Ted Zigmunt, A Common Sense Candidate, For Wisconsin State Assembly


I have never before entertained the notion of endorsing a candidate for an election that is almost one year away.  However there is such a need for the people in Wisconsin’s 2nd Assembly District to again have a stable and competent member in the Wisconsin Legislature, that I offer this early political nod of the head.

The only thing one can say about the current State Representative is that he knows how to draw attention to himself.  Over and over Frank Lasee has offered notions such as arming teachers in schools with guns, working to drastically cut funding to the University of Wisconsin Law School, and wondering if there are just too many counties in Wisconsin.  All of these lame ideas generated much interest and discussion about Lasee, but did not assist the needs and desires of the people who Lasee is supposed to work for.  If Lasee has ideas about running for Congress, he should not use the people he promised to represent in Madison, as a stepping-stone for getting attention.   The voters deserve better respect than that.

When I read that Frank Lasee had a paternity suit brought against him and finally acknowledged he was the father, or when he used his office and position to investigate the sex lives of students in Brown Deer, I knew I had to commit myself to making a change in the ‘leadership’ that Lasee was providing.

Clearly the voters of the 2nd Assembly District deserve better.  They work hard, pay their taxes, and play by the rules.  They need a State Representative that will mirror their good qualities, and hopes for the future.  Ted Zigmunt is the person who can lead the way.

He proved his sincerity when running for the office in 2006.  So I was very pleased when I read his note this past August alerting me to his candidacy for the State Legislature in 2008.

Ted Zigmunt is a solid Democrat committed to making sure our education system functions with quality teachers and solid goals, that everyone has affordable health care coverage, and our Great Lakes are protected.

Too often Frank Lasee forgot his constituents in his zeal to make bold outlandish headlines in order to further his career.  What the voters of the 2nd Assembly District need is a common sense thinker who is comfortable just being their State Representative. 

When Ted Zigmunt takes the oath of office as a State Representative the voters will know they have one of their own truly working for the hopes and dreams of a better Wisconsin.

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State Republicans So VERY Wrong On Domestic Partner Benefits

Domestic partner benefits are a no-brainer for those of us who live in the real world.  Most of us have openly gay friends, family members, and co-workers.  We live in diverse communities and know the richness that comes from being fair and honest with our fellow citizens.  We understand that inequality and unfairness is not the way our society should operate.  So I am utterly perplexed over what should be a truly non-issue about the University of Wisconsin having domestic partner benefits for their employees.  It has been debated far too long!  We are the only Big Ten School that does not offer such rights, and it is nauseating.  To be even more honest it is just plain embarrassing.  It is also counter productive for the long term-goals of securing the best minds and talents for our amazing college system.  Why would anyone want to deny the rights of gay and lesbian families to have the same benefit package as heterosexual employees and their families? 

The Wisconsin State Senate, with the majority Democrats leading the way, passed their version of the state budget on Tuesday.  It should come as no surprise that not one single Republican could see any reason to vote for the package that contained a much needed health plan for state residents.  Also included in the Democratic budget was the domestic benefit package for the UW system.  To say I am proud that the issue was included would not be totally correct.  Of course it should be included!  But the fact is we should not even need to debate IF gay employees and their families should receive the same treatment as other state employees at the UW.  THIS IS 2008!!! 

I am so tired of Republicans in the State Legislature using gay UW employees and their families as wedge issues for the basest political purposes.  What the GOP did with gay rights in 2006 in our state was despicable and shameful.  The lack of fairness that State Republicans exhibit now over the issue of domestic benefits is mind-boggling for those of us who live in the real world.  The backward and sexually frustrated world of the GOP is a mystery to me. They should not be setting policy that undermines our desire for fairness and equality in our college system. 

The GOP always get excited about the idea of letting the private sector set the rules so to better create jobs and grow the economy.  If that logic is true then one must ask what is wrong with over half of the Fortune 500 companies allowing for domestic partner benefits?  Any large company that wants to be competitive and exist in the real world understands the diversity of the workforce.  The rules for seeking the best at the UW should be no different.  And the Republicans should understand that fact.

Whatever crazed puritanical notion state Republicans hope to preserve by gay bashing over domestic benefits is absurd, and a waste of taxpayer money.  And I strongly suspect that their gay sons and lesbian daughters agree with me.

