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My Conversation With Senator Glenn Grothman At Saturday’s Statehouse Union Rally

February 26, 2011

To be honest State Senator Glenn Grothman was one of the last people I expected to find at the union rally Saturday at the Wisconsin Capitol.   Leaning against a marble column in a hallway away from the crowds, and not near doors that were being used to allow protestors into the building, he was looking around at the sights.  No doubt he was hearing an earful from the shouts and slogans too.  Grothman is one of the most conservative members of the State Legislature, but in light of all he was witnessing he seemed to be taking it in stride.

For all the bluster I put in print on this blog when it comes down to it I am a pretty low-key fellow who plays fair.  So when I called out “Glenn” and put my hand out for his in the hallway he shook it.  I introduced myself and told him who I had once worked with in the State Assembly.

I think at first he felt I was going to engage him in a partisan discussion.  I had no desire to do that.  Instead I wanted to ask him about a serious matter that transcends the collective bargaining bill, or any other issue.

I asked Grothman if the level of trust in the State Legislature was so fractured, the ill-will so deep, that nothing could be accomplished and resentments would run wild for the rest of this session.  (Readers may know that I was not pleased with either Republicans or Democrats in how the final moments of the longest session in state history concluded.)

Grothman said that he felt there was no divide too great to get other matters handled this session.  “I do not hate anyone”, he told me. “I call Democratic Senators and we talk.  I hate no one.”

I pressed the point as I am very concerned about the break in collegiality, and level of rancor within the legislature..  He did offer that some Republicans may have more intense feelings but reiterated that he did not.

I was struck that Senator Grothman looked me in the eyes as we talked.  That is something that I always notice about a politician.  Score one…even two points…for that.

We continued to chat for a minute about the legislator I had worked with, and we parted with another handshake.

Not a summit meeting for sure. 

But if there was a candid and reasoned conversation between a conservative State Senator, and a rather liberal blogger than perhaps there is hope that the divides are not as great as I fear about the future in the Statehouse.

2 Comments
  1. JEnna permalink
    March 2, 2011 7:36 PM

    HE has gone too far calling all protesters union thugs and slobs. How dare he? Is that now how low scott walker has brought us? When we dont get our way we call names? Well if that is how the rebublicans want to play it will backfire. scott walker & grothman are denying court order and denying peoples rights. Let this be a lesson to us all that if we let any more republicans into office they will protect their sheep and the rest of us will be sent to slaughter.

  2. Saturday morning phone conversation with Grothman permalink
    February 28, 2011 7:59 PM

    He answered his phone earlier that morning, and actually talked with me for about 40 minutes. I was shocked he answered. He told me he thought that most of the people oustide the capital were college students. I asked him to look again and see that it wasn’t just a younger crowd, that when not working people of all ages were there. We talked about non monetary issues connected to collective bargaining and what classrooms could look like if more cuts came from Madison. He didn’t believe that things I shared would happen. He had a lot of data ready for me to help support his viewpoint, and I asked him to find out about the people that would be affected behind the data. He suggested calling local superintedents to talk with them. I hope he does that. It was a fair conversation we had.

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