Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk Pulls A ‘Sarah Palin’
It is never easy to be blunt with those we like and respect. But if I am to be honest with myself, and remain credible with my readers, I must be candid tonight about Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
I made no bones that it was unacceptable for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, a Republican, to walk away from her elected duties. So tonight I feel I must be as honest when it comes to a liberal Democrat who is about to do the same.
I am truly upset with the news today that Kathleen Falk will step away from her duties come April 2011. To be up front I have known Kathleen Falk for many years and we greet each other with friendly words every time we meet. I have applauded her work, especially when it concerns alcohol abuse in our county, promoted her campaigns for governor and attorney general, and know full-well she is a most remarkable and intelligent women.
However, Kathleen Falk let me down today. She let all of Dane County down.
Part of me is upset that her talents and passion will no longer be a force in Dane County government. Her efforts at implementing effective social service programs, and signing off on sound environmental policies matched my hopes and desires. She was what every thoughtful liberal yearns for in an elected official. So tonight I am already missing her, and she is not yet even off the public stage.
However, there is also another part of me tonight that is more pissed than sad.
I have this rather old-fashioned notion of when a person asks for my vote they are serious about the full range of responsibilities that come with it. Part of the responsibility is to serve the full term of office.
There was no lack of energy on the part of Kathleen Falk’s campaign when they asked folks to donate money and time to win yet another term as Dane County Executive. There was no lack of passion when Kathleen Falk implored us all to vote for her based on a long list of reasons. But now according to Kathleen Falk there seems to be no reason to stay in the job she worked so hard at winning!
As a voter and citizen I am totally perplexed. Kathleen Falk has made clear that the reason for her abrupt announcement is not due to health concerns, or future job offers. She also made it clear there is no strife in her marriage. She has a grand husband in Peter Bock, who only lacks a smile when his beloved Milwaukee Brewers fail to play hard enough. I fully accept her statements.
I really do feel that there is a bond, though invisible, that connects a leader to the rest of the citizenry. ( I am old-fashioned enough to think this is true.) That bond carries a great deal of trust, and hope. After all, we do not elect just ‘anyone’ to the higher offices in the city, county, or state. We sit through long campaigns and endless political ads to ferret out the wheat from the chaff. Some pray for the wisdom of making a good choice. Others read as much as they can to make the proper selection. After it is all over the one who takes the oath of office must have broad enough shoulders to carry the load. After all, they never lack energy in the attempt to get our votes so we expect them to go the distance once elected.
In the days to come we may yet know the back-story that led to this event. Part of me would like an explantion. The other part of me knows that nothing will mend the broken bond. That is what stings the most.