Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Randolph Brandt is right: Recall Van Wanggaard. Now.

with 2 comments

Folks, Randolph Brandt is mad at my state Senator, Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), and he’s not afraid to say so.  In a recent op-ed published by the Racine Journal-Times, Brandt excoriates Wanggaard for many of the same reasons I have, including:

  • Being a former police union member and voting against collective bargaining.
  • Being a former police union representative, yet still voting against collective bargaining.
  • Criticizing the practice of “double-dipping” (where someone takes a pension in two places from various state entities), while benefiting from that self-same practice himself.
  • Stripped $2M of expected state tax revenue from the City of Racine, meaning the City must either raise taxes or cut services (or, as seems to be the case, both).
  • Cut over $16M aid to Racine’s public school system.
  • Voted for district 21 to be “redistricted” as Racine and Kenosha counties, which usually tend to vote for Republicans, and district 22 to be comprised of the Cities of Racine and Kenosha, which tend to vote for Democrats.

All of this is bad enough, but the fact that Wanggaard doesn’t seem to see any of it as a problem is quite distressing.  Brandt states:

Under a gerrymandered redistricting plan approved by the Republicans and scheduled to go into effect with the November elections, Sen. Wanggaard was to be rewarded with a nice, safe, new Republican-dominated district that’s designed to excise the City of Racine from its new boundaries.

With this plan, your supposed state senator, Van Wanggaard, won’t represent you at all anymore. He’ll exchange the Racine voters he’s failed to support in favor of a whole bunch of new voters in western Kenosha County instead.

Basically, he’ll desert us, the citizens of Racine, leaving us to suffer for his poor decisions.

As I’ve been saying this for months now, it’s good to know that at least one newspaperman agrees with me.  (Brandt is the former editor of the Racine Journal-Times.)  Brandt’s commentary explains what voters should do to Wanggaard (in essence, why Wanggaard should be recalled), and concludes with the following:

Don’t stand by and watch him be rewarded for this faithlessness to his Racine constituents, the Racine voters who helped elect him in the first place.

Stop him before he skips town, across that new, safe border he voted to establish for himself, just as he once negotiated the union contract that now pays his Racine city pension. Stop him, before he gets away, reneging on his civic debt to you, for you to pay yourself.

Recall Sen. Wanggaard while you still can, before he gets away with it, before he walks away, laughing at you — the citizens of Racine — well knowing he’s left you holding the bag, for his city pension, for his budget cuts, and for his hypocrisy. 

So, did you catch all that?  Brandt criticizes Wanggaard for Wanggaard’s hypocrisy — something I have railed against for months — and points out to the voters of Racine County that Wanggaard’s own actions have brought Wanggaard to this point, which is certainly the case.

You see, many people in Racine knew Van Wanggaard because Wanggaard was a long-time city policeman.  Then Wanggaard was a County Supervisor.  And finally, in a heavily Republican year, he squeaked out an election and won the state Senate seat — mostly because people felt they knew Wanggaard and that he wouldn’t vote against the best economic interests of the City of Racine.

Yet that wasn’t the case, was it?

Racine is still locked in a cycle of extremely high unemployment (we’ve been either first or second in the state, unemployment-wise, for years now), and Wanggaard hasn’t exactly done much about it except pay it some lip service.  Yet Wanggaard has had a full year in office to have tried to do something — economic development, a bit of extra state aid, something — and he hasn’t done one blessed thing.

This is why I’ve heard from so many people in Racine, City and County, who’ve said variations on the theme of, “I expected better from Van.”  Or, “What is Wanggaard’s problem?  Doesn’t he realize we’re suffering?  Doesn’t he care?”

I don’t know whether Wanggaard realizes it, cares about it, or whether we should’ve expected better from him.  But I do know this: I was very proud to sign my name to Wanggaard’s recall petition, and I was glad to gather some signatures (not as many as I’d hoped) on behalf of his recall. 

I fully expect that Wanggaard not only will be forced to a recall election, but he will be replaced by a Democrat once the recall election is called (probably former state Senator John Lehman, though no one has officially announced his/her candidacy as of yet), staged, and counted.

As he’s sown, so will he reap — and in this case, Wanggaard has reaped the whirlwind.  As Senator Wanggaard deserves all of what is about to befall him, I cannot feel sorry for him.

Oh, yes.  One more thing:  May I be the first, Senator, to wish you well in your impending retirement from public life?


Note:  From unofficial sources, it looks like state Senators Galloway and Moulton also will be recalled, while there’s still a chance to recall Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.  All signatures must be gathered by Saturday at 11:59 PM, so all I can say to those trying to recall Fitz is, “Good luck, God/dess bless, and may the wind be at your back.”

And, of course, Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch will be recalled — easily — as I fully expect upwards of 850,000 apiece to recall (when 540,000 was the number required by law, that being 1/4 of the total vote of the last gubernatorial election) to be turned in on January 17, 2012 — four days from now.  I’ll keep you posted.

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 13, 2012 at 9:30 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I was very proud to sign his recall petition too. I was actually wiping my hands together while waiting in anticipation…


    January 16, 2012 at 2:55 am

    • Yes, there definitely was an air of anticipation in Racine. But did you hear the Rs latest “defense” to the recall petitions that are about to be turned in (tomorrow due to today being a national holiday)? Scott Walker says that since it looks like 800K signed the petitions against him, that means that _more_ people actually _like_ him than dislike him!

      I don’t know where he gets his information, but that’s obviously wrong. Just because “only” 800,000 people look to have signed his recall petition, that isn’t exactly good news for him in that this was way over 1/3 (more like 3/8) of the people who voted in the last gubernatorial election. And it’s obvious that there were more people who wanted to sign the petition who never got the opportunity; some didn’t have any idea how to find the recall offices. (In Racine, we had good coverage of this; everyone who reads should have had a good idea of where the recall Walker/Wanggaard/Kleefisch office was. But that isn’t the case everywhere else.)

      I think Walker’s “game face” is ridiculously dumb. He’d be better off to admit that Wisconsin’s obviously really angry with him and he’ll try to govern more on a bipartisan basis. But I doubt he has the intelligence for such a strategy.

      BTW, according to the FB group Recall Scott Fitzgerald (along with the Journal-Sentinel, which is now harder to get at because of them starting to charge after you’ve read thirty articles there), S. Fitzgerald _has been recalled_. They *did* get the signatures there. And while they aren’t as far over as Wanggaard, or Galloway, or Moulton (all of those had thousands over the minimum), they did get at least 1,000 extra signatures — or so it appears — so it appears likely that Scott Fitzgerald is headed straight to recall and he isn’t happy about it. (Picture me playing the world’s smallest violin for him, will you?)

      Barb Caffrey

      January 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm

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