Who am I?
A lifelong Wisconsinite (born in 1959 in Superior), I attended Catholic and public schools in the Fox Valley where I graduated from Lourdes High School in Oshkosh. I attended UW-Oshkosh for several years before deciding instead to serve my country in the U.S. Air Force. I served in Germany for three years as a telecommunications troubleshooter.
After an honorable discharge from the Air Force, I met and married my wife Jane. We have been together for 27 years and have two sons. I bartended for a stint after the military and was later hired as a correctional officer before being promoted to probation and parole agent. I have been a Wausau resident for nearly two decades and retired in 2011.
Whie employed by the State of Wisconsin I held elected union office for 16 years, the last 10 as Vice president of a 3200 member local (AFSCME Local 2748) and as Secretary of AFSCME Council 24. I aso served as the Chairman of the State Employees Political Action Committee (SEPAC)
In January of 2011 I was elected as the chair of the Marathon County Democratic Party. Since that time we have seen our membership grow from about 150 members to over 350. The level of activity in the county party has never been higher and for the first time in our history we have a permanent office open to serve the community better.
Why am I running?
Quite honestly my Catholic education instilled in me a passion for public service. Growing up in the 60s and 70s there was a strong focus on the need to work for social justice that stayed with me throughout my life. My heroes as a child (outside of the Green Bay Packers) were Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and locally Father James Groppi. Their commitment to social justice was unwavering and inspiring.
I believe that we have an obligatiion as Wisconsinites to make certain that our children have a better opportunity to succeed than we did. That means protecting our great public education system as well as protecting our environment and providing them with a thriving economy. I believe that we can have a strong economy without sacrificing our environment, in fact I believe that working towards sustainable energy can be the basis for our new economy.
Throughout my life I have tried to build coalitions with like minded people and build bridges to those that disagree. No one has all of the answers but by working together, as a community we can usually arrive at good decisions.
I want to hear from as many people in the district as possible, whether they are supporting me or not. My top goal is to restore open and transparent government to the Wisconsin state house. We have, until recently, been a model for how state government should function. We need to reclaim the status of being a truly progressive state. I believe that most citizens just want their government to work, and to work for them.
I have three economic proposals that I would introduce. The first is to create the Bank of Wisconsin, a state owned bank modeled after the Bank of North Dakota. The Bank of Wisconsin would make loans to small business', agriculture and students at the rate of prime +2%. Secondly I would introduce reinstating the usury law, capping interest at 15%. This would have the immediate effect of closing down all of the payday loan sharks that take advantage of those that can least afford it. Lastly I would introduce a bill to exempt unemployment benefits from state taxes. Study after study has shown that unemployment payments have one of the best returns to the economy and that they help stimulate growth.
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
Holding elected union office for 16 years brought me into contact with many very committed people that work everyday to serve the community. Many of these folks have been involved over the past 16 months in the political process like never before. They know what is at stake in the next election, and every one after, and have been working tirelessly to make the changes needed by supporting progressive candidates. My work with local labor unions has been inspiring and rewarding, although as unions many will not endorse in a primary I do have the personal support of most of the leadership. Whether it is at a union function or a Democratic party function or working on projects in the community we have been there to suppport each other.
As the chair of the Marathon Dems we have seen tremendous growth in membership and involvement. Our membership has more than doubled over the past 16 months and the level of engagement has never baan higher. For the first time in or history we have been able to open a permanent office. It is just a one room office in the Labor Temple, but having a physical presence in the community has led to greater cooperation with other groups. The volunteers have been and still are dedicated to working towards electing progressive candidates. Their support has been humbling.