/ Letters / What the people support

What the people support

May 26, 2020

To the Editor:

I broke out laughing. It was when I read the statement by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, “As a Republican, I believe in local control.” Here’s the context.

Like so many other governors, Evers had imposed a “safer at home” order for the state. He was following the guidance of health experts, and under his leadership, Wisconsin was faring better than its neighbors. No wonder a strong majority of Wisconsinites supports his policy.

The Republican state legislature would have none of it. Once again, political power was more important than the health of our citizens. So when the Evers administration partially extended the safer at home order with some common sense loosening, the Republicans in Madison took it to their obedient state Supreme Court, where by a slim 4-3 vote, Wisconsin was “liberated” — free to ignore scientific recommendations and generate a second wave of the virus. 

When taking the case to court, the Republicans claimed they wanted to work with Evers to create a state plan. But once they sealed their victory, they were no longer interested. The new motto was local control, but it was just another example of abdication of responsibility and failure of leadership. 

Of course the irony of the local control comment is that since seizing political power in 2010, Wisconsin Republicans, including Rob Swearingen and Tom Tiffany, have made the abolition of local control a major theme. Examples? Taking away our ability to protect of our lakes through lakeshore zoning. Mandating that counties use taxpayer money meant for local public schools to pay for out-of-county voucher schools. Prohibiting local government from defending the quality of local wetlands and groundwater in order to benefit corporations. I could go on — I have a nine-page list of examples. 

Robin Vos and Rob Swearingen: stop faking a commitment to local control and start prioritizing the people over your political power. You forced Wisconsin to be the only state to hold an in-person vote during a pandemic and now you have used the Supreme Court to prohibit the governor from establishing common sense safety rules. 

The people support a safe, science-based policy for reopening. We need a representative in the Assembly who, unlike Swearingen, will listen to the people. That is why I look forward to voting for Kirk Bangstad.


David Barnhill

Hazelhurst


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