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Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010

Shepherd Express Endorsements

Vote Sept. 14

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Chris Moews for Milwaukee County Sheriff

If you were to describe the ideal candidate for Milwaukee County sheriff, you couldn’t do much better than Milwaukee Police Lt. Chris Moews. He thoroughly understands the issues and problems facing Milwaukee County, and actually has realistic solutions to address these problems in the area of law enforcement and community security.

A lifelong resident of Milwaukee County, Moews is a graduate of Marquette High School. He spent two years in a seminary, but wanted to have a family (he is now married with two sons) and decided to pursue a degree in criminal justice at UW-Milwaukee. He started his law enforcement career in Fox Point and then Milwaukee, where he rose through the ranks to become lieutenant and late-shift supervisor of the homicide division. His distinguished career includes numerous commendations, such as “Swift actions to resolve a dangerous situation with no loss of life,” “Swift actions to avoid death/injury of subject in custody,” “Interrogation of serial rapist suspect resulting in full confession” and “Successful recovery of a missing and endangered child who was severely neglected and abused.” In contrast, his opponent, Sheriff David Clarke, was actually dismissed from the Milwaukee Police Department for his conduct, before being reinstated on appeal and serving a suspension.

Unfortunately, this excellent candidate is having trouble getting his message out because he is being vastly outspent by Clarke, who—despite running as a Democrat—is heavily funded by the right-wing faction of the Republican Party.

Moews has worked to get one-on-one meetings, and when he’s had the opportunity to meet with leading Democratic officials like Sen. Russ Feingold, Rep. Gwen Moore, former Milwaukee County Sheriffs Lev Baldwin and Robert Kliesmet, numerous county supervisors and a multitude of other local elected officials, he has quickly won their enthusiastic support.

In essence, a vote for Moews will end the too-long tenure of Clarke, who has unnecessarily politicized the office by cozying up to the Tea Party crowd and the Bush administration in order to advance his career and far-right political agenda. Clarke also has shown questionable judgment as sheriff. He wants to impose a boot-camp regimen on inmates, even though it’s been proven not to work, as well as Bible study. And, in a notorious 2008 incident, he couldn’t properly arrest a drunken driver who was stuck in a snowbank. The driver’s blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit, yet Clarke, the first officer on the scene, tried to help the driver get his car back on the road. Clarke’s imprudent actions have also resulted in a number of unnecessary lawsuits that cost the taxpayers money.

In contrast to Clarke’s out-of-control ego and distractions from his duties, Moews would focus on law enforcement in a steady and reasoned manner. We’d be safer with Moews as sheriff, and that’s the best reason for voters to support Chris Moews on Sept. 14.

Send Chris Larson to the State Senate

We enthusiastically support Chris Larson for District 7 of the state Senate, which runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline from UW-Milwaukee through the East Side, the Third Ward, Walker’s Point, Bay View, St. Francis, South Milwaukee, Cudahy and Oak Creek.

Larson faces longtime incumbent Sen. Jeff Plale in the primary. Plale is not a mainstream Democrat and does not support the causes and solutions that are important to most Democrats and many of his constituents. In fact, Plale had a hand in defeating some of the Democrats’ most important proposals, such as the Clean Energy Jobs Act. In doing so, Plale did the bidding of the conservative faction of the business community. His actions set back the state’s clean energy agenda at the very same time the state should be investing in solar and wind technologies and the next-generation jobs that will result from these industries.

Plale also does the bidding of the school voucher crowd, now led by controversial former Republican lawmaker Scott Jensen at the Alliance for School Choice and American Federation for Children, national organizations headed by Betsy DeVos that are pouring money into the race to boost Plale’s chances at the polls. DeVos is the former chair of the Republican Party in Michigan and the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the mercenary group Blackwater. This sort of out-of-state, school-voucher-group meddling in Wisconsin’s elections is not a new thing, and it’s definitely not a good thing.

In addition, Plale is not pro-choice on reproductive issues and has continually been endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life.

Despite his opposition to women’s reproductive choices and his unequivocal support for the voucher school issues, Plale managed to get some surprising endorsements. In this past session there were efforts to keep all controversial bills regarding reproductive choice and private school funding from reaching the floor of the Senate for a vote. Groups like WEAC and Planned Parenthood will endorse incumbents like Plale as long as they did not vote against the groups’ issues in the past legislative session. Since there was nothing to vote against, Plale gets the endorsement.

