Friday, March 11, 2016

Letter: Officials should listen to public

I know most people don’t really want to pay close attention to the “sausage-making” that goes on in Madison when it comes to passing bills into law, but this is really important.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, since 2011, Assembly Republicans like Romaine Quinn, Adam Jarchow, Dean Knudson, and John Murtha have supported more than 100 pieces of legislation that are unfunded mandates or restrict local authority over local issues. Sen. Sheila Harsdorf has helped get these bad bills passed so Gov. Scott Walker could quickly sign them into law. All because they have to get back to their districts to smooth things over with the voters so they can be re-elected for the purpose of keeping us on this destructive path.

We elect people within our district to speak for us in Madison and work to pass laws that serve the people. With total Republican control of our Assembly and Senate, our elected officials went to Madison and got to work on the issues for special interest groups. Large corporations and organizations like ALEC, a Tea Party think tank, now suggest language for bills. Those bills get rushed through public hearings to meet legal requirements or are amended at the last minute and discussed in session in the middle of the night – all because they know if most people understood what they were doing, there is no way they’d be re-elected.

 Right now, the Republicans in the Assembly and Senate are working on changes in laws that will disrupt services to seniors and people with disabilities, remove shore land zoning from local authorities, and interfere with local school board elections.

How does this serve the people? It does not. It only serves special interest groups who want to bilk Wisconsin tax payers.

We must pay attention and ask our elected officials why they say they support local control, like zoning, and then go back to Madison and put an important local control issue like shore land zoning into the control of Madison. I know the answer. It’s because they are serving a special interest group, not the people who live in this state.

We’ve been lied to and it is time to stand up and fight for our rights to clean air, water, and land.

This is not a Democratic, Republican, or Independent issue. We must hold our elected officials accountable and then we must elect people who will truly represent all of us.

Carol Johnson, Deer Park
Appeared in the March 2, 2016, Chronotype