And here we go again in Wisconsin…of idiots and ideologues

Hear me, people: We have now to deal with another race – small and feeble when our Fathers first met them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough they have a mind to till the soil, and the love of possession is a disease with them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break, but the poor may not. They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule. (Chief Sitting Bull, Powder River Conference, 1877)

Is there a better processional for the parade of idiots and ideologues in the 2013 Legislative Session? The People who were here long before Wisconsin became a state were led by visionaries that understood the motivation of a white man corrupt with power.

A Mining Bill is poised to pass out of both committees this week, on the fast track to a swift vote within weeks. A bill which would mean devastation to one of the world’s great supplies of freshwater. Water which means life not only to an indigenous people, but those who have since settled and call the Bad River watershed and Lake Superior Basin home. But damn the torpedoes, science, and those inconvenient geological facts…full speed ahead Mr. and Ms. Chairman/Woman, we have (paying) corporate constituents to serve.

The only hope for defeat of this bill lies in the Republican-controlled Senate, and the possibility that four of its members still listen to a little voice most of us hear as a conscience. Dale Schultz, Mike Ellis, Robert Cowles, and Luther Olsen may be the only sane Republicans left in this biennial assemblage of insanity we still call a “Legislature.” This writer holds out hope that the smokescreen of empty jobs promises is wearing thin in a state moving closer to honorable entry into socio-economic “Dixie”…and further away from its progressive roots.

Has there been a time in our state’s recent history which more closely resembles oligarchy than democracy? The unholy triumvirate of Walker, Fitzgerald, and Vos…let’s face it, in 2010 Jeff Fitzgerald was nothing but a figurehead. Vos is, and has been pulling the strings all along. I digress. This triumvirate has the state government in lockdown, controlling the message in and out, controlling debate, the media, and god forbid anyone should sing in the Capitol. Every moment of every day is a campaign. Public policy is built on a campaign strategy, and supported by money. Lots of it. If you are on the right (literally) side, the money pool is almost unlimited. If you are on the wrong side…well, money doesn’t follow losers. And no money, no access.

Even the Capitol press corps is being kept on a short leash, with passes and access being strictly controlled by the powerful few. Say the wrong thing, write the story the wrong way, come across as the least bit partisan (read – report what we tell you to), and no access for you. End of story, end of job as a Capitol correspondent. This sort of power concentration is rare in Wisconsin. Scott Walker has power, and he is using it.

Walker is raising unprecedented amounts of money, and spending a lot of it on his legal defense fund. Let’s all be honest here…something stinks about the way Walker has campaigned, raised money, and conducted his business in and out of office. His administration is loaded with insiders, fixers, and power mongers. No interest in governing, just power and money. Crooks, liars, sharks. The smart money is that there is something illegal here…but that same money doubts the political will of a Milwaukee County DA to take on the Walker machine. But the Feds? Reminds me of something…

Richard Nixon in 1972. Re-elected, destroying McGovern in a landslide. Everyone knew, but few said it, that Richard Milhous Nixon was a crook. The media knew – but sat on the story until after the election. Once there was blood in the water, the media went in for the kill. Before Watergate, Nixon was untouchable, and had concentrated more power than almost any other president in history. The scary part is, once the scab was ripped off, no one knew how bad the wound was, or how long it would take to heal. Maybe it never has…and maybe we failed to learn the lessons of too much power in the hands of a man like Nixon…or Scott Walker. And so here we go again…in Wisconsin.

There is some light, in this dark time of plutocracy. There are voices rising above the din, who don’t rely on a Capitol press pass. We are getting one back tomorrow. John “Sly” Sylvester is back on the air Monday, February 4th from 3 – 6:30 pm. Sly will be on one of the last remaining locally owned and independent stations in the entire country – 93.7FM WEKZ. He’ll now have a three state reach – Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. Sly will also be contributing to the good fight against Democrats who are mere posers in our neighboring states – like Rahm “NAFTA, TIF King, Kill Public Schools” Emanuel, and Pat “screw the pension fund” Quinn. Station link to listen live here.

I’ll be listening. Why? Because in this time of incredible propaganda, Sly is honest about what he says and believes. He’ll question and confront both Republicans and Democrats who turn their back on Wisconsin working families. And that is important.

