Tag: Lena Taylor

Three Wisconsin endorsements for the August primaries

On August 9 of this year, Wisconsin voters will go to the polls to vote on candidates running in partisan primaries for both houses of Congress, seats in the Wisconsin State Legislature (all State Assembly districts and even-numbered State Senate districts), and many county-level offices that are elected on a partisan ballot.

I’ve already endorsed Russ Feingold in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary, Sarah Lloyd in the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary, and Jimmy Anderson in the 47th State Assembly District Democratic primary. In three other contested Democratic primaries in Wisconsin, I hereby announce endorsements.

3rd Congressional District – Myron Buchholz

I proudly endorse Myron Buchholz, who is running in the Democratic primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse). I wrote this blog post when Buchholz entered the race, but now I formally endorse Buchholz. Myron Buchholz is a strong progressive who will oppose any unjustified war, even if a Democratic president wants to lead our troops into a full-scale unjustified war. Ron Kind, on the other hand, is a corporate Democrat who supports the NRA’s agenda of proliferating guns into every part of American society. Furthermore, Buchholz opposes international trade deals, such as President Obama’s proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is supported by corporate Democrats like President Obama and Congressman Kind, but would result in tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of U.S. jobs being moved to low-wage countries like Vietnam. Buchholz believes in protecting America’s economy, not allowing foreign countries to take our jobs.

4th State Senate District – Mandela Barnes

I proudly endorse Mandela Barnes, who is running in the Democratic primary against incumbent State Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee). Lena Taylor is probably the most right-wing Democrat in the Wisconsin State Legislature, being a supporter of the NRA’s gun proliferation agenda, a supporter of giving taxpayer money to religious schools, and a political ally of Scott Walker. Mandela Barnes, who was named after the late, great South African leader Nelson Mandela, is obviously more progressive than Lena.

Dane County District Attorney – Ismael Ozanne

I proudly endorse Ismael Ozanne, who is seeking re-election for the job of top prosecutor in Wisconsin’s most progressive county. Ozanne is facing a primary challenge from Bob Jambois, a close ally of State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha). Jambois is from Kenosha County, which is nearly 50 miles from Dane County (measured as distance between Cambridge, Wisconsin and Genoa City, Wisconsin), and Jambois is a former Kenosha County District Attorney. Jambois is a carpetbagger and not a native Dane County resident.

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Wisconsin Democratic convention provides first real sign of Berniementum

Although Hillary Clinton received the most votes among the 511 individuals who voted in the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW) Convention straw poll, Hillary received only a plurality of the vote in the straw poll, with progressives mostly united around Bernie Sanders, who came in a surprisingly close (even to a Sanders supporter like myself) second place.

Here are the results of the Wisconsin Democratic presidential straw poll:

  • 1st – Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of New York – 252 (49.32%)
  • 2nd – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont – 208 (40.70%)
  • T-3rd – Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware – 16 (3.13%)
  • T-3rd – Former Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland – 16 (3.13%)
  • 5th – Former U.S. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia – 8 (1.57%)
  • 6th – Former Governor Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island – 5 (0.98%)
  • 7th – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (write-in) – 4 (0.78%)
  • 8th – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack of Iowa (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)

Of the 511 straw poll voters, 1 voter, or 0.20% of the total straw poll electorate, did not cast a valid vote for any candidate or write-in candidate in the presidential portion of the straw poll. Of the candidates who received at least one vote, Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley, and Chafee are officially running for the Democratic presidential nomination. A total of 8 candidates received at least one vote. Percentages given for each candidate’s vote total are percentages of the total straw poll electorate.

To say the least, this is the first real sign of trouble for the Hillary Clinton campaign in regards to the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Despite being perceived as the heavy favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary couldn’t even get a majority of the vote in the Wisconsin Democratic straw poll, whose electorate usually consists of Democratic diehards in Wisconsin. More importantly, the Wisconsin straw poll shows that Bernie’s campaign is gaining momentum in a huge way, as he received over 40% of the vote despite a near-blackout of Bernie’s campaign by the corporate media and the political establishment in this country.

The Wisconsin Democratic convention straw poll also featured a gubernatorial straw poll, in which no candidate came even close to a majority of the vote, although there is currently a very strong preference for a gubernatorial candidate from the western part of Wisconsin among many of the Wisconsin Democrats who participated in the straw poll. Here are the results of the gubernatorial straw poll, which also saw 511 ballots cast:

  • 1st – State Senator Kathleen Vinehout of Alma – 149 (29.16%)
  • 2nd – State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse – 89 (17.42%)
  • 3rd – U.S. Representative Ron Kind of La Crosse – 85 (16.63%)
  • 4th – State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha – 64 (12.52%)
  • 5th – Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson of Kaukauna – 55 (10.76%)
  • 6th – Dane County Executive Joe Parisi of Madison – 11 (2.15%)
  • T-7th – Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk of Madison (write-in) – 3 (0.59%)
  • T-7th – Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold of Middleton (write-in) – 3 (0.59%)
  • T-7th – State Senator Chris Larson of Milwaukee (write-in) – 3 (0.59%)
  • T-7th – State Assembly Assistant Minority Leader Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point (write-in) – 3 (0.59%)
  • T-11th – Business executive Kevin Conroy of Madison (write-in) – 2 (0.39%)
  • T-11th – Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ of Jefferson (write-in) – 2 (0.39%)
  • T-11th – Former Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate of Milwaukee (write-in) – 2 (0.39%)
  • T-11th – State Representative Chris Taylor of Madison (write-in) – 2 (0.39%)
  • T-11th – State Senator Lena Taylor of Milwaukee (write-in) – 2 (0.39%)
  • T-16th – State Representative Mandela Barnes of Milwaukee (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – Madison Metropolitan School Board Member Mary Burke of Madison (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – Mayor John Dickert of Racine (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – State Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – Political activist Mike McCabe of Madison (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – U.S. Representative Gwen Moore of Milwaukee (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – Mayor Justin Nickels of Manitowoc (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – U.S. Representative Mark Pocan of Town of Vermont (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – Manufacturers’ sales representative Neal Plotkin of Milwaukee (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)
  • T-16th – State Representative Dana Wachs of Eau Claire (write-in) – 1 (0.20%)