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Georgia Thompson Needs Compensation

Speculation has run rampant about what the real story was behind the actions of Georgia Thompson that led to her being sent to prison.  While a Wisconsin state-purchasing official, she was convicted last year of fraud on allegations that she steered a state travel contract to a firm whose top officials were major campaign contributors to Democratic Governor Jim Doyle.  It has long been my belief that she was following orders, and just doing her job.  She had nothing to gain personally by taking the actions she did while employed with the state. 

Now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has reversed the convictions of Georgia Thompson and ordered her released from prison.  That was the most wonderful and unexpected news that any of us could have wished for.  Now the next step for Georgia Thompson is to get her life back.  That will take time since she has lost her job, her house, and among some, her good name. 

The appeals judges found the evidence against Thompson unfounded.  That should be the starting point for many Republicans (and some bloggers) to begin to apologize as they used her as a poster child during the 2006 election for all things wrong with Jim Doyle’s administration.  It will be interesting to see how mature and polite some of these folks are now in light of Thompson being ordered released from prison.  Who will be the first among many who need to say “I am sorry”?  At the same time now maybe they can also stop saying she is a “Doyle employee” since that too was bastardizing the truth.

Thompson needs to get a state job that equals in pay to  the one she had to give up as a result of this court action.  She needs to be compensated for lost pay, and damage that was done to her pension and health benefits.  She also needs to have some way to be compensated for legal bills that was the result of a truly bogus and shameful witch-hunt by over-eager prosecutors.

There are times when the government overreaches when in a zealous mood to round up the ‘bad guys’.  When that happens there needs to be compensation for the damages they create.  Georgia Thompson is such an example of a person who was wronged and now deserves to be compensated.


The most jarring line in the newspaper this Friday morning was found in the Wisconsin State Journal.

UW-Madison political science professor Charles Franklin called the ruling “amazing” and said it was fortunate that Thompson’s conviction didn’t ultimately affect the outcome of the election.

“We kind of dodged a bullet,” Franklin said.

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Doyle and Bush Should Remember ‘West Wing’ Jeb Bartlett

The news accounts about Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and his campaign funds should rightly concern us as citizens.  We like to think that our state government should reflect the honor and ethics of the people who live here.  Likewise, I strongly suspect that the citizens of this nation are unnerved about the firings of federal prosecutors around the country in an effort by the Bush Administration to place conservative political allies in these positions.

I am not pleased with the substance or tone from either the Wisconsin Democratic Governor in relation to campaign cash, or from the Republican President over using the justice department as a political tool. 

More than once I have thought about President Jeb Bartlett on NBC’s drama ‘West Wing’ while reading the morning newspaper.  When he offered to be censured by Congress for less than candid answers about his health and MS condition, he told his White House Chief Of Staff that no one in Washington takes the blame for anything anymore.  Therefore no one is ever held responsible for anything that goes wrong.  As such he stepped up to the front of the line and endured the political punches by doing the right thing on the award winning TV drama. 

If only real life at times mimicked television. More often than not when there are serious lapses in judgment in government much finger pointing and commission creating takes place, but little in true accountability ever surfaces.  We learn of the mistakes but rarely hear, as Bartlett said, anyone taking any self-blame.

I am so very tired of the drip, drip, drip of information about Governor Jim Doyle and his campaign cash. A full and honest disclosure of any and all-relevant material related to money obtained in a manner and fashion that is not consistent with the state election laws should just be put on the table.  Everyone knows that the political system is awash in money, and at times that cash is not amassed in appropriate ways.  Republican gubernatorial nominee Mark Green also faced similar problems.    Doyle and his team could use their honest approach with the public as a way to ramp up for a real, and tough campaign finance bill that is so very long over due in the state.  By turning the current mess of Doyle’s campaign cash (along with the whole system) into an honest debate, something very powerful could be created in Wisconsin’s electoral process.  The people are ready for honesty and a cleaner campaign system.

Meanwhile on the national level the President is hemorrhaging in the public polls, and his policy initiatives are flattened due to the blunders and missteps by his Administration.  Bush should fess up that ideological priorities took precedent at the Justice Department headed up by Attorney General Gonzales.  The President needs to rebuke and fire anyone with a mission of using the justice system in America as a political tool.  If that requires the dismissal of Gonzales, so be it.  The integrity of our government is vastly more important than the bonds of loyalty between the president and his cabinet.

