee and Dane Counties – something this writer feels is a necessity in this tumultuous and divisive time. Barca has not formally declared his candidacy.

2. Steve Kagen – The former Congressman from the 8th District is also a Wisconsin native, still living in Appleton, only leaving Wisconsin for Medical training at Northwestern University. Prior to attending UW-Madison, Kagen worked as a Teamster in a dairy. A renowned allergist in private practice, Kagen’s voting record as a Congressman displays highly progressive values in health care, wage reform, and justice. He refused to participate in the Congressional health plan until all Americans had access to affordable care. As with Barca, his loss (to Reid Ribble in the tea party wave of 2010) can be overcome by his voting record and statewide appeal as a Fox Valley Progressive – a key area of the state in any election. Kagen has not formally declared his candidacy.

3. Kathleen Vinehout – The State Senator from the 31st (Western Wisconsin), Vinehout was relatively unknown statewide until recently. She has grabbed the attention of many outside her district – and for good reason. Vinehout holds a PhD, M.P.H., and has an Associate Degree in Agriculture. She has a background in Healthcare Management, focusing on state healthcare reform and management – especially in rural areas. Vinehout hails from a family of labor and nursing with both parents having also served in the military. She and her family formerly operated an organic dairy farm, and also has a rich background in the state’s dairy industry. Vinehout drafted her own budget, in response to Scott Walker’s in 2011. She has long been a champion of Wisconsin Labor, families, health care reform and affordability, and would have great appeal in a critical statewide race focusing on grassroots politics. Vinehout arose with a grassroots campaign to beat a Republican in 2006, and successfully defended against the late Ed Thompson in 2010 – a year which saw many Democrats lose to Republicans in the tea party wave. Kathleen Vinehout has not formally declared her candidacy.

This is the people’s chance to make history and a new politic. Embrace this moment – and keep your eye on Scott Walker and the GOP.  United, we will elect a replacement for them and put Wisconsin on the path of progressivism once again. Fighting Bob lives.

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Facing One Million Recall Signatures, “disenfranchise” finally appears in Walker, GOP vocabulary

In an interview with Badger Democracy last week, prior to the filing of one million signatures to recall Scott Walker, Wisconsin GOP Chair Ben Sparks stated he was concerned by the potential “disenfranchisement” of Wisconsin voters. When asked “…if approximately 800,000 signatures are filed next week (to recall Walker), at what point does that become so overwhelming a number when compared to the 540,000 necessary, does continuing challenges become absurd?” Sparks replied “The GOP is concerned that millions of Wisconsinites who didn’t sign the petition could be disenfranchised by this process – that is our concern.” The irony of his statement seemed to elude Sparks.

Throughout the 2011 legislative session, Scott Walker and the GOP did nothing to accept the existence of disenfranchisement of voters. During the highly partisan redistricting, whose process was so rushed that it is now virtually impossible for the GAB and municipalities to work with – the GOP failed to heed warnings of disenfranchisement.

During the debate over voter ID, the GOP failed to heed warnings of disenfranchisement, and now face multiple lawsuits citing exactly that issue, and with merit.

Now, facing multiple recall elections due to an overwhelming number of recall signatures, the word “disenfranchise” has suddenly appeared in the GOP vernacular. The constitutionality of this recall process, and the true nature of the grassroots  effort continues to elude (or be denied) by Scott Walker and his allies. The only disenfranchisement that will potentially take place exists in continuing legal challenges to stall the inevitable. And the GAB should be commended for the process it has put in place to verify signatures – making so-called “signature verification” apparatus of the GOP unnecessary and irrelevant.

The GAB has installed a webcam at the secret location where petitions are being scanned for public access and verification. In addition, a “Recall Blog” will be updated daily on the GAB website. Scott Walker and the GOP can watch the process unfold, in full public view, all day and night – the outcome will remain the same.

