Friday, September 23, 2011

Is Neal Kedzie The Right Senator To Negotiate Native Americans' Mining Concerns?

State Sen. Neal Kedzie, (R-Elkhorn), appointed head of a special state senate committee to write a fast-tracked mining bill, says he will be "respectful of Native Americans' request" in the process.

I wrote about this yesterday, but confess to burying the lede.

The Bad River band in northern Wisconsin has already said it opposes the planned iron ore open pit mine because of watershed pollution and other concerns.

Kedzie's pledge would carry more weight if he had not also been a leader in the fight to allow state schools to retain mascot images and names to which some Native Americans object.

Here's the headline on the story from a paper in Kedzie's district:

Kedzie joins effort to repeal race-based school nickname bill

Kedzie and ally Mary Lazich had a different set of priorities than concern for Native Americans' requests:
— State senators Neal Kedzie and Mary Lazich are working on a bill to repeal the law that allows challenges to race-based school nicknames.
The Mukwonago School District recently was ordered to end their use of the name Indians at the high school.
"The state is in much different hands now," Lazich told the Mukwonago Chief, referring to the recent election which led to the switch from a Democratic governor, Assembly and Senate to a Republican governor, Assembly and Senate.
Kedzie explained he thought the law was unfair to the school district, which bears the burden of being found guilty and then having to defend itself after the fact. He also said the debate over logos and mascots should be left to the district, not mandated by the state.
The bill died in committee.

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