The new debate on economics and education will continue to demonize teachers and other public employees. It will perpetuate the myth of impending fiscal doom to preserve the wealth of those paying to spread that myth. Scott Walker will continue to do what Sitting Bull warned about in 1877: They take their tithes from the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule.” It is voices like Sly’s we need to call out the Walkers, Fitzes, Vos’ Emanuels, Ryans, and Johnsons of our time for what and who they are. Greedy, power-hungry, sharks and fixers who are out for blood. The life blood of Wisconsin – its people and resources in exchange for money and power.

A final quote before sign-off…a warning shot across the bow of our fragile democracy:

When democracy granted democratic methods to us in times of opposition, this was bound to happen in a democratic system. However, we…never asserted that we represented a democratic point of view, but we have declared openly that we used the democratic methods only to gain power, and that, after assuming the power, we would deny to our adversaries without any consideration the means which were granted to us in times of our opposition.

No, that was not from a Walker secret conversation with Robin Vos.

It was Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, 1935 propaganda pamphlet, quoted in Vol. I “Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression,” US Government Printing Office 1946 

Vigilance. Always vigilance.


Walker, Vos and Darling Train Fiasco – Everybody Pays…twice

The day before Election Day, Badger Democracy reported on the train maker Talgo filing a lawsuit against Governor Scott Walker, DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb, and the state for “default of contract.”  In brief:

Train manufacturer Talgo filed a “Default of Contract” suit against Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb in Dane County Circuit Court today. Court documents filed today show that the Washington-based train manufacturer notified the state on April 4, 2012 that the “trainsets” were ready for required service testing to be conducted by WisDOT.

The state has attempted to claim that Talgo is responsible for testing, but the contract makes clear that WisDOT bears that responsibility.

The trainsets in question were not ordered for the controversial rail expansion to Madison. These trains are for use on the highly traveled Milwaukee to Chicago “Hiawatha” line. Coming on the heels of the WEDC/HUD block grant fiasco, DOT Secretary Gottlieb quickly issued a statement on November 5 to Badger Democracy, in full damage control mode:

The Department of Transportation participated in a formal mediation process with Talgo just last week in a good faith effort to resolve disputes related to the delivery of completed trainsets. We are disappointed that process was not successful.

Talgo has failed to complete or test the trainsets and they do not meet even basic federal standards, such as those required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The department will defend against this action and continue to act in the best interests of Wisconsin taxpayers.” (emphasis added)
Badger Democracy forwarded Secretary Gottlieb’s response to Lester Pines, Attorney for Talgo. In an interview, Pines offered the following response:
1. As stated in the lawsuit filing, the State of Wisconsin failed to make a $4.5 million contract payment to Talgo, as a means to attempt to force Talgo into conducting “pre-revenue” testing of the trains. Per the contract, this “pre-revenue” testing is the state’s responsibility. Contract excerpt below:
All parties acknowledge and accept that 49 CFR 238.111 provides that the Operator (or railroad, as the case may be) not the Contractor is responsible for performing a pre-revenue service acceptance testing plan. Contractor will diligently work with Department and such Operator to ensure that the Operator’s pre-revenue service acceptance testing plan is efficiently implemented.
2. The state is alleging in the statement that the trainsets do not meet ADA accessibility requirements. This is not true. The trains have been warranted by Talgo to meet every FRA and ADA standard. One minor deficiency has been corrected by a simple part replacement.
3. The state has had an escape clause in the contract which it could have used at any time. It did not. The state could also have declared Talgo in breach of contract at any time for legitimate reasons. It did not.
4. The state of Wisconsin put up a $50 million capital bond issue to pay for the trains. If the state is found in breach of contract, Talgo gets their trains back, and the state no longer will own the capital for which the bond issue was made. The state would be required to repay the $50 million – out of General Program Revenue.
A Legislative Fiscal Bureau March 14, 2012 memo to Robin Vos and Alberta Darling’s Joint Committee on Finance (JCF) confirm many of Talgo’s assertions. The memo also  gave legislators plenty of advance notice on this issue, and made specific recommendations (emphasis added):

The state purchased two passenger car train sets in 2009 from Talgo, a Spanish train manufacturer.

