Friday, September 24, 2010

Candidates for Wisconsin Governor Respond to Political Reform Questions (One Does and the Other Does Not)

Common Cause in Wisconsin Reform Update for September 24, 2010

1. Barrett Answers to Political Reform Questions; No Response from Walker
2. In 2010, as in 1910 - Reform Hangs in the Balance

1. During the Summer, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin sent candidates for statewide office and for the Legislature and Congress a number of questions about candidate positions on issues. Common Cause in Wisconsin collaborated in the effort and below are the responses of the two candidates for the office of Governor of Wisconsin on political reform issues:

The Questions

1. Do you support extending to all other state offices a system of public financing along the lines of the one created for state Supreme Court elections in the 2009 Impartial Justice Act?

2. Who should be responsible for redrawing legislative districts after each census: the Legislature, a nonpartisan legislative service agency or an independent citizen commission?

3. Do you support registration, reporting and advertising disclaimer requirements for corporate election spending? Do you support requiring corporations to notify and get permission from share holders in order to engage in election spending?

The Responses

Tom Barrett (Democrat)

1. Public financing of campaigns can help make sure everyone has an opportunity to seek public office, and greater inclusion makes for a stronger democratic process. While I support the current public financing of Supreme Court elections, I don’t believe it can be extended to all partisan offices, and there is role for private contributions in campaigns.

2. I have offered a detailed proposal to have the Government Accountability Board ensure that redistricting plans put forth by the legislature produce as many competitive seats as possible in accordance with federal law. This proposal can be implemented for the 2010 redistricting process, removing partisan politics from the process right away. Authorizing a new independent commission would require a change to our constitution and therefore could not be in effect for the upcoming redistricting.

3. Disclosure of campaign contributions is necessary to provide voters complete information on the candidates they are choosing from, and who is behind the messages they are seeing.

Scott Walker (Republican)

1. No Response

2. No Response

3. No Response

Voters deserve responses from Scott Walker to these questions so that they will have the information they need to make an informed choice for Governor. Both Walker and Barrett need to hear from citizens that these questions do matter because citizens know that without political reform in Wisconsin there is little chance that the very real problems confronting Wisconsinites will be addressed. Without reform, the corrupt status quo will prevail.

Confront both Barrett and Walker when they come to your community and ask them for answers to the three political reform questions. Call or e-mail their campaigns and ask them the questions.

Here is contact information for both campaigns:

Walker Campaign Headquarters: (414) 453-2010; E-mail:

Barrett Campaign Headquarters: (414) 271-8050; E-mail:

2. The 2010 election is critical in determining in what direction Wisconsin will head on many vital issues. Political reform is no exception. One hundred years ago Wisconsinites faced another such election. Then, as now, the question was go forward or turn back? CC/WI's executive director looks back at the candidates and issues in the 1910 election for Governor (and the 1911 legislative session that followed). Are there parallels and lessons for us in 2010? Read: In 2010 as in 1910 -- Reform is on the Line in Wisconsin in CC/WI's blog, A Wisconsin Political Fix.

Jay Heck, Executive Director
Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703

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