Mar 7, 2015

Door County Republican Pummeled over Walker Budget

There is a point at which enough people are hurt by a slow-motion destruction project, a breaking point, that a change in the political culture results.

Freshman State Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) is finding this out.

Kitchens held listening sessions in Door and Kewaunee County in northeastern Wisconsin on Scott Walker’s 2015-17 biennial budget and was battered.

Reports Jim Lundstrom in the Peninsula Pulse:

Gov. Walker's biennium budget was a focus of a recent listening session held by freshman 1st District Assemblyman Joel Kitchens, which contains proposals that seem to confirm fears that Wisconsin is in a fight for its identity, with attacks on several sacred cows – public education, the UW System, the state parks, the Natural Resources Board, the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, and, yes, even the Wisconsin Idea.

As summed up by Dr. Peter Sigmann at the Feb. 27 standing-room-only listening session at the Sturgeon Bay Public Library, in his time at the Medical College of Wisconsin, talented people were recruited to the college from other states because of Wisconsin's quality of life, and now that is under relentless attack. ...

"The problems we've had in Door County we're not caused by CAFOs," Kitchens said.

"Yes they were," many voices responded.

Don Freix of Fish Creek (one of only three people who identified himself before asking a question) pointed out that in 2000, the state was spending 32 percent more on the UW System than on corrections. "That's what's eating up our budget," he said.

"As of this proposed budget, we'll be spending 17 percent less on education than we will be spending on corrections," he said. "We're at a pretty hypocritical place right now. What will this Assembly majority will do to cut these costs?"

Another man said it is the sentencing system that is wrong. "We're overcommitting too many people," he said.

"We do need to look at the court system," Kitchens said.

A woman pointed out that the elimination of SeniorCare would force her onto Medicaid, which will triple her premiums.

"I think we can save it. I'll be introducing an amendment," Kitchens said.

"A lot of representatives are hearing about that," [Rep. Michael Schraa of Oshkosh]  added.

Attacking constituents through the state budget is not playing well in Door and Kewaunee County.

CAFOs were reportedly the topic of heated commentary.

Kitchens must not have heard yet about his own constituents poisoned and hospitalized last year by pathogens in liquid cow manure vectored into the aquifers and surface waters.

As for Scott Walker, he's on his fundraising tour, pretending he'll be president one day.

Worth noting is a Wisconsin state representative is holding no-holds-barred listening sessions two months into his first term, and Scott Walker has yet to hold even one listening session with the people of Wisconsin, and Walker is telling Republicans around the nation how "bold" he is.

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