Time for a leadership change in state legislature
In typical midwestern understatement the single word of Wisconsin’s state motto speaks volumes about the people who call this place home. It presents no pretense of perfection or expression of grand, unattainable idealism. Rather it is the promise that if you continue to put one muddy boot in front of the other, that at the end of the day you will be that much more ahead. That each day’s hard work keeps pushing forward.
In recent years, the Wisconsin state legislature, and in particular its leadership, has misplaced the meaning behind the motto. Instead of working to move Wisconsin forward, partisan leadership has become obsessed with “got-you-last” games. Rather than working for the people, they have worked to consolidate their own personal power and working against anyone of any party who would challenge that power. Senate majority leader Scott Fitzgerald has held his leadership position since 2011. Through the first eight years he was leader of the rubber-stamp brigade, pushing through Gov. Scott Walker’s programs. In the past few years, he has been a leader in resisting any initiative put forward by Gov. Tony Evers, even refusing to hold votes on approving the heads of state agencies.
After deciding he has outgrown the Madison fishbowl, Fitzgerald is currently seeking to improve his fortunes on a national stage by running for Congress to replace Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner who announced his retirement last fall. Fitzgerald is heavily favored to win that seat. Regardless of if he wins or loses, it is time for a leadership change.
There are already a handful of wouldbe successors who are touring around the state and rabble-rousing, promising to continue Fitzgerald’s legislative obstructionism and be the lapdog of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.
Rather than more of the same, it is time for Wisconsin to return to its heritage of common sense pragmatism and tap Sen. Jerry Petrowski of Marathon to return the state to the path forward.
As those who have worked with him know, Sen. Petrowski cares more about helping find solutions to his constituents’ problems then he does about if a caller’s name was on the right donor list. He is willing to negotiate and work with people across the political spectrum to find the middle ground, recognizing that there is far more that unites Wisconsinites than divides them.
It is this type of commitment to service that is lacking among leadership in both parties in the Wisconsin legislature. In order for Wisconsin to fulfill the drive forward, the state needs leaders who care more about the people they serve and doing what needs to be done to find solutions than they care about scoring points in political games.
Just as the North Star has guided travelers in the journey forward, Wisconsin senators must look north when it comes to picking a new leader to help guide the state through the troubled times ahead.
The state legislature needs leaders like Sen. Jerry Petrowksi who are focused on moving Wisconsin forward.