Picking Our Ponies: Recall Primary Edition of the MoD Open Letter Challenge

Since I put out my Open Letter Challenge to share your reasons for deposing Scott Walker and the other Wisconsin legislators up for recall, I have received a number of replies have been endorsements of specific candidates.  I will post all such letters here, and invite those who have a strong opinion - or strong reasons for remaining undecided - to share their views.

I myself am undecided.  I see strengths and weaknesses in all the candidates (save Scott Kevin Walker, who has only weaknesses, and money).  I have been going back and forth for weeks agonizing over this, but I think it boils down to knowing that I will support whomever emerges from the primary so fully that I don't really want to invest much energy or commitment to any candidate before then.  The bottom line is that Scott Walker must be recalled if we are to restore the rule of reason to Wisconsin and protect the future of our schools, and any of our choices to oppose him in the primary would be infinitely better than the man who thinks cuts to education are a fair trade for corporate tax breaks and out-of-state fundraising is more important than addressing the needs of  his constituents and actually serving the people who pay him to do a job he does not do.  So pick your pony and vote. You can early vote at your city clerk's office until Friday, May 4, or you can vote at the polls on May 8. The winner of the primary will face Walker (or Arthur Kohl-Riggs) on June 5.  Maybe some of these letters will help you decide if you're still on the fence like I am.

Lou Anne Roby, whose "Democracy in a Box" story was been featured on Monologues of Dissent this winter, submits the following letter in support of Senator Kathleen Vinehout, which she published in The Capital Times:
Dear Editor:  In 2011 Wisconsin citizens rose up and revived our American democracy as no one else could. Our generation of Wisconsinites stood up to Gov. Walker’s attack on worker’s rights. More than 100,000 people marched in our state’s Capitol. People from differing political perspectives joined forces to right the wrongs against our state. We did it the Wisconsin way. Everyone was welcome. People from all walks of life participated. What happened in Madison was far more than a union disagreement. We the people changed the world around us.
Our roots run deep in this great state. We are proud of our quirky pioneer spirit and generally tolerant nature. We put children first and expect our taxes to include a good education. The fact that our firefighters and policemen stood side by side with teachers, farmers and city workers is not a surprise if you are from Wisconsin. Being a good neighbor really means something here.
Scott Walker changed all of that. Commercials encouraged us to begrudge neighbors good pay and benefits. Instead of encouraging people to be the good people we know each other to be, the Walker ads have encouraged some of us to find hate and jealousy deep within ourselves. These are not the values that have seen us through the tough times and made Wisconsin what it is.
Scott Walker’s political values may have taken us here, but it is up to each of us to decide which direction we take. We can no longer afford politics as usual. Nor can Wisconsin meet the future as a divided state.
I think that farmer, professor, senator and nurse’s aide Kathleen Vinehout can lead us forward as a governor who represents everyone’s best interests. Please be the change you want to see.
Vote Vinehout on May 8.
Lou Anne Roby
The next two letters present very different opinions on former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
E. O'Sullivan is skeptical of Falk's chances:

I am very, very concerned that we are going to lose this Recall election.  I don't think we are looking at this situation for what it really is, but rather are pretending that it's a normal election.  We have already been told flat out that the Republicans are going to cross over and try to mess up the primary, so why are we acting like it's really a serious choice that we are making?  We have a golden opportunity to take Walker out in his own primary, thanks to Arthur Kohl-Riggs, so why are we beating up on each other instead?  It's just foolishness, in my opinion.  Kathleen Falk came on too strong, too early, and convinced the unions that she was our big white hope.  But now that Barrett is in, it's very clear from the polls that his chances of beating Walker are better, and we need to change our direction -- fast!

Below is the gist of what I keep posting wherever I find a discussion on who should win our primary, but it doesn't seem like anyone is listening.  Does anyone out there agree with me?

Falk is Dane County, and woman. She also has a strangely overconfident manner about her. She won't be winning anything statewide. She needs to withdraw now, and so do the other two. Let Barrett take it, better or worse, and let us mess up the Republican primary instead of the other way around. It's not looking good right now, folks. If we don't get down and dirty here, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves.


E. O'Sullivan
Kris Abelman writes in support of Kathleen Falk:
Victor Hugo said "There is one thing stronger than every army in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.

I like to study people's life path and see how, step by step, they are being prepared for their destiny.

Kathleen has always been ahead of the times and has experience and has helped people on all the issues we are concerned about in this election. As a child in the 50s she started a ecology group. As Public Intervener one of her responsibilities, for example, was to evaluate proposed mining projects to be sure they met standards that respected our beautiful Wisconsin. She was a single mom and is familiar and has worked on all aspects of education and women's issues. Last week Representative Chris Taylor, formerly Public Policy Director of Planned Parenthood, told me how wonderful it has been to work with Kathleen. Kathleen was the first woman to hold most of the positions she has held. She was so honest and efficient as Public Intervener Governor Tommy Thompson had her position eliminated. "Thanks" to that, she became Dane County Executive and gained  the executive and management experience necessary to be ready to be an effective Governor on day one on June 6.

I am honored to work for and support Kathleen Falk and encourage you to also, on the campaign for the soon-to-be first woman Governor of Wisconsin.

Remember to vote for Kathleen Falk in the primary election on May 8 and then again against Scott Walker on June 5.

Kris Abelmann
Rock County

Finally, Bryce Crunkilton published this letter in the Stevens Point Journal to show his support for Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett:
Barrett best candidate to defeat Walker
Former state senator and representative, currently mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett, is by far the best candidate to replace Scott Walker and move Wisconsin forward. Barrett is the most qualified, realistic, well-known and popular candidate running in the Democratic gubernatorial primaries. Barrett has served both in the state senate and assembly as well as the House of Representatives. Now mayor of Milwaukee, Barrett has the experience from many different legislative sectors and also his current executive position.
When Scott Walker and his allies eliminated collective bargaining rights as part of his supposed "budget repair bill," Wisconsinites were outraged. Not only was that a step backward for Wisconsin but rights have nothing to do with the budget and so should not be part of it or a "budget repair bill." Candidate Kathleen Falk has promised to veto any budget that does not reinstate these rights. Collective bargaining had nothing to do with the budget when it was taken away and the same holds true now, so why on earth would you attach that to a budget. There is no way a budget that reinstates collective bargaining would pass our Republican-controlled assembly so with Falk our state would not pass a budget.
Barrett realizes that it is vital to reinstate these rights but he is not willing to hold our budget (and economy) hostage until he gets what he wants. That's what the Republicans did during the debt ceiling debate last summer. C'mon Democrats, don't stoop to their level!
Barrett is much better known than another of the primary candidates due mainly to his experience in many various executive and legislative processes. Also, he is the candidate most likely to defeat Walker based on the most recent poll numbers. Walker must be recalled, but a governor that is willing to hold the budget hostage unless her demands are met is hardly an improvement in my eyes. Tom Barrett is the best candidate both philosophically and in terms of defeating Walker. Vote Barrett May 8.
Bryce W. Crunkilton
Stevens Point

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