By Ryan Ekvall | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON – Politics — local, state and nation — continue to consume the news in Wisconsin this week.
After a stunning week in the spotlight for Republicans in Tampa, Fla., last week, it was the Democrats turn to take center stage, this time in Charlotte, N.C., for the Democratic National Convention.
While Wisconsin Democrats may not have spent a lot of time in the national limelight, the state did get a few nods from the convention stage with off-prime time speakers.
Wisconsin’s DNC Experience
Wisconsin Democratic delegates sat in the nosebleed seats to hear President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Wisconsin Congresswomen Gwen Moore of Milwaukee and Tammy Baldwin of Madison.
Baldwin, who faces former Gov. Tommy Thompson, a Republican, in November’s U.S. Senate contest, was arguably snubbed at the DNC. Baldwin was scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Thurdsay to live television broadcasts across Wisconsin. Instead she pushed to the 5:30 slot and spoke to an Internet audience.
Baldwin, who could become the first openly gay U.S. senator if elected, used her speech to talk up president’s policy on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and to distinguish the “Wisconsin I know” from the one portrayed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican’s vice presidential candidate, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Thompson.
“But the Wisconsin I know, knows that having two sets of rules makes no kind of sense,” Baldwin said. “We believe in hard work. For decades, we’ve worked to make things: paper, engines, tools, ships—and, yes, cheese, brats, and beer. Give our workers a fair shot, and we’ll compete against anyone.”
New Capitol police chief tested in first week on the job
Back in the Wisconsin Capitol, Dave Erwin, the new Capitol police chief, was tested early and often on his proclamation to crack down on Capitol protesters. Several protesters continue to roam the Capitol months after the heated and often contentious recall election. Erwin said he would enforce longstanding rules requiring permits for demonstrations and signs.
This week, 11 protesters were arrested and given citations for displaying signs without a permit.
GAB aims to end election day confusion
Wisconsin’s elections watchdog, the Government Accountability Board, launched a “Back to Basics“ program to retrain city and county and voters on the state’s ever-changing election laws.
“So Back to Basics is about making sure that the clerks and the poll workers understand the basics of things like proof of residence, making sure that people provide the proper proof of residence when they’re registering on election day, making sure that they are sort of in control of election observers, making sure that they’ve got their polling places set up in a logical and user-friendly way so you’re not creating bottlenecks and long lines,” GAB spokesman Reid Magney said.
In other news …
… Wisconsin Reporter followed up on a law passed June 2011 that authorized the city of Milwaukee to sell vacant Milwaukee Public School buildings, which one state senator claims are an eye-sore and a waste of taxpayer money.
… Twenty-one school buildings sit vacant in Milwaukee at the cost of $1 million per year. Since the law passed, the city has not contracted to sell any of the buildings. Milwaukee Public Schools sold two vacant buildings for $1.2 million each.