A total of $68.9 million in passenger rail development bonds has been approved for the purchase of the rail cars ($48.5 million), as well as other costs related to construction management, purchase of maintenance equipment, and a temporary maintenance facility.

The train sets are now nearing completion, and are scheduled to be delivered to the state for initial testing in mid-March. Following testing, the cars would be ready for use on the Milwaukee to Chicago service, likely in late 2012.

Under that agreement, the state is responsible for providing a facility for the maintenance and for making payments to Talgo for
ongoing maintenance costs. [In anticipation of the completion of the Talgo cars, 2011 Act 32 provided $4,450,000 SEG in 2011-12 and $6,700,000 SEG in 2012-13 in the Department’s passenger rail service appropriation for start-up maintenance costs.]

According to the LFB memo, maintenance costs were an issue of significance. Alternative solutions were offered, including a renegotiation of the maintenance agreement:


1. Approve the Department’s request for the approval of $2,500,000 in passenger rail development bonding for final design engineering for a permanent maintenance facility for the
State’s passenger rail cars.

2. Deny the request.

3. Deny the request and direct the Department to reimburse any expenditures for the maintenance facility preliminary engineering that were made with bonds from the Department’s SEG appropriation for passenger rail service, to the extent that unencumbered funds are available in that appropriation.

4. Deny the request for additional funding and direct the Department to attempt to renegotiate the maintenance agreement with Talgo to reduce ongoing maintenance costs and, if feasible, the cost of the permanent maintenance facility. Direct the Department, in any subsequent request for funding for maintenance-related services, to report to the Committee on
the status of these negotiations.

Walker, Vos, and Darling all knew exactly what this contract entailed. They wanted to kill any new rail development as payback to their transportation construction political cronies, so they did nothing – even though it would cost taxpayers millions above and beyond the cost of honoring the contract. Vos and Darling were very vocal about how they were “saving taxpayers money” in a May 2012 edition of the Conservative-Digest.

Unfortunately, they failed to tell the whole story about the Talgo contract, and the specific issues surrounding the inevitable trainset replacement costs. You can read the entire LFB memo linked above. The LFB estimates do not include extra costs associated with continuing to use Amtrak maintenance – so the Vos/Darling  article is conveniently leaving out key details. The last few lines of their joint article are the most important:

Luckily, the state has options. According to
the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, if no funds were
given for the Talgo maintenance facility, the
“agreement can be terminated by either party.”
So that’s where we are now.

Wisconsin taxpayers were taken for a ride by
Doyle and the Democrats. We’re proud to say
that the ride is coming to an end.

Not quite Governor Walker, Representative Vos, and Senator Darling. When Talgo wins this lawsuit, Wisconsin taxpayers will be the ones paying back the $50 million in revenue to replace the bond issue – as you will have lost the capital purchased by those bonds.

And the trains – they will still have to be replaced in just a few short years anyway. In essence, we will end up paying for them twice. Though, after defaulting on the Talgo contract, will anyone do business with Wisconsin? Maybe we’ll be able to ride Chinese trains from Milwaukee to Chicago.

Lost loans at WEDC, federal block grant money distributed without authority, contract breaches, lost capital from bond issue, former aides convicted…

This is acting “…in the best interests of the taxpayers of Wisconsin…?”

The Mining Bill – Schultz stands firm, and what Fighting Bob would say…

On Wednesday, February 29, Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz issued a statement that remains one of the only responsible, non-partisan, and thoughtful actions by a Republican in the 2011-2012 Legislative Session. Schultz listened to his constituents, the residents who would be affected by mining, statewide testimony, scientific experts, and stated that he could not “in good conscience” support any of the current legislation on mining now before the Legislature. With the GOP majority merely a single vote, this made the Mining Bills in the Senate and Assembly (sb488 and ab426“all but dead.”

