The April 2 election isn’t covered in the media like last fall’s, but the winners’ decisions and policies could affect us in serious ways.
Residents of all local wards will be able to vote for state superintendent of public instruction, Wisconsin Supreme Court justice, and Baraboo School Board representative.
The candidates for Supreme Court justice are law professor Ed Fallone and incumbent Justice Patience Roggensack. There are seven justices on the court and five of them, including Roggensack, lean to the right. With a majority of Republicans in both legislative chambers, and a Republican governor, there is currently no balance in our state government. Thanks to the Republican-dominated Legislature and the Republican governor, the fulfilled wishes of the most generous campaign contributors are evident in almost every new Wisconsin law, some of which are questioned for their constitutionality. If Roggensack is returned to the court, the biggest donors could benefit.
Here’s why, Roggensack supports the current court rule that judges can decide whether to recuse themselves when one of the parties before the court has donated to that justice or if there is another connection between the judge and a party in the case. Even though Roggensack and others have accepted large contributions from special interest groups, the rule states that a justice can choose to stay on a case involving one of those contributors, despite a conflict of interest.
Fallone, her challenger, is a law professor at Marquette University, a constitutional scholar and practicing attorney. He opposes that rule as he believes that, to protect the court’s integrity, justices must remove themselves from cases that involve their campaign contributors. That’s just common sense.
Fallone’s website describes his qualifications as “Professor Fallone has a broad base of legal experience. He has taught at Marquette University Law School for two decades, focusing on constitutional law, immigration law, securities regulation and corporate law.” He also practices civil, corporate and contract law.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s main function is to be the final authority on issues that pertain to the Wisconsin Constitution. Fallone has extensive experience teaching and practicing constitutional law. He has promised to be an unbiased justice who will decide cases solely according to law, not to repay favors. He also pledges to help restore civility on the court, a problem even before the alleged David Prosser choking incident.
The superintendent of public instruction is Tony Evers, who received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in education and school administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has been a teacher, a principal, deputy state superintendent, and state superintendent, so he knows public schools. Although he fought Gov. Scott Walker’s record cuts to public schools, he has worked with the governor on many issues to improve the quality of education. His Fair Funding plan would hold the line on net property taxes and result in a gross property tax decrease of about 18 percent.
Running against Evers is Republican Don Pridemore. Pridemore admits he never attended or taught in a public school. His degree is in engineering. Pridemore has stated he thinks single parenthood is largely responsible for child abuse and neglect, that federal officials who implement Obamacare should be arrested, and that the state should spend more on voucher schools, even though non-partisan studies show they perform no better than public schools and, in many cases, produce worse results in student achievement.
Because of his radical ideas, one of which is that a state can nullify federal law, columnist James Wigderson questioned his rationality. Wigderson wrote on Dec. 6, 2012 in the Waukesha Freeman, “By embracing an extremist ‘nullification” argument’, including the odd position of arresting public officials, Pridemore has gone beyond the quirky to full-jacket crackpot.” And that’s a conservative’s opinion.
To restore civility and impartiality on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, I strongly recommend voting for Ed Fallone. Tony Evers is the obvious choice for state superintendent of public instruction since his challenger has no experience or education that qualifies him for the position.
The polling place for all Baraboo residents is now the Civic Center, in the gymnasium. Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 2. If you have questions about your registration it would be wise to vote before that date at the Baraboo City Clerk’s office at 135 4th St. between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
This is a very important election. Please participate.
Pat Nash has worked as a freelance writer, farmer, human resource manager, customer service supervisor and educator. Contact her at email@example.com.