Just as Badger Democracy posed the question of inevitability to Ben Sparks, the Wisconsin Democratic Party has called Scott Walker on his bluff of “wanting a recall election as soon as possible” so he can be elected a second time. The Dems have submitted a stipulation to Scott Walker to be signed acknowledging an overwhelming number of signatures to call a recall election; and waive legal challenges to the process once the GAB has certified sufficiency of the petition. The letter to Scott Walker from Mike Tate (Wis Dem Chair) delivered today clearly addresses the expediency which Walker has claimed to desire in this process, and calls Walker on his bluff.

It is time for Walker and the GOP to accept the inevitable – their overreach has caused this incredible grassroots movement will eventually return Wisconsin to its progressive roots. They will continue their desperate attempts to pass radical legislation in their waning days. It is the people’s obligation to protect the process we have started, and will finish in the coming months and year by commissioning new Senators and a Governor.

Bring on the debate, the primary, the election. Stand tall Wisconsin, and Solidarity!

Gableman’s links to Koch Industries make impartiality impossible

Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman has been at the center of judicial ethics controversy, and despite conservative pundit claims to the contrary, for good reason. Representative Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) has circulated a resolution to remove Gableman from office, based on his ethically-challenged “fee arrangements” with Michael, Best, and Friedrich. An investigation by Badger Democracy into Gableman’s campaign finances has lead to a more insidious and partisan connection with Koch Industries and their national political agenda. Gableman’s allies John D. Bryan and Viet Dinh raise serious question as to whether Gableman is capable of exercising impartiality and non-partisanship from the bench in any politically-charged case.

Representative Mark Pocan’s (D-Madison) posting of the Rock County GOP “Lincoln Day Dinner” fundraiser announcement is just the tip of the political iceberg. Gableman is listed with Congressman Paul Ryan as a confirmed speaker at this partisan event and fundraiser. While this alone raises ethical questions for a “non-partisan” justice, the money trail to Gableman is more incriminating and partisan, especially in light of Koch attempts to influence the judiciary nationwide.

John D. Bryan has been one of Michael Gableman’s largest campaign contributors, to the tune of $10,000. Bryan is a retired oil tycoon living in Lake Oswego, Oregon who is an avid financial supporter of ultra-conservative campaigns and values – along with being a staunch ally and mouthpiece for Koch Industries politics as the head of Oregon “Club for Growth.” Club for Growth should sound familiar to those who followed the 2008 State Supreme Court race between incumbent Louis Butler and Gableman – the PAC was responsible for over $100,000 in campaign ads against Butler that were considered false and misleading. According to Federal campaign disclosures, Bryan (John D. of Oregon) spent over $200,000 in the 2008 election cycle – most of it to Club for Growth PAC.

In addition to his activities in the Koch-influenced Club for growth, Bryan started his own 501(c)(3) foundation, The Challenge Foundation. Bryan’s Challenge Foundation has been heavily active nationwide in promoting the expansion of both private and public charter schools. Federal Tax returns (Form 990 PF) for The Challenge Foundation include a list of charters nationwide supported by Bryan’s foundation (pages 40-47), as well as highly profitable investments in corporations linked to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)(pgs. 48-68).

Bryan’s participation goes far beyond financial. At the  January 2011 Koch Seminar in Palm Springs, John Bryan was a featured speaker in a presentation promoting K-12 Charter school expansion. Bryan is a regular presenter at Koch-sponsored partisan seminars promoting charter schools and “free enterprise” agenda. Bryan’s active participation in state judiciary elections is not surprising, as Koch’s political agenda has long included influencing judicial outcomes.

Gableman’s office was asked by Badger Democracy on Wednesday, January 10 about the relationship between the Justice and Bryan, as well as if Gableman has ever attended a Koch sponsored Judicial Seminar (see Wall Street Journal link above). As of this writing, the justice has delayed response and stonewalled requests for information, promising a statement “in the future.” Badger Democracy has submitted an open records request with the State Court Clerk’s office.

In addition to being Gableman’s attorney, Viet Dinh is the author of the Patriot Act, as well as godfather to Rupert Murdoch’s son. Fox News Corp has had a long affiliation with Koch think tanks, supplying the “news” network with experts promoting Koch political agenda.

