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MAILBAG: Considine a common-sense leader
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MAILBAG: Considine a common-sense leader

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As an independent voter, I have regarded the state Legislature as dysfunctional, not merely in the last few years of Republican dominance but even earlier, when Democrats were in control. The two parties vilify one another and do all they can to frustrate one another. Somewhere in this storm of partisanship, the public interest gets lost.

To address this problem, I recommend David Considine to the voters as a candidate for the 81st Assembly District seat. I have known him for several years. He is a warm, approachable, highly intelligent, very creative and thoroughly decent person.

I am sure these adjectives can be applied in one degree or another to other candidates for our assembly seat, but something else makes him unique in the field of candidates.

Considine has worked for many years in the schools with emotionally disturbed children, and he has learned to respect them as persons, to approach them in difficult situations non-confrontationally, and to lead them from disaffection and even aggression to socially and educationally constructive behavior.

As a leader, he became president of the Baraboo Education Association, the teachers’ union. But he was anything but a union thug, as Gov. Scott Walker might say.

To help teachers, administrators and school board members see one another not as potential adversaries but first as individuals and then as collaborators in a shared enterprise, he invited them all to a big barbecue at his farm. The party was repeated when Considine retired, and again allowed people of differing perspectives to become comfortable with one another.

As the Education Association president, he advanced the teachers’ agenda by listening first to administrators and board members, then identifying the values that teachers, administrators, and school board members shared, and finally building on those shared values toward consensus.

After Act 10 was passed, the BEA re-elected him as president, endorsing his cooperative, constructive, effective leadership style. When Considine retired, not only his colleagues on the faculty, but administrators and school board members expressed great regret at his departure.

I think that the public interest may be served in the Legislature by his common sense and his uncommon but highly effective leadership style. Once elected, of course, as a junior member of the Assembly, he will not be in a position of formal leadership, but I trust that his attitude and his interpersonal communication skills will soon make a positive difference in Madison, as they have for years in Baraboo.

David W. Cole, Baraboo

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