Both Governor Doyle and President Bush need to be mindful that their mission is to provide leadership and policies that will benefit the people who they serve.  To achieve that, they might be mindful of the actions of a fictional politician on television. Someone has to accept the responsibility for the campaign cash mess in Wisconsin, and the political firing of prosecutors around the nation.

What would Jeb Bartlett do?

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Mark Green’s Words Bite Him

The Wisconsin State Elections Board ordered Republican Mark Green to dump $468,000 of PAC money during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.  The campaign cash Green funneled into his state campaign was from sources not eligible to contribute under Wisconsin election laws. Green’s campaign knew that.  But Green thought he was above the law, and refused to abide by the ruling.  His campaign also thought they could leap frog the court system and force the Supreme Court to hear their case on Green’s schedule.  Like a newspaper to the nose of a pesky dog, the Court did not allow Green to run the show. 

On September 25, 2006 I posted the following thought.  “It is now time for those Republicans who preach law-and-order to ante up with actions that match their rhetoric.  That means you, Mr. Green.  Covering up your guilt by running to a higher court is like Terri Schiavo’s family chasing after more legal rulings.  In the end both are brain dead ideas.”

On Friday it was finalized with an agreement between Green and the Wisconsin Elections Board.  The former Green Bay Congressman cannot use the funds for any other political race of his own.  He can however give it to other campaigns, or it can be given to charity.  Anyone care to suggest a few charities…..??

The part that galls me is that Green did not acknowledge that he did anything wrong.  The fact that he thought he could bring his Congressional war chest to Wisconsin and use those funds for a statewide race; shunning state law is most remarkable.  When confronted with the reasons why it ran counter to the law he worked to frustrate the political process and thereby taint the election.

After the Elections Board approved the agreement on Friday Green issued a release.  “The decision by the Elections Board last fall has now been exposed as nothing more than a crass manipulation of a governmental agency by Jim Doyle in his desperate effort to hold on to power,” he said.

Say again? 

In case the man who lost the race for Wisconsin Governor has not yet comprehended one of the reasons for his defeat, let me make it clear for him.  From an October 31, 2006 post I wrote the following.  “Why Mark Green would even have considered using this cash for his election, in light of Statehouse corruption such as from his fellow Republican Scott Jensen, still baffles me.”  The fact that Green was so tone deaf to the anger over the Statehouse scandals last year, and then perpetrated a scandal himself during the campaign, is stunning.   So we might turn Green’s words from yesterday around. 

Mark Green’s actions have now been exposed as nothing more than political manipulation by a Republican in his desperate bid to buy an election in Wisconsin.

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Dear Mr. President,

I have just watched your speech to the nation.  I think you crapped on the American public.  Worse, if possible, I think you do not care.  I suppose I should be less blunt, but in your isolated world of aides that provide no candor I think you deserve to hear what many of your fellow countrymen are thinking tonight.

I know the American public sent a message to you on Election Day in November of last year stating their fatigue with your failed war policy in Iraq.  You did not recognize the anger and utter disgust the voters of this country demonstrated.  After the election the entire nation waited for the final report from the Iraq Study Group.  You pretended to care what the report had to say and then quickly dismissed it, and all that it might have produced in way of reducing American forces in Iraq.  With your speech tonight stating you are sending more troops to Iraq you have given a new and horrible example of what arrogance and hubris looks like.  You should recall from your reading of history in that library where you gave your speech, that these traits have led to ruin.  I for one am not convinced you are a serious reader of history, and I am under no pretense that you have any intellectual depth.

I am also dismayed that you have so little regard for the lay of the land in Iraq. You mentioned the unity government in Iraq in your speech, and yet you must know that is more a concept for political consumption here than reality in Iraq.  In nations such as Iraq that were never nation-states there is a different dynamic at work among the people than the hope for a unity government.

When a citizen of Iraq thinks about his/her country they first consider the tribe, group, or religion to which they belong.  Down the list is the fact they are citizens of Iraq.  So when the elections were held there was less of a reason for them to see a national mosaic in the making, than a way to seek revenge and get a larger part of the nation under the control of a particular group.  The bloody results have proved this to be true.  Iraq’s security forces are in large part Shia dominated and their mission is to seek revenge against the Sunni minority.  Your myopic hope of a democratic form of government in Iraq has a long way to go before it has any hope of success.  Your fellow countrymen know that, why are you so obtuse?