The previous hearings on the mining bill  have offered hours of testimony (Mellen, and Platteville hearings can be viewed at the preceding links to wiseye) and ideas both opposed to and supporting mining in Wisconsin. Even amongst those supporting mining, they do so consistently with a keen eye on environmental and local economic issues. One need only compare the testimony given in those hearings with the statement of “compromise” issued by Rep. Vos and Senator Darling  ; to realize that unlike Schultz and Senator Bob Jauch, the GOP is only concerned with making the mining industry in Wisconsin happy – and eventually very, very wealthy at taxpayers’ (and the environments’) expense. Vos, Darling, and the rest of the GOP Legislators (with a little “prompting” from bill advocates Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce) have scheduled a final hearing on BOTH bills in the powerful Joint Finance Committee on Monday, March 5. All GOP Senators (save Dale Schultz) have now signed on as sponsors or co-authors of the bill. The heat has been turned up on Dale Schultz with the session coming to a close on March 15. The voices of those Wisconsinites giving personal and expert testimony have been set aside, in favor of an out-of-state, corporate profiteering agenda.

It is time for all who believe in government of, by, and for the people; whether Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Socialist, or Independent to rally to the defense of Dale Schultz and all of Wisconsin. This movement continues to make history, and the momentum and passion must be sustained if a better politic in Wisconsin is to evolve. History is on our side. We have been here before, turned away the forces of greed and corporatics, only to have lost that momentum. Let us not lose this moment to complacency or despair; rather take the lesson of history to forward the cause.

In 1874, the Wisconsin Legislature enacted the “Potter Law” in response to growing railroad monopolies. The railroads were given free rein to govern themselves, with virtually no state or federal regulation and access to public land. On April 28, 1874, Governor Taylor signed the Potter Law, and the railroads immediately responded. Alexander Mitchell (Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul RR) and Albert Keep (Chicago and Northwestern RR) released a statement that their companies were both going to “disregard” the new law, as the state of Wisconsin was infringing on their right to practice business as they saw fit. Never mind that Potters law regulated rates and practices for fairness, discrimination, and “free passes” for elected officials (a common form of bribery); the company knew its business, and the state had no right imposing.

The case went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and on September 25, 1874, a landmark decision was written by Justice Ryan. In it, he stated that “corporations should exist as subordinates of the state which is their creator.” The ruling was upheld by Federal Appeals and US Supreme Courts. Potter’s Law stood…until the next election.

In an unprecedented (at that time) assault on Democracy, the railroads utilized their own newspaper media and communications (along with party bosses owned by the railroads) to publicly smear Governor Taylor, inventing stories of bribery and calling supporters of Potter’s Law “The American Karl Marx.” Their plot (and investment) worked. Taylor narrowly lost his re-election bid, and in the following session the Legislature repealed Potter’s Law. This sequence of events proved inspiring to Robert M. LaFollette in his early years as a politician.

LaFollette battled against corporate, “Robber Baron” crusaders with profit as their only goal – and their attempt to buy influence and legislation amounting to a hostile takeover of democracy, public land, and the public coffers. As is the case today, the influence these corporatics held over the political and fiscal state of our nation was immense.

In LaFollette’s second inaugural speech he stated, “The real danger to Democracy is in the corrupting influence of powerful business organizations upon the Representatives of the people. The real cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.”

The direction of legislation being forwarded by the current incarnation of the GOP eerily echoes legislation being passed a century ago. LaFollette observed “…all legislation in this era in the direction of exploitation of resources was under the claim of creating opportunity and increasing population.”  Read jobs, and benefitting the “job creators.”

It is our obligation in this movement to bring “more democracy” to the people. LaFollette won, and Wisconsin won a century ago by the direct actions of the people. That is our strength, which, as in LaFollette’s day, no amount of money could overcome. The movement will succeed, if we make it so through our actions – the Mining Bill is proof of that fact. Through public protest, outcry, engagement, and testimony this bill akin to the “Robber Baron” age will likely stall – the centerpiece of the current GOP. Take to heart these words of Robert M. LaFollette, from his “Defense of Free Speech” address to the US Senate in October of 1917, fighting a charge of sedition for speaking against war:

“Our government…is founded on the right of the people freely to discuss all matters pertaining to their government…How can that popular will express itself between elections except by meetings, speeches, publications, petitions, and by addresses to the representatives of the people? They must have the right to the freest possible discussion of EVERY question upon which their representative has acted, every measure he has supported, every vote he has cast, every speech he has made.”

