My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here it is:
With only two weeks left until the April 5 election in Wisconsin, we are about to endure a withering political barrage that will not end until that blissful dawn April 6, when all of the presidential politicians, their courtiers and the locustal media move on to the next state. But April 5 is not only the primary election for the presidential nominees, it is also the general election for thousands of local elected offices and for the next justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Those local and state elections tend to have far more impact on our daily lives than the national races.
It is easy to vent one’s spleen at all of the reasons to vote against someone, and there sure are plenty of people to vote against this election season. I prefer to focus on the reasons to vote for someone. There are only three contested elections on my ballot this election. Here is whom I am voting for, and why.
There are four candidates vying for two seats on the West Bend School Board. I will be voting for Randy Marquardt and Ken Schmidt. Marquardt is the only incumbent on the ballot, having first been elected to the school board in 2010, and currently serves as the president of the Board. While I strenuously disagreed with Marquardt regarding the referendum to expand Silverbrook, his accomplishments on the board have been impressive.
Since Marquardt was first elected, the district has managed its facilities so that it is no longer in a constant state of crisis and is, in fact, saving money for the next big building need. The school district has implemented an extremely popular and successful walk-in clinic for employees, begun a charter school, expanded online offerings, added vocational courses and helped guide the district through some tumultuous shifts of educational policy at the state level.
Ken Schmidt is a newcomer to the ballot, but brings a wealth of experience in the community and education. Schmidt is a 36-year resident of the district and is married to a public school teacher. He also served as a member of the Board of Regents for Bethany Lutheran College for 27 years. He espouses a belief in being a good steward of the community’s investment in their schools and wants a systematic review of new curriculum programs and testing regimens to make sure they are improving educational outcomes.
Two candidates are vying for the State Supreme Court. Incumbent Justice Rebecca Bradley will be receiving my vote. Bradley was a private attorney for many years before her meteoric rise to the Supreme Court late last year after the untimely death of Justice Patrick Crooks. Having previously served as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge and on the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, her rulings were marked by their fairness and strict adherence to what the law is — not what she might think it should be. The fact that her opponents are seeking to smear her with salacious stories instead of attacking her actual performance as a judge is supplemental evidence of the soundness of her judgment. Bradley’s brilliant legal mind and respect for the proper role of a judge makes her the easy choice to keep her seat on the bench.
Both the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries are on the ballot in Wisconsin. I will be voting in the Republican primary and happily voting for Sen. Ted Cruz. The senator from Texas is undeniably one of the most intellectually brilliant candidates to ever appear on the ballot. He was the valedictorian of his high school, graduated cum laude from Princeton, magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, was the editor of the Harvard Law Review, national debating champion, clerked for Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist (from Milwaukee) and had a distinguished legal career before winning a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2012 as an insurgent outsider.
Cruz couples his towering intellect with a passionate conservatism that put him at odds with not only the Democrats in the Senate, but with his fellow Republicans whose ideology has slumped to the left. He is ardently anti-abortion, pro-Second Amendment, pro-civil rights, pro-fiscal sanity, pro-Constitution and pro-border security. He has a mastery of the important issues facing our country and a conservative plan to address each of them. Cruz would not only make a great Republican candidate, he would make a great president.
As the election season wears on and the narrative fills up with negativity and filth, it must be remembered that behind all of that blather are some truly impressive people whose service would make our communities, state and nation better. In-person absentee voting began yesterday at your local municipal clerk’s office and election day is on April 5. Get out and vote for someone.