Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. Note that I had an error in the deadline for getting an absentee ballot. I corrected it below.
Coronavirus might still be raging across the state, but our right to self-governance continues on. For now, the April election will be held on schedule.
The deadline has passed to request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. The deadline is April 2nd. If you already have one, be sure to fill it out and exercise your franchise. Most municipalities are still allowing in-person absentee voting until April 3, although there may be some additional precautionary measures. Be sure to call your local clerk. I voted a couple of weeks ago at City Hall in West Bend and it was a perfectly quick and delightful (and sanitary) experience.
Finally, the polls will be open on April 7. Some of the normal polling places have been moved and the process will work a bit differently, but they will be open. We must not abrogate our right to vote in the face of adversity.
There are several important races on the ballot. Here is a quick rundown of who I voted for and why:
Wisconsin Supreme Court: This is, by far, the most important election on the ballot. The Supreme Court is always important, but as we have seen our governor exercise extraordinary arbitrary power to micromanage all of our lives, the importance of the other branches of government stands out. Incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly is being challenged by a liberal activist judge Jill Karofsky, who has repeatedly told audiences how she would use the court to advance the liberal agenda. Daniel Kelly has proven himself to be a conservative jurist who will uphold the Constitution and the law – even if he personally disagrees with it. Kelly is an ethical judge with a humble temperament that is too rare nowadays in the judicial branch. To protect our rule of law and our rights, I voted for Daniel Kelly.
Court of Appeals District 2: This is the second most important election on the ballot. Very few cases are actually decided by the Supreme Court. Most important legal issues are settle in one of Wisconsin’s Courts of Appeals. Incumbent Appeals Court Judge Lisa Neubauer lost an election for the Supreme Court last year. In that election, she showed her true colors with a scorched-earth campaign in which she passionately advocated for liberal activism on the court. This election is a chance to remove her from the Court of Appeals and replace her with someone who respects the role of a humble jurist.
Fortunately, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Paul Bugenhagen Jr. is a great conservative judge with just the right temperament for the court. Bugenhagen got my vote.
Washington County executive: For the first time, Washington County citizens will elect a county executive after the County Board voted to change the county’s government structure. Josh Schoemann is the current county administrator. Adam Gitter is the Economic Development manager for the city of West Bend. Both men are conservative. Both men are veterans. Both men are career bureaucrats seeking their first elected office. Both are promising to hold the line on taxes and spending.
On the issues, Schoemann and Gitter differ on two primary issues. First, Schoemann supports park fees and Gitter does not. Second, Gitter considers the county sales tax to be a “slush fund” and wants to reform or repeal it. Schoemann thinks the sales tax is necessary to fund the county. I’m somewhat indifferent on park fees, but want to see the sales tax repealed. Mainly for that reason, I cast my vote for Adam Gitter.
Mayor of West Bend: Much like for county executive, the citizens of West Bend have two great choices for their next mayor. Chris Jenkins and Rich Kasten are both currently aldermen for West Bend. They are both conservative, fiscally and socially conservative, hard workers, and love the city. They both want to fix the roads, control spending and taxes, and attract businesses.
The difference really comes down to experience and background. I voted for Kasten because he is a bit older and more experienced. Also, Kasten works in the private sector while Jenkins works for another municipality. In light of the fact that the next mayor’s term will be spent trying to heal the city after a government-forced recession, I prefer a mayor whose experience is rooted in the private sector.
West Bend School Board. My column from a few weeks ago went into detail on the need for a new voice on the West Bend School Board. There is only one person on the ballot worth voting for. The citizens of the West Bend School District need Jody Geenen on the board.
In an era of unprecedented government intervention, it is more important than ever to choose our elected leaders. Vote by mail. Vote absentee in person. Go to the polls on April 7 to vote. Just vote.