The road government followed into 1924 led us into the Great Depression, as Progressives like LaFollette were voted down in Washington by powerful corporate interests. The collapse of the Market proved what plutocracy and despotism end up meaning for the middle class. The direction we are headed in today proves that the GOP is willing to reject that historical fact for the benefit of its 1% benefactors.

Just as the 1932 election ended that gilded age; let the end of this Mining Bill and the 2012 recall and regular elections prove to be the end of this gilded age. Lest the current GOP succeed in its destruction of the promises of the “New Deal”, the “Great Society”, and the Great Progressive era of Wisconsin a century ago.

Remember the history of this state, this movement, and what that promise holds for future generations. The Republican (and some Democratic) Party members by and large have forgotten…it is our duty to remind them.


Rep. Vos e-mail reveals Koch Industry lobbyists authored policy-pushing Milwaukee “Initiative”, now to be implemented statewide

An email obtained by Badger Democracy through Open Records Request  from Assembly Representative Robin Vos reveals the Greater Milwaukee Committee’s signature  “Make It Your Milwaukee County Initiative” was actually written by Smart Government, Inc., a group with direct lobbyist ties to Koch Industries Lobby, LLC.

On May 6, 2011 Badger Democracy submitted an open records request to Rep. Robin Vos for communications regarding lobbyist activity. On May 25, documents pertaining to the request were picked up at the Assembly Chief Clerk’s office. One of the emails is from Kathleen Walby, an attorney at Foley&Lardner in Madison. Walby is also a lobbyist with Smart Government, Inc. (The lobbying arm of the Greater Milwaukee Committee) in Milwaukee. During a highly publicized annual meeting, the “Make It Your Milwaukee County” Initiative was unveiled in February of 2011 by the Greater Milwaukee Committee. The GMC has heralded this initiative as a co-operative effort between public and private interests, and a “reasonable” course for saving the fiscally challenged Milwaukee County. The email to Robin Vos’ office, though only two sentences and one link long, speaks volumes as to the source and agenda of the “initiative.”

Smart Government, Inc., (SGI) as reported in previous blogs, is the lobbying arm of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. Three of the four lobbyists employed by SGI (Ray Carey, Jason Childress, and Kathleen Walby) are attorneys at Foley&Lardner in Madison, and are employed as lobbyists by Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC in Madison. The influence of Koch money and agenda in Wisconsin recently cannot be overstated. This brief email proves the corresponding agenda being pushed through this “Initiative” of The Greater Milwaukee Committee is inexorably linked to these lobbyists and their corporatic interests. The trail begins with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been drafting “model legislation” for use by ultra-conservative legislators in semi-secret for decades. Although legislators like Robin Vos (current state ALEC “chair”) pay a modest fee for membership, a vast majority of ALEC’s operating funds come from corporate “grants” to this “non-profit educational” foundation. One of the largest contributors and influences in ALEC is Koch Industries.  In December, 2010, ALEC released a “Budget Toolkit” for it’s legislative members. This “toolkit” created an agenda now being pushed in every Republican-controlled state in the nation, and cites biased, non-peer reviewed, ALEC-commissioned studies as rationale for radical legislative actions. It also includes recommendations for “model legislation” to combat the immenent fiscal disaster that surely awaits the United States. In essence, this “toolkit” takes advantage of the recent financial crisis. It promotes a corporatic agenda to legislators, more than willing to partake in the endless stream of campaign funds available from ALEC sponsors.

The “Make It Your Milwaukee County Initiative” released in February, 2011, cites three specific intiatives that mimic the policies presented in ALEC’s “toolkit.” In essence, this initiative is (using their own words) Smart Government Inc./Greater Milwaukee Committee’s “toolkit” for Wisconsin:

Initiative 1:

  • Develop a statewide fiscal stress test through the State Department of Revenue to help local governments maintain fiscal health.
  • Provide local governments with greater flexibility by ensuring that as labor contracts are crafted, they account for a broader range of considerations, including the fiscal challenges facing municipalities and counties.
  • Consolidate Milwaukee County’s health care and pension plans into the state’s plans. Isolate the existing Milwaukee County legacy pension costs in a “lockbox” separate from the state’s plan.
  • Reform the County’s mental health services for better outcomes, better quality of life and maximizing Medicaid reimbursement. Accomplish this by shifting from institutional models of care, focused on in-patient and crisis care, to a community care model that helps consumers maintain health and independence.

