Oct 25, 2014

State Legislator Conned Constituents, Clean Water Activists

It's one of the oldest and most cynical tricks in the political playbook: Jump on a story and coopt a grassroots movement as your own.

State Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa and ALEC) was advised well, and perpetuated a political fraud and will likely lose an election in his gerrymandered district.

Krug strung along 1,000s of citizens fighting for the safety of their water against a proposed mega diary CAFO (Concentrated Agricultural Feeding Operation) after having accepted the CAFO's super lobby's Legislative Excellence Award which Krug highlights in the 2013-14 Wisconsin Bluebook

Citizens of central Wisconsin were witness to the spectacle in which Krug claimed he tried to build "consensus" with the proposed Wysocki CAFO by holding informal Ground Water Advisory Committee meetings that proved to be a con job Krug was playing on his own Constituents.

What kind of consensus does Krug want to build; the people don't want the CAFO anywhere near the Town of Saratoga.

Only after the August primary election showing overwhelming opposition to the proposed CAFO did Krug suddenly come to the conclusion that the CAFO should not be sited in the region with the most high capacity water wells in the state. So he issued one press release.

Bruce E. Dimick of Saratoga attended the Ground Water Advisory Committee meetings Krug held, reporting Krug often did not show up and never took minutes.

Krug disbanded the farce because, in Krug's own words at an October 7 Adams County forum, Krug told opponent Dana Duncan (D-Port Edwards): "We stopped meeting around the same time that many of the members started campaigning for you."

One can see why Scott Krug doesn't do forums anymore; he's in the assembly for a taxpayer-funded paycheck and nothing else.

Representative Scott Krug’s Ground Water Advisory Committee

By Bruce E. Dimick, Town of Saratoga

Well over a year ago Scott Krug, Assembly Representative from the 72nd District, recruited a citizens committee ostensibly to develop and draft legislation to regulate the proliferation of high capacity wells. We did recruit a knowledgeable cadre of citizens and others voluntarily joined along the way.

The first formal meeting was held on August 23, 2013 at the Rome Town Hall. total of sixteen people showed up including a surprise guest, Julie Lassa, Senator from District 24. It was learned much later from Katrina Shankland, Assembly Representative from the 71st District, that she and Julie had discussed having a bipartisan Ground Water Advisory Committee with Scott Krug, but he would have none of it. How could protecting our ground water be a partisan issue? So Katrina and Julie simply came to many of the meetings anyway or sent a representative.

Senator Neal Kedzie apparently got wind of Krug’s efforts and quickly introduced legislation of his own, a bill that latter became know as SB 302. This bill was essentially a rubber stamp for Big Ag to drill as many high capacity wells as they wanted wherever they wanted with just a few minor restrictions. Scott offered the thought that he could work with Kedzie to somehow modify his bill to meet the needs of the citizens of the Central Sands.

Towards the end of the first meeting, Scott charged the group with coming up with policy issues for the next meeting. A number of us did that and came to the next meeting on September 6 with copies of our policy ideas. There was no published agenda for the meeting and it seemed like the policy idea sharing was largely forgotten. We were able to share some of the ideas, but there was no structured discussion or any meaningful conclusions drawn. Scott Krug set a target of November to have a draft of a bill with a hearing. In subsequent meetings this goal was promptly forgotten.

The next meeting was on September 24. Scott had some new ideas. He wanted Dr. Francie Rowe to head up a committee that would be somewhat separate and work directly with him. He had some ideas about developing legislation that would only be applicable to the Central Sands and another committee that would work on legislation for the whole state. This direction sounded pretty good to most of us and Francie took her new charge seriously.

And that was the last we heard of that. There was no follow up with Francie and there was no formation of a separate committee.

Soon a number of us became suspicious that nothing was going to become of this Ground Water Advisory Committee. The basic fundamentals for a committee of this type were totally ignored.

  • There was no published agenda until some of the members took it upon themselves to create agendas. This didn’t happen until early 2014
  • The email list originating from Scott Krug’s office was erratic. Several of the members did not get the meeting reminders all the time. It appeared that no master list of members was ever created.
  • No official minutes from the meetings. Some members took it upon themselves to create minutes from their notes and recollections.
  • What ever was decided at the previous meeting was promptly forgotten. It was as if we were starting with a blank slate every meeting.
  • However, Scott Krug was getting maximum political mileage by hosting this committee. He referred to it constantly in his public letters.
As the legislative session approached an end early this year, Scott did write up a rough draft of a bill of sorts. He did not share it with the committee, but we were able to get a copy anyway through another channel. It was basically an unworkable disaster that would have never passed either the Assembly or the Senate. He had the gall to say he wrote it with our input.

During one of the final meetings, the committee persuaded Scott to abandon his bill and put all his efforts towards blocking Senator Neal Kedzie’s SB 302.

SB 302 never came up for a vote because it was so bad that a handful of Republicans in the Senate indicated that they would not vote for it.

The committee has pretty much petered out. The last meeting, rather poorly attended with a showing of 10 members, was held on May 23, 2014. There was no agenda and no follow up of any sort here four months later.

So the question is "Did Scott Krug just play us as a bunch of fools or is he incompetent when it comes to running a committee and developing meaningful legislation?"

I don’t know, but either way he must be replaced.

(A version of this letter is published in the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune)

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