Leading (and Listening) by Example: A lesson for Scott Walker

11 December 2011
Dear Scott Walker,

You know what's sad? People asking me to share their stories because they know you won't read them, and they know you don't care. Nancy Colford of Green Bay shared this touching story (below) and I was asked to post it.  I'm happy to oblige, as I think it's absolutely crucial that stories like this are told.  The story of Nancy and her neighbor is the story of so many families in Wisconsin who are forced to live with less and less and less, despite their best and most beautiful efforts.

What bothers me is the circuitous way the story has to be told, and how it came to be that an angry, bloggy mom from Sun Prairie has to share this sort of information because you have proven, over the course of this year, that you refuse to listen, and have nothing to say, to the citizens of Wisconsin (unless of course, they're all ready on file as your supporters). And so people just stopped trying to talk to you. You are officially nothing more than an eavesdropper on the Wisconsin experience. We are talking around you, not to you. And that's what you get for not listening. Oh, and you're also getting recalled.  Which is a positive consequence, I guess, if a tragic one.

The lives you are destroying are the lives of people who matter, people who make a difference, people with integrity and humility and pride. People who can't be ignored. People who are not disposable. People who didn't ask for any of this. I don't know how you can live with that.

Heather DuBois Bourenane
Wisconsin taxpayer, dissident, courier, etc

Here is Nancy's heartbreaking letter. I hope it keeps you up at night:
My single parent neighbor lives like we all should. I have lived across the street from her for 21 years, and in the past year I have discovered many things about her that I never knew. She and her 13 year old son go to several area nursing homes several times a year to play piano and sing to the residents. They don't go with a group. They go because since they are able to, they feel they should. They work monthly at a soup kitchen or a food pantry ... not because someone organized it and asked them. They go around asking who needs help because they feel they should. She has taken her son with her to canvass politically years before I knew such a thing existed. They only do it in nice weather as they both have inherited bronchial disease preventing them from being out in the cold, but she wants her son to be politically aware and know how to canvass.

What did her 13 year old son learn from this example? Last fall I fell down the stairs and dislocated my knee. I was outside trying to cut my grass with my reel lawn mower. Her son saw me and came across the street and told me he was going to finish it for me. He helped me get my yard settled for winter. He didn't do this because his mother asked him to; she didn't. He did it because he felt like he should. He refused to accept any payment because I was hurt.

This is just great, but what does it have to do with the current trickle-down? They live a very simple life in a tiny box of a house. Most of their entertainment is helping others. She has made a career for over 20 years of being a substitute (usually music) teacher, which pays very poorly and has no benefits, but she has her own health issues that make a regular teaching job unrealistic for her. They receive no government benefits even though they are eligible for some. They were happy with their simple life of mostly helping others. She will soon be out of work because of the current politics in Wisconsin and how they are affecting the schools. She is now retraining to do 2 minimum wage jobs, hoping she will find employment in one of them.

I am very worried about her. She has severe scoliosis, causing what is commonly known to some as "hunchback." She will probably be in a wheelchair before she is 60, as her mother was before her. She is now 53. She will probably not even be able to do one of the new jobs she is training for, but she is desperate. I held her when she cried. I wish Scott Walker could read what I just posted. I wish he would live his life as she does.


  1. Thank you for your e-mail message. I welcome you expressing your views and concerns to me, and I commend you for participating in your state government. I take into account the views of all of the citizens of Wisconsin, and I will keep your specific comments in mind during my service as your Governor.

    If you would like more information about my positions on issues, or would like to read my public statements on issues, I encourage you to explore my website: www.walker.wi.gov. I like to respond individually to every letter and telephone call I receive; however, I cannot respond to each e-mail individually due to the volume. If your request is time sensitive, please call my office at (608) 266-1212. You may also write to me via conventional mail at Governor Scott Walker: PO Box 7863, Madison, WI 53707.

    As noted on our website, please know that any communications may be subject to release under Wisconsin's public records law and that our policy is generally to release communications sent to this email address.

    Once again, thank you for contacting me. Please feel free to contact me again if I can ever be of assistance to you.


    Scott Walker

  2. Reading Walker's canned nonresponse right after this woman's touching story about her kind and generous neighbor was nauseating. Walker is trying to make Wisconsin a compassion-free zone. But he won't succeed. Because people in Wisconsin don't turn a blind eye to their neighbor's distress.

  3. I feel my heart go out to the woman and her son...if I could help her out with money I would do it in a heartbeat... but alas.. I too am poor.. this economy has broken many good people along the way.. and when your Government does NOTHING it is truly time to kick their butts out of the office they hold and fix the problem... best of luck to you down there ....

  4. I'll be darned, I got exactly the same letter from Walker when I wrote him about something completely different! Such a caring man. But not for us.

  5. Susan, you are only one of the many who has received this same canned and unfeeling response since Walker invaded Our House! I am a kind and caring person, as so many of us are, and I don't understand how ANYONE can ignore the pleas of thousands of citizens who have been hurt by Walker's policies, politics and indifference.
    Since Scott Walker professes to be a principled man who was raised in a religious setting, I would like to know what happened to him? What caused him to become such a ruthless and uncaring person? What do his parents think of him now? How can he face them?