 Corresponding ALEC policies can be found in the ALEC “Budget Toolkit” link above – “Fiscal Stress Tests” and “Transparency” language are discussed in Section III, page 20 (also noted in previous Badger Democracy blogs); Health Service policies, Labor Contracts, and Consolidation in Section IV C, J  pages 24, 29(esp. Privatization section).

Initiative 2 :

  • Significantly reduce the number of supervisory districts to reflect the reduced function and budget of the County. Ensure through redistricting that the new Supervisory districts reflect the diversity of Milwaukee County.
  • Institute an elected Comptroller position by redefining the role of the County Treasurer to reflect the responsibilities and power of the City Elected Comptroller role.
  • Develop and implement pension savings strategies to complement statewide legislation including implementing a defined contribution plan for new employees, requiring an employee contribution, reducing the multiplier and/or raising the retirement age for existing employees. 
  • Bring retiree health care expenditures in line with national and state standards, including crafting health care options that incentivize both active and retired employees to select plans that will reduce the county’s health care costs.  

 The corresponding ALEC policies can be found in ALEC’s budget toolkit (link above) in section IV, page 23-24 (pension, health care policies); page 28-29 (comptroller replacing Treasurer); Walker has long advocated reducing or even eliminating the County Board and redistricting.

Initiative 3:

  • Spin-off the transit system to the Regional Transit Authority and include the airport.
  • Establish a parks and county-owned cultural assets district governed by an independent, elected district board and funded with a dedicated share of property tax.
  • Partner with municipalities to merge services where there is overlap (e.g., parks security, snow plowing, etc.). The state would assume additional Health and Human service functions.
  • Develop a master plan for County assets. Use the proceeds from the sale or lease of any county assets to pay down pension or other health care liabilities or general obligation debt.

Corresponding ALEC “Budget Toolkit” section IV  J,K,L on pages 29-37. This section encourages privatization, consolidation, and sale of municipal assets to raise funds to support privatized contracts.

Based on this simple email from Smart Government Inc/Koch Industries lobbyist and Foley&Lardner attorney Kathleen Walby, it is abundantly clear the influence of ALEC on the “Make It Your Milwaukee County” initiative. Nowhere in the public domain has “Make It Your Milwaukee County” been referred to as “Smart Government’s…initiative.” Released late in 2010, the ALEC “Budget Toolkit” was used as a template by SGI lobbyists to draft the “Make It Your Milwaukee County” initiative released in early 2011. To the public, this initiative has been presented as a cooperative effort by the Greater Milwaukee Committee. In reality, the Greater Milwaukee Committee has footed the bill and supported with open arms the Koch/ALEC agenda to be written by it’s Smart Government, Inc. lobby. Thanks to ALEC affiliated legislators like Vos and Darling, the agenda is now being pushed throughout the state. Mary Panzer, former Republican legislative leader, is also an ALEC alum and Smart Government Inc lobbyist (as of April 2011). The initiative is also being given a “locally driven” image, thanks to Smart Government Inc and the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

No more. The true nature of this initiative is public, and it is more of the corporatic agenda being driven at a national level. Welcome to the Wisconsin “Shock Doctrine.” These policy-pushing corporatists are taking advantage of the recent financial crisis to attempt systematic destruction of Progressive Wisconsin. Naomi Klein (“The Shock Doctrine”) names the three hallmarks of this type of “disaster capitalism” – privatization, government deregulation, and deep cuts to social spending. Sound familiar? It is no coincidence the parties pushing these policies have been warning of economic doom. No coincidence the policies listed above accomplish all three of the required hallmarks of corporatist agenda. No coincidence Kathleen Walby referred to the “Make It Your Milwaukee County Initiative” as Smart Government’s. They own it, along with Koch Industries and all the other Corporatists looking to plunder Wisconsin’s resources for their own profit. Spread the word – don’t believe the lie. We are not broke. We need to be progressive now more than ever to preserve and save the middle class in Wisconsin and America.  

 Postscript: For the record, Robin Vos, Kathleen Walby, Brian Schupper, and The Greater Milwaukee Committee were contacted for comment on record. All refused or did not respond.