Koch PAC      has spent more money on Wisconsin Judicial individual races than any other, save for Scott Walker – in Gableman and VanHollen. It is clear that Koch is attempting a hostile takeover of the Wisconsin Judiciary through people like John D. Bryan and Viet Dinh. Michael Gableman, if he were a Federal Judge, would be in violation of the US Federal Judge Code of Conduct, Canon 5, forbidding active participation in “partisan politics.”

As stated in the Code of Ethics, Gableman is undermining the confidence and faith in an impartial judiciary, necessary for Democracy. Both parties have a vested interest in his removal, as his actions and conflict create a dangerous precedent for future court activity and generations to come.

Waukesha County Judge Mac Davis does what Walker, Legislature couldn’t – changed recall law, in politicized ruling

On Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Mac Davis (Waukesha County) gave Scott Walker a ruling that momentarily has changed the rules governing recall elections – something neither Walker nor the Legislature were able to achieve before the launch of the recall effort.

Davis’ ruling has a significant impact on the way the Government Accountability Board (GAB) treats recall petitions and signatures. In his opinion, Davis stated the GAB  “must take reasonable, affirmative steps to identify and strike duplicate, fictitious or unverifiable signatures from recall petitions.” Lewis Beilin, GAB Attorney, responded  “the agency has used the same procedures in recall elections involving both Democrats and Republicans since the 1980s, and that it has always weeded out obviously bad signatures – including alerting the district attorney’s office whenever deliberate fraud is suspected.”

Prior to this ruling, petitions and signatures when filed by qualified circulators, and certified as being authentic by the recall committee and circulators, were presumed to be valid. Judge Davis stated that he “based his ruling on his interpretation of the Wisconsin Statutes” rather than the Constitutional Equal Protection clause cited by Friends of Scott Walker. Section 9.10(3)(b) of the Wisconsin Statutes provides that the GAB must “determine by careful examination whether the petition on its face is sufficient”, and was cited by the plaintiffs as the basis for the decision compelling the GAB to actively screen petitions. On the contrary, Statute 9.10 taken in full is in conflict with Davis’ ruling. Subsection 2 (g) reads: “The burden of proof for any challenge rests with the individual bringing the challenge”, and supports prior GAB opinion and ruling on this statute.

Davis has succeeded in legislating from the bench in the worst partisan manner, changing the rules of the recall process in the middle of the Constitutional action. Scott Walker has managed to bypass legislative accountability, and GAB autonomy in finding a friendly Judge to compel the GAB to operate in a manner that benefits his political agenda. Marquette University Constitutional Law Professor Edward A. Fallone opines:

“…the GAB must keep looking over its shoulder at Judge Davis, because it is likely that the Friends of Scott Walker will challenge the adequacy of the new procedures in court no matter what the GAB does.

It appears that the strategy of the Friends of Scott Walker is to use litigation in order to delay any actual recall election as long as possible, thereby allowing public emotions to cool and the anti-Walker sentiment to wane.”

The absurdity of this ruling can be found in a simple extension of logic. Under Wisconsin Statute 9.10 and previous GAB ruling, a legally circulated and authenticated recall petition contains signatures that are presumed valid on their face unless: 

(e) An individual signature on a petition sheet may not be counted if:

1. The signature is not dated.

2. The signature is dated outside the circulation period.

3. The signature is dated after the date of the certification contained on the petition sheet.

4. The residency of the signer of the petition sheet cannot be determined by the address given.

5. The signature is that of an individual who is not a resident of the jurisdiction or district from which the elective official being recalled is elected.

6. The signer has been adjudicated not to be a qualified elector on grounds of incompetency or limited incompetency as provided in s. 6.03 (3).

