Sunday, June 24, 2018

WI Dem. gubernatorial field - bright, passionate, large - drops by Mequon

Some observations from the Democratic gubernatorial candidates' forum in Mequon Sunday hosted by the progressive activist organization Grassroots Northshore. 
Scores turned out in Mequon to hear seven Democratic candidates discuss the environment, climate change, mass incarceration, local control, education, health care, wage and other issues. The candidates, left to right, seated, were Mike McCabe, Mahlon Mitchell, Matt Flynn, Kathleen Vinehout (blocked by forum assistant, standing), Kelda Roys, Paul Soglin and Tony Evers.
* I was glad to see solid attendance on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I counted more than 200 attendees as the discussion began at about 3:30 p.m.

*  All of the candidates are on the liberal/progressive side of the issues, and are very well-informed; any of the seven would far better represent Wisconsin residents - - rural and urban- - than the ideologically-far rightwing, special-interest obeisant incumbent.

*  At this point, it’s a congenial group, without personal attacks, and focused on Walker and progressive solutions to issues. As the primary approaches, fissures among the seven would take no one by surprise. Nor would it be a shock if another candidate or two left the field, as money and strong polling numbers are limited assets.

*  None of the hopefuls had during the forum what you would call a break-out moment, and that is not surprising given the large field (seven) and thus the need to answer questions with brevity.

*  All the candidates played to strengths in their resumes.

*  By any measurement - - age, race, gender, public sector experience, private sector experience, and more - - it's a diverse group.

I know Madison Mayor Paul Soglin best among the candidates, as I worked for him in the mid-to-late '70's. The others I know principally by reputation and achievement. I thought Soglin did well highlighting Madison’s full replacement of water piping containing lead and use of innovative, neighborhood-based health-care assistants he called "navigators."

Some other brief highlights:

Mike McCabe, formerly executive director of the campaign-spending watchdog organization Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, has a pretty good rap down about  special-interest money driving environmental and other systemic government pollution.

Attorney Matt Flynn was particularly strong against Foxconn, calling the deal Walker made criminally negligent, "if not fraud," and pledging to cancel it.

Small-business owner and former State Representative Kelda Roys spoke passionately about women's health care and reproductive rights.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers strongly condemned Walker's anti-union, teacher-hammering Act 10, and stressed as Governor he'd bring science back to the DNR.

Kathleen Vinehout told the audience her State Senate territory in the western part of the state has more mines than any other district - - sand mines, to be exact - - so she knew first hand that the lack of DNR enforcement inspections under Walker was harming the environment.

Mahlon Mitchell, a lieutenant on the Madison Fire Department and president of its local firefighters' union, echoed the panelists' concerns about the environment, said that a clean environment was good for the economy, and noted he was a deer hunter. 

All, not surprisingly, had nothing good to say about Walker.

Soglin put it this way:"He just doesn't care."

No comments: