It has come to my attention that the wife of one of the two Republican candidates for Washington County Sheriff signed the petition to recall Governor Walker in 2011. Shelly Schulteis is the wife of Captain Marty Schulteis. She is a teacher in the West Bend School District and signed the recall petition. You can see it for yourself here.
One can certainly debate how relevant this fact is, but it is certainly newsworthy. The attempted recall of a sitting governor over the passage of Act 10 was a defining issue in Wisconsin that energized both sides of the debate to a white hot fury. The debate over Act 10 continues to be waged even as the evidence of years has mounted to prove that the Act has been tremendously successful in liberating local governments and taxpayers from the shackles of the entrenched public employee unions. It is precisely because the attempted recall of Governor Walker was so controversial that signing the recall petition continues to be relevant in current events.
In this case, we are not talking about the candidate signing the petition. We are talking about his wife. How relevant is it to how the candidate will perform the job should he win? That’s hard to say. We are also talking about a political office that, although partisan, is not terribly political. While a Sheriff can be politically active and has a philosophical view of how to do the job, 90+% of the job has to do with things like leadership, management, prioritization, communication, preparedness, etc.
Also, Marty Schulteis has a long history on the job in Washington County. If he were a closet lefty who uses his position to advance liberalism, one would think that someone would have noticed by now. I haven’t heard anyone make that claim.
I have met with both candidates and investigated their backgrounds. I am personally still undecided and it’s a close call for me. Both candidates have solid law enforcement bona fides and conservative philosophies, but have slightly different takes on how to be a Sheriff. You can read my column from a few weeks ago about them. This is another piece of data to throw into the decision matrix that wasn’t included in that column.
I asked Captain Schulteis if he would like to comment. He provided a very thoughtful response that I have posted in full below.
My commitment to Washington County is that I will be a Constitutional Sheriff that protects the individual rights of every person. The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution contain individual rights including the 1st amendment freedom of expression. My core belief in individual rights does not end when I pull into my driveway.
My wife is an exceptionally talented and dedicated local elementary educator of over 20 years. She is a strong and independent woman and I love her more than life itself. We started dating in high school long before our career paths developed. She and I share common ground on many public policy issues, but there are other areas that we find ourselves on completely opposite spectrums politically. One such example is the Governor’s performance. She signed the Walker petition back in 2011 based on her convictions. She also never left the classroom during the Madison protests based on her convictions. We have simply agreed to disagree on Act 10. Anyone with a significant other can probably relate to not always agreeing with one another on some issue.
I was raised in a conservative household and that is simply who I am. Although I do not agree with her, my greater conviction is that I completely protect her ability to have a difference of opinion.
If elected as Sheriff, my pledge will be to represent all with respect, dedication and fairness. The Sheriff needs to embody everyone’s common concerns relating to local public safety policy. It is imperative that the Sheriff can work with others that may not have the same philosophical views, even his wife.