7. The signer is not a qualified elector by reason of age.

8. The circulator knew or should have known that the signer, for any other reason, was not a qualified elector.

(em) No signature on a petition sheet may be counted if:

1. The circulator fails to sign the certification of circulator.

2. The circulator is not a qualified circulator.

The presumption of validity on its face of a signature by the arbiter, or judge (in this case the GAB) is required under statute governing the recall process. Just as a defendant is presumed innocent under the judicial system until proven guilty-the burden of proof being on the plaintiff challenging that innocence – or guilt, in this case. In the activist Judge Davis’ courtroom, is the defendant presumed guilty upon entrance into his courtroom? Davis’ ruling requires the GAB to act counter the statute and presume signatures to be invalid, and “take affirmative steps to identify and strike duplicate, fictitious or unverifiable signatures from recall petitions.”

Subsection (g) of the statute clearly places the burden of proof  on the recall petition challengers, not the GAB. There are nearly one million citizens of Wisconsin engaged and vested in Scott Walker’s recall, and the number of signatures that will be turned in will be an overwhelming number compared to the 540,000 required. Compared to the cost of the recall, what is the cost to Democracy of the GOP attempts to disenfranchise the recall right of those 1 million citizens?

The Friends of Scott Walker and the GOP have no regard for the rule of law, and have proven again they will manipulate said law to forward their political agenda, and preserve their seat of power. At this time, the GAB has yet to make clear their response to this ruling. The grassroots citizens of Wisconsin now need to step forward to assure their voices that have spoken in the recall process continue to be engaged and heard to complete the process. We must do whatever is necessary to ensure those who sign the petitions are not disenfranchised – as is the real goal of Scott Walker and the GOP.

Mining Bill Hearing in the Northwoods – how public and who benefits?

The Assembly Committee on Jobs will be holding a public hearing in the district where a proposed Gogebic Taconite Mine would operate. Yielding to public pressure after holding a hearing at State Fair Park in West Allis, Rep Mary Williams (R – Medford) scheduled a hearing on Wednesday, January 11, 10:00am at the Hurley Inn. While Rep Janet Bewley (D-Ashland, whose District would be the location of the mine, and includes Hurley) applauds the committee holding a hearing in the proposed mine district, she expressed concern in a phone interview on Thursday. Bewley was concerned that she and State Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar, mine and hearing in his Senate District) had been put in a position to schedule an “unofficial hearing” on their own in December for January 7, due to a lack of committment from Williams to schedule one in their district. Bewley expressed concern with the time (a weekday morning) and location (a relatively moderate capacity private hotel) being able to give the public at large sufficient access to the hearing. Inquiries into the site selection and the site itself by Badger Democracy raises serious question and concern as to the hearing location.

On December 16, 2011, Bewley and Jauch sent a Letter to the Committee on Jobs offering a site and time they had already reserved for their “informal hearing.” They offered the Ashland High School Auditorium from 10am-6pm on Saturday, January 7 to be used as the venue for the official public hearing. Not only did Williams not accept the offer, she made no response to her colleagues at all.

When asked about the Hearing schedule, a spokesperson for Rep Williams told Badger Democracy on Thursday that the Hurley Inn was selected by the Committee for being “close to the mine site,” being one of the few venues in the area having a “large seating area” to accommodate the hearing, and available on short notice. The spokesman also stated that public testimony would be taken “at the Chair’s (Williams) discretion.” When a follow-up was asked regarding the offer letter from Bewley and Jauch, the Williams staff stated that they had no knowledge of such a letter, and Saturday was unacceptable, as page staff would “have to be paid overtime if we hold the hearing on a Saturday.” It is notable that Rep Kapenga’s office recalled receiving the letter, as had Rep Pasch’s staff (one Democrat, one Republican – both on the Committee). According to Rep Bewley’s office, the letters were hand-delivered by pages to all committee members.

While the Williams staffer explained the Hurley Inn was chosen because someone “recommended it” to the Committee, there are no Representatives on the Committee who could recall the identity of the person making the suggestion. According to both Jauch and Bewley, hearings in the area are generally held at one of the area school auditoriums for capacity and access purposes. Williams’ office explained they had first contacted schools, but they were not willing to host a hearing during a school day, and would not “arrange for early release.”

