As a citizen and voter I am weary of candidates, of any party, who run for office to promote personal partisan agendas. My hackles also rise every time I hear a candidate talk about “What the people want”, or “Americans want”, while conveniently forgetting that approximately half of the population wants the opposite.
It was with this mind-set that I watched the YouTube video of the recent League of Women Voters forum for candidates running for our First Assembly seat in Madison. Throughout the almost two hour forum, only Joe Majeski, the Democratic candidate, actually talked about listening to ‘all’ people including our various local elected decision makers. It was Majeski who talked about consensus building based on the best ideas of both sides, and about bringing people together to problem solve. Personally, this is what I want in a representative
I also found the candidates’ responses to what was going to be the last question of the forum quite revealing. The moderator asked the candidates what each thought about having redistricting (the process triggered by the census every ten years in which the boundary lines of who gets to vote in a given district are re-drawn) done by a non-partisan group (as it is in some states) instead of by the party in power at the time (as is currently done in Wisconsin and some other states). One candidate felt the question itself was of a partisan nature and that the current procedure was fine. The other three republican candidates, for some reason, chose to pass on the question and declined to respond. Majeski, on the other hand, openly explained that gerrymandering (changing the voting boundaries to include more people likely to vote for your party) is often practiced by both parties when they happen to be in office, and for that reason he thought ‘yes’ redistricting in Wisconsin should be in the hands of a nonpartisan group rather than politicians. I believe his phrase was ‘citizens should choose their representatives, not representatives choose their citizens’.
I applaud all the candidates for their willingness to take on the difficult and often thankless task of running for state office. However, Joe Majeski is the only candidate willing to acknowledge and address the partisanship that is wearing us all down and who is willing and eager to engage and focus on problems rather than politics. That’s the difference between a representative and a politician.
Sturgeon Bay, WI.