What will Bill Kramer know and when will he know it?
Q: What is the controversy surrounding newly minted State Representative Bill Kramer now?
A: During the minting process, Bill Kramer decided to have a question and answer session with those assembled at South Division High School, and was unable to answer a question regarding funding for schools asked by a student. He told the student, “I haven’t looked at it long enough to give an intelligent answer.”
Q: Shouldn’t he have thought about those questions before he decided to run for public office, or hold his inauguration as a state representative at a public high school?
A: Yes, and that is the subject of Pete Kennedy’s column in Saturday’s Waukesha Freeman, as well as a comment in The Spring City Chronicle, and a “Dart” by the Waukesha Freeman’s editors on January 6th.
DART. To newly elected 97th District state Rep. Bill Kramer. We give Kramer credit for insisting on being sworn in at his alma mater, Waukesha South High School, on Friday. But when a student asked Kramer his stance on state public education funding, he said he didn’t know because he hadn’t started his new job yet. Call me in four years, he said. That’s just great. The future of paying for the education these students will receive – and the Waukesha School District has been hit hard by its share of education funding issues – is in the hands of a legislator who is apparently clueless on this topic. Didn’t he think this out when he was running for the seat?
Q. Harsh. What did Bill Kramer think of the coverage?
A: Kramer thought the initial story in the Waukesha Freeman was fair, although he questioned the editorial.
Q: What else did he say?
A: Afterwards, he started boning up on educational spending and is now able to tell you the flaws in two-thirds funding. Or at least give the Ciffs Notes version.
Q: Any other reaction from local leaders?
A: Waukesha Mayor Larry Nelson (D) who was in attendance, and new State Representative Rich Zipperer (R) who was singled out in the audience by Bill Kramer, had “no comment.”
Q: So, it’s over a week later. Why do we care?
A: Because we have a state representative who actually made education an issue during the Republican Primary, unusual in itself, who cannot tell you what his plan is. Of course, the QEO, the revenue caps and the state budget will all be up for review soon by the state legislature. State aid for schools is 43% of the state budget, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. No other program is above 12%. Meanwhile, the Waukesha School District has just announced probable cuts in staff and programs because of increasing labor costs. It might be important for the local state representative to actually know something about the issues involved.
Also, it’s very likely this inauguration performance will haunt Bill Kramer again. Watch this space.
Q: What do you think of all this?
A: While it was nice Bill Kramer decided to have his inauguration within the district, having events within the district was never an issue when he was running for the office. It was a clear case of symbolism over substance, and he would have been better off (and it would have been more appropriate) had the inauguration taken place at the Country Springs Hotel. It would be even nicer if our state representative understood before his next speaking engagement that the venue and the audience might pre-determine the type of questions he might get.
Q: One last question. Why are we writing like this?
A: Pete Kennedy started it. I thought you would like it.
A: Suit yourself. I’m easy.