Commentary

A family of Polish berry pickers in a field--historic photo from Liibrary of Congress

Wisconsin should continue to welcome immigrants

BY: - September 20, 2019

One of the more refreshing features of Wisconsin, and Milwaukee in particular, is the broad appreciation for the ways in which different ethnic groups  enrich a community. Other places where  I’ve lived and worked don’t celebrate their diverse ethnic groups. In California, Arizona and Texas there are Mexican and Mexican American communities, with a few […]

Wisconsin farmers at the U.S. Capitol

Wisconsin Farmers Union Goes to Washington

BY: - September 16, 2019

Farmers and their advocates from across the state, from Blanchardville to Bayfield, flew to Washington, DC, last week as part of the National Farmers Union Fly-In.  The 24 members of the Wisconsin Farmers Union delegation joined up with colleagues from around the country, making our group close to 400 strong. We called on Congress to […]

Tom Barrett talking with an African American factory worker while campaigning for governor in 2010

Tom Barrett’s black voter problem 

BY: - September 10, 2019

Could 2020 be the year Milwaukee finally elects a black mayor? Mayor Tom Barrett will run for his fifth term as mayor next year. As the incumbent, he is and is the commonly accepted favorite, but changing demographics and political realities in the city could make a difference. State Sen. Lena Taylor is the first […]

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 7: Ckaris Williams, a teacher and Hurricane Katrina evacuee, prepares her classroom at Douglass Elementary School in Houston September 7, 2005 in Houston, Texas. Douglass was closed for budgetary reasons but the Houston Independent School District reopened the facility for children of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. Williams taught at Frederick Douglass Elementary on the West Bank in New Orleans prior to the storm.

The mission of our schools

BY: - September 3, 2019

My wife and I are watching two of our grandchildren go off to school this fall, a first grader and a fourth grader. They attend Milwaukee’s Fernwood Montessori and have different teachers this year. Even though their parents are very supportive as they ferry them off to school every day, I still worry about them. […]

Wisconsin state flag

How to win Wisconsin

BY: and - August 30, 2019

Log on to any major national news site or watch any of the cable news networks and you will inevitably hear that Wisconsin is considered the most critical state for winning the presidency next year. We happen to agree. As the national media and operative class pontificate about how to win Wisconsin, we’d like to […]

Wisconsin Constitution

Partial veto is a deliberate check on legislative power

BY: and - August 29, 2019

Since 1930, the Wisconsin Constitution has authorized our governors to veto portions of bills that appropriate funds. This broad authority has given all of our modern governors greater power within the legislative process than the President of the United States or other governors have. (Several states allow vetoes of individual line-item appropriations, but few grant […]

Mandela Barnes and Tony Evers in Milwaukee

Mandela Barnes’ rocky start

BY: - August 28, 2019

When Mandela Barnes was elected lieutenant governor of Wisconsin on a ticket with Gov. Tony Evers, it was an historic occasion in Wisconsin politics. Barnes wasn’t the first African-American ever to hold the title of lieutenant governor nationally —there have been numerous lieutenant governors in other states who have been minorities—but for Wisconsin, it was […]

DRAKETOWN, GA Members of the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the US, hold a swastika burning. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

No nation filled with hate can be great

BY: - August 23, 2019

Hate is not only devastatingly traumatic to those on the receiving end, it’s destructive to those doing the hating. It’s like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. Still, hate is an undeniably powerful and seductive emotion. It incites people to action, even to violence. It is regularly put to use for political gain. […]

The voices behind driver’s license reform

BY: - August 16, 2019

Until 2007, undocumented immigrants in Wisconsin could obtain driver’s licenses. But after the passage of the federal REAL ID Act, authored by Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls), states were forced to deny driver’s licenses to people who didn’t have Social Security numbers.  Guadalupe, a single mother of six from Milwaukee, shared in a Wauwatosa […]

Wisconsin Examiner turns one month old

BY: - August 16, 2019

My oldest daughter, Lily, turned 18 at the end of July while on a canoe trip in the Canadian Arctic all summer. This week, the rest of the family and I are headed up to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on the Minnesota/Canada border for our last fling of summer, and to see Lily return […]

Cat drinking water from a sink tap

Avoid taking a swig of this water

BY: - August 13, 2019

There is abundant evidence that Southwest Wisconsin has concerning levels of drinking water contamination. In early August, researchers conducting the Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater & Geology (SWIGG) Study found that more than nine out of 10 wells in Grant, Iowa and Lafayette counties, that tested positive for coliform bacteria in prior sampling rounds, contained fecal matter […]

Wisconsin State Capitol

Democracy in Wisconsin: Back to the Future

BY: - August 12, 2019

When I became the director of Common Cause in Wisconsin in 1996, this state was still very much one of the bright lights in the nation when it came to honest, transparent, accountable state government and politics.   There was bipartisan consensus here that the amount of special interest money in elections was growing and that […]