According to state records, the registered agent for the Hurley Inn is Frederick Schellgell, an attorney from Mercer, WI. Schellgell is the attorney of record for Peter Giovanoni of Hurley, WI, according to the Schellgell law office. While the General Manager of the Inn refused to disclose the owner of the hotel, Hurley Chamber of Commerce records name Giovanoni as the owner (the Inn even has a bar named “Pete’s Place”). When confronted with this information, the Inn Manager claimed she “really doesn’t know who the owners are, or what the ownership structure is.” A Hurley Chamber contact confirmed this ownership information for Badger Democracy.

Peter Giovanoni is also owner of Superior Excavation of Hurley, and has an extensive record of Civil Judgements against him in multiple Wisconsin counties. One of the most recent occurred in Marathon County in 2011. A Marathon County representative in a phone interview told Badger Democracy that Mr. Giovanoni had arranged a line of credit with the County for solid waste disposal from his excavating business. Mr. Giovanoni failed to pay, and after avoiding summons service the county was forced to seek a default judgement against him. Default Judgement in the amount of $27,922.38 was entered on August 30, 2011. Mr. Giovanoni never appeared.  The court records search indicates a pattern of this type of activity, along with tax and revenue judgements. This raises several questions surrounding the Hearing and the Inn.

The Inn Manager told Badger Democracy the Inn is for sale. Is Giovanoni liquidating his assets before they are found out by Marathon County and other creditors?

How was this locale REALLY chosen? Who recommended this location to the committee, and do they have any ties to Giovanoni or his family (small but frequent GOP contributors – most recently JB VanHollen)?

Will Mr. Giovanoni benefit from this arrangement? A regional excavation company owner also owns the private location, hosting a partisan hearing on pending mining legislation, that his company could potentially profit from. Or is a lucrative state contract in the works for Superior Mining? A contract that could easily pay off thousands of dollars in civil forfeiture.

Finally, who will fill the hall at the Hurley Inn for this hearing? Will the privately-owned hotel be filled with those friendly to the bill, only to have the room full before the public at large arrives at the hotel?

Nothing is surprising anymore in Fitzwalkerstan. Arrive early, and stay vigilant. A note to all legislators – any state contract for Superior Excavation should be red flagged.  

 

Arrest of Tim Russell, former Walker, Thompson aide in John Doe Investigation

Former campaign aide to Tommy Thompson, and close aide and associate of Scott Walker has been arrested in Milwaukee County and charged with two counts of felony theft in a business setting, according to court records.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “No Quarter Blog” reporter Dan Bice reported the arrest at 10:30 am today. Russell was one of the first aides to Walker to have a computer seized by investigators in August 2010, prior to the election. Despite his close ties to Walker and the GOP, Russell was virtually cut loose by Walker and the Republicans – receiving no political appointment in the Administration, unlike Cynthia Archer, who is still working in an Administration job (Department of Children and Families) after a leave of absence shortly after her computer was seized by Federal Agents.

The Felony counts are for theft in a business setting – one count class I greater than $2500-5000; the second count class G greater than $10,000. The Class A Misdemeanor is for theft leass than $2500.

Milwaukee county DA John Chisolm has scheduled a noon Thursday press conference to update additional information on the charges and investigation.

 

Next step for grassroots recall effort…choose the best candidate to run against Scott Walker, and win

It may be a little too early to celebrate a successful recall signature collection drive against Scott Walker, since there will be much legal wrangling over signatures and petitions. The total number of signatures turned in on January 17 will most likely be too much for GOP challenges to overcome (there are only so many Mickey Mouses (Mice?) in Wisconsin). As a recall election is very much in our future, grassroots activists and citizens all over Wisconsin must now (not later) turn their attention to the next step. Be engaged in the process of choosing a candidate to run against Scott Walker in a recall election. As nearly one million people will have engaged in the recall effort against Scott Walker over the course of nearly one year; momentum must be maintained to assure a statewide candidate who will defeat Scott Walker – lest the power brokers and moneyed interests of the Democratic Party (who brought you Jim Doyle and shunned Barbara Lawton for Tom Barrett) hijack the people’s movement.

