Silent Alarm – Who do I vote for in November? Part 2
BY MIKE MCFADZEN
In last month’s Silent Sports, we tackled Trump, Pelosi, Russia and how to personally influence the political process. In this issue, we vet issues and research. I’m not going to tell you how to vote in November but will share information and resources to help you pick the right candidate
The mid-term election is held Tuesday, November 6, 2018, with most polls open 7 am-8 pm (I’ve been the first voter at the Greenbush polling station a couple times). Offices include Governor, state offices, U.S. Senator, U.S. Congress, State Senator (odd-numbered districts) and House. A variety of county offices are also on the ballot. This is a biggie in Wisconsin as the Democrats attempt to gain control of the Senate. Eligible voters who have a current driver’s license or state ID can now register online at myvote.wi.gov/en-us/RegisterToVote. If you aren’t around on Nov. 6, get your absentee ballot now at elections.wi.gov/voters/absentee. You’ll need to show your ID to vote in Wisconsin.
Vote conservation and recreation
Many silent sports buffs want to support candidates who support natural resources and recreational opportunity. The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters (WLCV) work to promote bills that have a positive impact on natural resources, including clean-energy jobs, protecting health, preserving forests, farms, rivers and wildlife. WLCV works proactively to pass laws that foster conservation policy and defensively to protect good conservation laws already on the books. WLCV tracks how legislators vote on natural resource issues. Check out your legislator at conservationvoters.org/vote-tracker-legislators/.
Jennifer Giegerich, WLCV Government Affairs Director, identified the top threats to recreational and natural resources.
“The future of the Knowles Nelson Stewardship program is especially important for recreation,” she said. “A significant portion of recreation spending comes through Stewardship which WLCV is working hard to reauthorize in 2019. Stewardship is currently funded at $33 million compared to a high of $88 million several years ago. Water quality is also a concern as testing of private wells has become more common.
According to Giegerich, in a recent study, 60 percent of sampled wells in Kewaunee County contain fecal microbes, which are capable of making people and animals sick. “Conservation is a top issue for voters and we know Republican and Democrats care about natural resources,” Giegerich told Silent Sports.
Straight Talk From the Heartland
If your dial swings more to the right, visit John Torinus’s top-rated blog, Straight Talk from the Heartland, for an articulate view of state and national issues at johntorinus.com/ Torinus. As the chairman of Serigraph and former Milwaukee Sentinel Business editor, he disdains the current political bickering which panders to the bases.
“Conservation isn’t a partisan issue,” said Torinus. “Approximately 80 percent of Wisconsin residents support good conservation policies with a large majority willing to pay an additional tax to support it.”
While Torinus didn’t oppose the Foxconn subsidy, he felt the money could be better spent.
“It’s a huge bet for (Governor) Walker to spend $300 thousand/job,” he explained. “You could fund 4,500 entrepreneurial startups for the same amount of money. The economy and environment should move forward together in a collaborative atmosphere, which we don’t have right now.”
Does good community biking ring your bell? Visit the Bike Federation of Wisconsin to learn about their legislative priorities, including biking advocacy and bike-friendly communities. The Bike Fed backs it up, citing studies on the economic impact of cycling. Did you know that cycling boots Wisconsin economy by $1.5 billion? Read more at bfw.org/advocacy/economic-impact/.
In the past, natural resources issues were considered a Democratic concern, but several Republicans are strong supporters of park funding and clean water. These include Senator Rob Cowles (Green Bay) and Representative Joel Kitchens (Sturgeon Bay). Governor Scott Walker has taken a different tact by cutting state parks funding, weakening shoreline protection and mining regulations. The extreme is represented by Senator Tom Tiffany (Hazlehurst), who’s earned the moniker Toxic Tom. Tiffany has sponsored or supported a slew of anti-natural resource legislation, including exempting Foxconn from clean water protections, as well as weakening water quality and industrial acid mining rules.
Parks Are Important
For the latest on Wisconsin State Parks, including funding and programs, visit the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP) website at friendswiparks.blogspot.com. This well-maintained site has a legislative link which speaks to FWSP positions on a variety of natural resource issues. Another helpful website for parks information is Bill Lunny for Parks and can be found at hlunney4healthyparks.org/blog-discussion-of-park-issues.html. This website discusses some of the pressing issues regarding parks and the challenges and opportunities to work together to preserve and enhance these valuable assets. Lunny, a former FWSP President, knows what it takes to have a successful and healthy park system.
“Parks are not simply a recreational commodity that can be supported by fees to balance annual budgets,” he said. “That approach ignores any future park upkeep for the parks’ land and stewardship needs.”
Above all, do your research and VOTE!