There was a reason that your father did not proceed into Baghdad in the first Gulf War.  Those who read and understood history know why his decision was a correct one.  It was those in your Administration who failed to heed the past, and then foisted this war on the American public.  The end result, as of tonight, is over 3,000 U.S. soldiers killed, tens of thousands injured, and countless tens of thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed. 

And yet you have the gall to send over 20,000 of my fellow countrymen on a mission that is doomed.  That is an unforgivable act that history will not forget. 

While you have been President during this war our nation’s credibility has shrunk, our reputation among the countries of the world has suffered, our national resources are depleted by $2 billion per week in Iraq, our military readiness is reduced, political divisions are at an all time high in the nation, and the public’s faith in their leaders has been sapped.

You have done enough.  Have you no sense of shame, sir, at long last?

As one who loves this country, I am truly saddened at how you have treated the responsibility that was placed on your shoulders.  You have failed America, and you have failed yourself.


An American Citizen 

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A View From Middle America

In December, my mom who follows the news and always hopes for the best, had an almost defeated tone in her voice when she told us that she had hoped things were going to get better in Iraq after the mid-term elections.  Her words and tone reflected the news before Christmas that President Bush planned to send thousands of more troops into Iraq.  She had assumed that Bush might have heard the feelings of the electorate from the voting in November, and would start removing our troops from Iraq.

Her feelings and words have long been one of my political barometers. I may not have always agreed with her over the decades, but I long ago found that her views were shared by the majority of Americans.   She may not know it, but she has a good pulse taking of the nation. If she ever thought I was really listening she might try to respond differently, and the end result might be skewered.

Tonight the President will address the nation, and the majority watching I suspect are like my mom.  War weary and sad over the daily loss of life and endless young faces that make news because they were killed in Iraq.  “They had their whole life ahead of them” has often been mom’s response after seeing a young person’s picture in the paper, and reading of another Wisconsin community that prepares for a funeral.

The other half of my middle American family is part of the Greatest Generation, a veteran of World War II who was a loyal Republican until President Bush invaded Iraq.  As a child I recall him asking me over the dinner table, “Do you know what war is?”  Without waiting for an answer he responded, “War is hell.”  He never talked about WWII until a couple years ago after a rain forced our family picnic into the garage.  For about an hour he talked and told his story.  The bottom line was that unless there was a real need to fight we should find other ways to deal with the problem.

There are ways for President Bush to conduct foreign policy that will not force more American lives to be placed in peril in what is a lost cause in Iraq.  There was a comprehensive Iraq Study Group report that honestly laid out the reality of the war, but either for reasons of stubbornness or pride Bush refuses to recognize the real plight we are in.  The pictures in the paper of those young people who had their whole life ahead of them are in the thoughts of Middle America today.  We can only hope and pray that soon they too will be in the President’s thoughts as well.

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Huebsch: Prevent ‘Poison Pill’ For Ethics Bill

Anyone reading a newspaper and following the stories that flowed from the State Capitol over the past few years well understands the need for a strong and workable ethics bill.  Several weeks ago a strong bi-partisan group of State Legislators, along with Governor Doyle, promised action.  By combining the Elections Board and the State Ethics Board into one strong entity it was hoped, and expected, a long overdue reform would make state government more accountable to the people, and less of a national embarrassment.

The Governor said this matter would be dealt with in special session, and that is a good start.  Now what Speaker Huebsch of the State Assembly must do is make sure that both he and his fellow Republicans do not mess the bill up by adding a ‘poison pill’, which is an item so dreadful to enough other legislators that it dooms the larger bill.  For instance, the idea of adding the voter photo identification proposal to the ethics bill, as I have heard has been discussed by some, would be a real ‘poison pill’ and therefore must not happen.  The photo idea is one of the most contentious issues in the public arena, and should not be included in any shape, manner, or form in the ethics reform package.

If the desire for civility among the elected officials is a true goal then legislative hijacking of the ethics bill by the Republicans must not be considered.  Speaker Huebsch needs to understand his role and strive mightily to see that rancor and division by the GOP is not the way the new session unfolds.  He might recall that the voters in Wisconsin were watching what happened last session, and voted accordingly in 2006.  Send a clean ethics bill to the Governor for his signature!

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