While there are names of potential candidates being floated across the state, most of the candidates named thus far are being vetted within the party, and amongst each other; vying for position in a behind-the-scenes negotiation meant to avoid a Democratic primary. The conventional wisdom being that a primary would help Scott Walker gain more time to raise campaign funds and outspend any Democratic candidate – one of the reasons Herb Kohl is seriously being considered as he could self-fund a campaign. These are unconventional times, and unprecedented, and they require the active participation of every citizen with a vested interest in replacing Scott Walker.

With nearly a million citizens already engaged in the process, the only way to select a candidate may well be a Democratic primary – a scenario the Democratic Party must accept, prepare for, and endorse. The momentum of this movement, unprecedented as it is, may also be able to overcome any amount of money spent by allies of Scott Walker. It will be the people’s loss if money is the final arbiter of the selected candidate. To that end, Badger Democracy is encouraging citizens to make their voices (and votes) heard in vetting the candidates.

At a recent gathering in Madison of progressive activists, journalists, and volunteers, everyone was asked to name their choices to run for Governor/Lt. Governor against Walker/Kleefisch. As unscientific as this poll was, it is of note that amongst these engaged citizens of Dane County, not one person cited Kathleen Falk as their candidate of choice. On that note, let the conversation begin…feel free to contact or email the Democratic Party with your thoughts as well, letting them know the people’s voices will be heard, or post comments to this blog, and they will be passed along to the party.

Now, the thoughts of this writer, and this writer only (not an endorsement or from any party or interest group):

Tom Barrett – You’ve got to be kidding…after the way Barbara Lawton was treated to get this politician on the ballot, his lackadaisical campaign loss to Walker, and public refusal to sign the petition or engage with any passion – never. Besides that baggage, we need a non-Milwaukee candidate to represent a statewide movement. If Milwaukee really wants him, they can have him…sadly, they may not have a choice.

Kathleen Falk – With all due respect to Kathleen, she would most definitely stand up for working, middle class Wisconsin and reverse much of the damage done by Scott Walker. However, she may not be able to even carry Dane County after her campaign against Peg Lautenschlager of recent past. Also, as noted above, we also need a statewide candidate from outside Dane County, just as Milwaukee County. 

Herb Kohl – Again, with all due respect to the Senior Senator, there is no evidence past that Herb Kohl would stand for Progressive values in Wisconsin. While he would very likely win if he were to run (due to the money factor), that again should not be the final arbiter. Has he signed the recall petition? Has he engaged with grassroots organizations? Herb Kohl has a lot of questions to answer before he becomes a progressive choice for Governor.

Ron Kind – Mr. Never -met-a-free-trade-deal-I-didn’t-like…Never.

There are others who have floated their names – Mahlon Mitchell, Peter Barca, Jon Erpenbach, Dave Obey…none of whom have demonstrated the level of interest of the three candidates above. Both Erpenbach and Mitchell seem to have backed away from running (probably for the better – the future for them would be better). Obey’s position and record as a lobbyist would be severe baggage against Walker. Peter Barca would indeed make a fine candidate – he has been an outspoken champion of the movement, and would stand for Progressives and the people. Time will tell if he declares…

For all you starry-eyed dreamers, Russ Feingold is out…really. While he would win, he has expressed no interest in running. Period. Another great candidate in Barbara Lawton was treated so poorly by her own party in the race against Tom Barrett (how did that turn out?) she will not run.

A word of caution – let your voice be heard, lest the Party and the power brokers hijack this movement in a return to a Doyle – style of Democrat. One who is beholden to corporate interests as our current Governor is – maintain momentum, make your voice heard, and stay strong. This writer’s choice…?

While we do not know his interest (or lack thereof) in running against Scott Walker, Badger Democracy would like to see a ticket of Steve Kagen (Appleton) for Governor and Corey Mason for Lieutenant Governor.

Again, let the conversation (and activism) continue…solidarity!