Monday, August 19th, 2019

Kramer may be moving up


Kramer may be moving up 

Waukesha rep would add spine to Republican majority as leader

Waukesha Freeman 8/22/13 Opinion Page A6


When the state Assembly reconvenes in September, Republicans may have a new majority leader, one familiar to many Waukesha Freeman readers. State Rep. Bill Kramer will likely win the election when the Republican caucus meets.

No legislative leadership election is guaranteed. If they were, Jon Erpenbach would be the Senate minority leader instead of Chris Larson. However, sources tell me Kramer should win with a comfortable margin.

Kramer’s opponent in the leadership contest, Rep. Dean Knudson, is a one-term member from Hudson. Kramer has been serving since 2007 and is the current speaker pro tem.

Kramer’s probable victory reflects the importance of Waukesha to the Republican Party.

Kramer’s time as speaker pro tem has hardly been quiet. Kramer presided over the Assembly during some of the most controversial debates in Madison. His rulings even provided an excuse for Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca to theatrically call for Kramer’s removal from the chair.

In a more recent incident, Kramer walked out (justifiably) during the annual State of the Tribes speech, an action that got statewide attention.

Kramer’s style may not endear him to Madison liberals; it does represent the conservative nature of Waukesha County. As majority leader, Kramer can lend some much-needed spine to Republican leadership who are hoping to coast through the next elections without offending anyone.

If Kramer wins, it will be good for Waukesha as well. Being represented by legislators in leadership is good for a community.

In the last budget, Racine got money for harbor improvements. It’s not just a coincidence that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos represents part of Racine County.

* * * Perhaps Kramer’s first order of business as majority leader will be to convince Vos to take up the case of the Mukwonago Indians.

When the Democrats were in control, they allowed political correctness to defeat common sense. They passed a law allowing the Department of Public Instruction to determine whether a school’s mascot and logo are offensive to Native Americans.

The Mukwonago school district is defying an order by the DPI to change the high school mascot and nickname. The district’s School Board is hoping Republicans in the Legislature will repeal the law that allows the DPI to bully local school districts in the name of political correctness.

Unfortunately, Vos and Republicans in the Legislature are hoping not to offend people that will never vote for them in the first place.

In the particular case of Native American tribes, they are hoping tribal gaming money sits on the sidelines in the next election. Perhaps Vos should have been listening to the tribes’ address to the Legislature and the litany of complaints about Republicans that finally caused Kramer to walk out.

There is no reason for Republicans to leave Mukwonago to be bullied by the bureaucrats at the DPI. Perhaps Kramer will be in a position to push Assembly Republicans to stand up for Mukwonago.

* * * Illinois just increased the state’s speed limits on the freeways to 70 mph. We can make jokes about Illinois drivers, and just how fast will the roads be with toll booths every few miles?

We can even wonder, with all of the problems Illinois has, they can worry about the speed limit. Actually they didn’t worry and now Illinois drivers can get to their destinations a little faster, even as the state’s finances are on the highway to heck.

But it gives us an idea of the timidity of legislative Republicans and even the Walker administration. The Associated Press is reporting that a similar bill that would increase the speed limit in Wisconsin is likely to stall in the state Senate, and Walker’s Department of Transportation is cool to the idea.

Maybe it’s because the state DOT doesn’t know how to design 70 mph roundabouts.

The elections for governor and the Legislature are over a year away and the Republicans are acting like they’re next week.

To put it in football terms, they’re in a prevent defense, and it’s only preventing them from winning on anything.

Why did the legislative chickens cross the road? Because it was only 65 mph, and they were afraid of their own shadows.

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