Saturday, November 18th, 2017

The Mayoral-election-free newspaper column


Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date: Mar 18, 2010; Section: Opinion; Page: 10A

Judge race is non-partisan and Congdon wants to keep it that way
Also, is Neumann running for governor or U.S. Senate?

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

I promise this will be a mayoral-election-free zone. I will not mention the Waukesha mayoral race unless I absolutely have to.

We can talk instead about the race for judge between incumbent Rick Congdon, D-Waukesha, and State Rep. Mark Gundrum, R-New Berlin. Congdon will tell you that it doesn’t matter that he is the former Chairman of the Democratic Party in Waukesha, and that Governor Jim Doyle, also a Democrat, appointed him. In fact, he would like you to try to forget his strong Democratic Party ties as much as possible.

After all, Waukesha County is very Republican, and Congdon is a tie-dyed Democrat. It would really hurt his chances if you go into the voting booth on April 6 remembering that Congdon is the Democrat and Gundrum is the Republican.

Nor does Congdon, the Democrat, want you to consider the number of endorsements Gundrum, the Republican, has received from prominent members of the Republican Party, like Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and Congressman Paul Ryan. Nor does Congdon, a Democrat, want you to remember the endorsement of Gundrum, the Republican, by Republican candidate for governor, Scott Walker, or even the endorsement of District Attorney Brad Schimel, also a Republican.

After all, it’s a non-partisan race, and Congdon, the Democrat, would really like to keep it that way.

We should also give an update on the race for governor. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker promised that, if elected, he would create 250,000 jobs. Walker’s opponents scoffed, pointing out that would nearly eliminate unemployment in Wisconsin.

However, Walker’s critics failed to take into account the amount of population growth Wisconsin can expect in the next four years, as well as the number of people that are no longer counted as unemployed because of the length of time they have been without jobs. The latter are considered to have stopped seeking employment.

A growing economy in Wisconsin can create 250,000 jobs even if the governor and the legislature make very few changes.

The trick, of course, is to prevent government from getting in the way of the economy. That means lowering taxes, lowering government spending and reducing the regulatory burdens on business.

We should also wonder what Walker’s primary opponent, former Congressman Mark Neumann, is thinking abut the way his campaign is running.

Neumann recently gathered 5,000 signatures against the proposed federal health care plan, and delivered them to the office of Congresswoman Gwen Moore. Neumann also started a radio advertising campaign touting his success as a congressman in balancing the federal budget.

I salute Neumann’s efforts at controlling federal spending. I would even remind readers of Neumann’s efforts to keep Social Security solvent when he was a congressman, even more relevant today now that Social Security has started to spend more money than it takes in.

But is former Congressman Neumann running for governor, or is he running for the United States Senate? Because all of his campaigning right now is on federal issues, not state issues.

I would have been even more impressed with Neumann if, instead of campaigning against federal health care, had gather 5,000 signatures on behalf of lifting the caps on Wisconsin’s virtual schools and delivering that petition to Governor Doyle.

Instead, Neumann is spending his time fighting on an issue that he will have almost zero impact if he is elected governor, and touting a record that has almost nothing to do with the state of Wisconsin.

Making matters worse, he didn’t even take the petition to either Congressman Ron Kind or Congressman Steve Kagen, both of whom are more likely to vote against their fellow Democrats on the health care issue than Congressman Moore who is a committed “yes” vote.

Not only is he fighting the wrong issue for his campaign, he is not even handling the issue competently.

It makes you wonder if Neumann is getting advice for his campaign from whoever advised Waukesha mayoral candidate Jeff Scrima to suggest snow-plowing the bike paths in this city, and to reduce the salt we use on the roads so we can be just as snowbound as Madison.

Darn, I broke my promise. I tried.


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