Happily, voters in the 7th Senate District can vote for a candidate—Chris Larson—who truly represents their interests.

In stark contrast to Plale, Larson is more in sync with the district. Larson is pro-transit, pro-green jobs, pro-choice and pro-public education. While serving on the Milwaukee County Board, Larson has fought to secure dedicated funding for the Milwaukee County Transit System and Milwaukee County Parks, save the Hoan Bridge and ensure that patients at the county’s Mental Health Complex are treated safely and with dignity. We’re confident that Larson will continue to represent his district’s best interests while serving in the state Senate.

Vote for Larson and you’re voting for a public servant, not a corporate puppet.

Gwen Moore for Re-election to Congress

Voters may be mad at Congress for being out of touch with their everyday concerns, but Gwen Moore is one congresswoman who is deeply connected to Milwaukee, understands the problems and consistently delivers for her constituents. Moore gets high marks for her ability to cut through the noise and discuss divisive issues with clarity. And then she acts on her promises.

In addition to her work in Washington, Moore stepped into debates on the mayoral takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools and funding for transit, making herself the voice of reason amid controversy. She’s a strong advocate for veterans, the city’s poor and homeless, public education and the city’s African-American residents. Gwen Moore has earned another term in Congress and we wholeheartedly support her re-election.

Scott Dettman on the Southwest Side and Greenfield

In the surprisingly competitive race in this southwestern Milwaukee County Assembly District, we’re picking first-time candidate Scott Dettman over 27-year veteran of the state Assembly Peggy Krusick. Krusick seems to take many of her positions on hot-button issues from right-wing talk radio. Dettman is more in line with mainstream Democratic positions, and is committed to public transit, high-speed rail and job creation that will lead the state into the 21st century. We’re impressed by Dettman’s professionalism, intelligence and ability to win over supporters. He’ll be a good addition to the state Assembly in January and we predict he’ll have a long career in politics and public service.

Tom Nelson for Lieutenant Governor

Democrats have four fine choices for lieutenant governor on Sept. 14. Our pick is state Assembly Majority Leader Tom Nelson of Kaukauna. We like his positions on the issues and the political advantage that he offers to Tom Barrett, the likely Democratic nominee for governor.

On the issues, Nelson has been a strong advocate for progressive causes. As Assembly Majority Leader, Rep. Nelson was instrumental in pushing through Democrats’ reform agenda, which has expanded access to health care and insurance coverage, passed a long-overdue mental health parity bill, encouraged job creation in manufacturing and closed tax loopholes that allow big corporations to dodge taxes while workers and homeowners bear an unfair burden. Most notably, Nelson pushed a tough bill on payday lenders—fighting against more than 25 lobbyists hired by the payday lending industry—that would protect consumers, not the multimillion-dollar industry that preys on working people. While a weaker bill was eventually passed, the bill Nelson sponsored was supported by most Milwaukee legislators, consumer advocacy groups and organizations that represent progressives, the faith community and seniors.

On the campaign trail, Nelson will be an asset to Tom Barrett. In his first run for office, Nelson beat a Republican incumbent in a Republican-majority district, so he knows how to win a tough election. He’s very visible in the Fox Valley and northern Wisconsin, which will be an advantage to a Milwaukee-based candidate. And Nelson is a tireless campaigner who will give 110% from now until Nov. 2.

Tom Nelson has our vote and we encourage Shepherd readers to support him as lieutenant governor on Sept. 14.

JoCasta Zamarripa for Assembly District 8

Now that longtime state Rep. Pedro Colon is leaving the state Assembly, voters on Milwaukee’s South Side can vote for a newcomer to electoral politics, but someone who has a long career as a community activist. We endorse JoCasta Zamarripa for the 8th Assembly District because of her accomplishments in the community, her progressive values and her enthusiasm for working hard in Madison. Zamarripa is an advocate for women’s health, increased funding for public services and quality education. She’s smart to ask large corporations and delinquent taxpayers to pay their fair share of taxes as a way to balance the state budget, since the residents of Milwaukee are paying enough. We think Zamarripa’s drive and sense of fairness will be an asset to her district’s constituents when she’s fighting for them in Madison.

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