Sorry I’m not still in Madison? Yes and no…
Last month, I sublet my East Mifflin Street apartment about four blocks off the Capitol Square in Madison, where I had been living during the week since July. Each morning for nearly six months, I would walk to the Capitol, where I had a key to get in and go to work in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. There was a bit of coverage when I left Wausau for this sojourn, since I was the longest currently-serving elected official in Wausau city government at that time. But it was something that I needed to do when the opportunity came up and I’m happy that I did.
As I’m reconnecting with people in Wausau now, the most common thing I hear is this: “I thought you were in Madison!” I explain that with the end of Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton’s term, I’m now back in Wausau full-time. But over the last couple of weeks, there is a follow-up: “I bet you wish you were down there now!” or alternatively: “I’ll bet you’re glad you’re not down there now!”
Well, that’s kind of an interesting thought — but you have to remember that if I was down there now in the capacity that I had served in, none of this would be happening at all. It isn’t because I would have been able to prevent it. It’s because if I was still there, Scott Walker wouldn’t be governor. Barbara Lawton stood with Wisconsin workers and it was more than once that people recalled to me that she stood with Tyson Foods workers in Jefferson on the picket line or showed leadership to defend economic opportunity for Wisconsin citizens, women, veterans and others.
I ran into Barbara Lawton last Saturday in the Capitol. We both stand with Wisconsin workers and against the Koch machine, as it tries to steamroll the rights and opportunities of this state’s public employees. We know that the lower standard of living that these people are trying to set in Wisconsin will not stop with public employee unions. It’s about a few incredibly wealthy people getting even more at the expense of millions of others getting less. It’s unfortunate that there are still a lot of people who don’t get it, but that’s what it is, pure and simple. (I don’t say any of this an attempt to speak for Barbara Lawton because anyone who knows her would also know that she speaks for herself. I say it simply because I know it to be true.)
So am I sorry I’m not in Madison right now? I’m happy to be back in my own home in Wausau. But as for the larger question and all that it means, I really don’t know.