Of the 511 straw poll voters, 25 voters, or 4.89% of the total electorate, did not cast a valid vote for any candidate or write-in candidate in the gubernatorial portion of the straw poll. I am unsure about which municipalities Joe Parisi and Mike Tate live in; as a result, I listed either the county seat of their home county (for Parisi) or their birthplace (for Tate). Some sources list Mark Pocan as living in either Madison or Black Earth; Pocan’s campaign website lists him as a resident of the Town of Vermont in Dane County. WisPolitics.com misspelled the name of Justin Nickels on their online results sheet; they listed Nickels as “Justin Nichols”, likely due to the individual who wrote-in Nickels misspelling his last name. The only information I could find about anyone from Wisconsin named Neal Plotkin is from a 2012 article in The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle that listed Plotkin as a manufacturers’ sales representative from Milwaukee, so this is presumably the Neal Plotkin that the individual cast a write-in vote for. A total of 26 candidates received at least one vote. Percentages given for each candidate’s vote total are percentages of the total straw poll electorate.

While the race for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Wisconsin hasn’t really begun to take shape three and a half years from the next gubernatorial election in Wisconsin, there is already a strong preference for a candidate from the western part of Wisconsin. While Kathleen Vinehout got a plurality of the straw poll vote, she didn’t even come close to a majority of the vote, and the top three candidates, which received a combined 63.21% of the vote, all come from the western part of Wisconsin.

If I had been a Wisconsin resident, a delegate to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention, and a participant in the straw poll, I would have voted for Bernie Sanders in the presidential portion of the straw poll and would have wrote-in Lori Compas in the gubernatorial portion of the straw poll (I would never write-in my own name in a straw poll, even though I would be open to the idea of running for Governor of Wisconsin in 2018 if I move to Wisconsin before 2018). Of the candidates who received at least one vote in the gubernatorial portion of the straw poll, I have a favorable opinion of Parisi, Feingold, Shankland, Chris Taylor, Barnes, Hansen, McCabe, Moore, and Pocan, with McCabe, the head of the progressive group Blue Jean Nation, being my favorite of those.

Wisconsin State Senate Democratic leader Jennifer Shilling appoints pro-school voucher Democrat to state legislative finance committee

It’s been only a couple of weeks since Jennifer Shilling, a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Senate from La Crosse, was unanimously selected by the Democratic state senate caucus to be the new minority leader of the state senate, yet she’s already pissing off Wisconsin progressives and rural voters in a big way.

Shilling assigned 2 state senators to the Wisconsin State Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (which consists of 16 total members; since Republicans control both chambers of the legislature, 12 are Republicans (six from each chamber) and 4 are Democrats (two from each chamber)). One of Shilling’s picks for the joint finance committee is Jon Erpenbach of Middleton, who has built up a progressive record on most issues as a longtime member of the state senate. However, Shilling’s other pick is Lena Taylor of Milwaukee, who, despite representing a district that has a large black population and votes overwhelmingly for Democrats, is a conservative Democrat who has supported, among other things, the gun lobby’s agenda, giving corrupt Milwaukee County Executive Chris “Boss” Abele more political power, and school vouchers.

For Jennifer Shilling to assign a staunch supporter of privatizing public education like Lena Taylor (the only time she voted against the charter school/school voucher lobby that I know of was when a statewide school voucher program was tied into the Wisconsin state budget) to a committee that is responsible for reviewing legislation on all bills that affect state revenue and expenditures (including education funding, proves that Shilling doesn’t give a rip about public education in Wisconsin. The Republicans that control Wisconsin’s state government are planning on enacting more legislation to privatize and destroy Wisconsin’s public school system, so for Shilling to pick Taylor for a committee that oversees, among other things, state education funding in Wisconsin is downright asinine.

Most of Shilling’s own constituents (Shilling represents a district that includes the La Crosse metro area and mostly rural areas to the south of La Crosse) are strongly opposed to taxpayer money being diverted from public schools to fund private schools, but Taylor wants to divert money from public schools all across Wisconsin into school voucher programs, which could force the closure of many rural school districts in Wisconsin, possibly including some school districts in Shilling’s own state senate district. To put this another way, Shilling is effectively aiding and abetting the Republicans’ push to destroy public education in Wisconsin.

Jennifer Shilling, the new Wisconsin State Senate Minority Leader, has done more to piss off progressives and rural voters in a little over two weeks than the previous Wisconsin State Senate Minority Leader, Chris Larson, did to piss off progressives and rural voters in nearly two years. The current Democratic leadership in Wisconsin has driven the Democratic Party of Wisconsin into political irrelevancy by giving political cover to the Republicans at every opportunity, and the new Democratic leaders in Wisconsin are even worse in this regard by actively helping Republicans implement their far-right agenda. It’s time for a large-scale push by Wisconsin progressives to divide and conquer the Democratic Party of Wisconsin by railing against the out-of-touch Democratic leadership and getting actual progressives elected to public offices and state and local party positions in Wisconsin.