Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019

Putting Chris Kapenga’s remarks about Bill Kramer in perspective


According to State Rep Chris Kapenga, the Assembly Majority leader should be a saint, or at least not upset delicate sensibilities.

Assembly Republicans elected Rep. Bill Kramer to be the next majority leader Wednesday despite Rep. Chris Kapenga accusing his GOP colleague of displaying a pattern of inappropriate behavior that made him unfit to hold the No. 2 spot in the chamber.

Kapenga, R-Delafield, made the allegation while giving one of the two nominating speeches for Rep. Dean Knudson for the post. He also charged there was an incident at an American Legislative Exchange Council event last month in Chicago. But he did not provide details in his speech and declined to provide specifics when he was approached by a reporter following the vote.

Kramer denied any bad behavior, saying he went to bed early the night he supposedly behaved inappropriately. (There are no details to this story, but it sounds like I wish I had been there.)

Let’s add a little background here. When former State Senator Rich Zipperer joined the Walker Administration, Kramer endorsed Rep. Paul Farrow for the vacant senate seat. Instead of running for the senate seat, Kramer decided to focus his energy on moving up the leadership ranks in the Assembly instead. The other state representative in that district was Kapenga, who was not consulted about the senate seat. Farrow defeated Kapenga in the senate race.

Kapenga also has a history of making accusations about his colleagues that he can’t substantiate.

In his nominating speech for Knudson, Kapenga said he has been to numerous events with Kramer stemming from their time in the Waukesha County GOP and said he has noticed a “behavior pattern that is prevalent at every event I can remember.”

He then went on to reference the alleged ALEC incident, saying both Kramer and Knudson were there and “one represented well. One did not represent well.”

“That cannot happen ever,” Kapenga said. “We can’t have sexual innuendos. We can’t have bad language in the public. I don’t have any concerns with Dean. I don’t. None. I do have those concerns with Bill.”

Seriously? Bad language in public? Oh, no!


Let’s get a grip here. Given the behavior by some of Kapenga’s other colleagues, including one ex-colleague who was making phone calls on behalf of Knudson, Kapenga needs some hobbies than trying to pin the Scarlet Letter on Bill Kramer.

Knudson, according to WisPolitics, was a little bit more classy about the results.

After the vote, Knudson called for the caucus to come together.

He said “in campaigns things are said and when it’s all done, we need to come together and be a team.”

Knudson expressed confidence in Kramer working with Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, on the GOP agenda of limited government, lower taxes and more prosperity.

“I would just like to say that I think as far as we go forward as a team with his leadership, I have a lot of confidence in Bill and so I thank you,” Knudson said. “He’s been tenacious as a campaigner, tenacious. And you know he’s going to fight as hard as that on behalf of each and every one of us.”

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