On Tuesday, August 14, Wisconsin voters will selec nominees for state offices in the November elections. In heavily Democratic legislative districts, such as those on the north and northwest sides of Milwaukee, there are no Republican candidates, so the Democratic nominees are virtually certain to win those seats. Here are my recommendations for three of them:
10th Assembly: Rep. Sandy Pasch, who now represents the 22nd District (1) is an easy choice for this nomination. A former nurse, she has a special interest in health care legislation, and led the successful effort to require insurance companies to cover mental health and drug-abuse treatments. She is the Assistant Democratic Leader of the Assembly, and chairperson of the Milwaukee Caucus. None of the other three candidates for the Democratic nomination have any legislative experience at all.
17th Assembly: Fred Royal, who has served on the Social Development Commission and the MATC Board, is the most informed and articulate candidate in this contest.
6th State Senate: Supervisor Nikiya Harris of the Second County Board District is the default choice in a weak field of five candidates seeking to succeed Spencer Coggs, who was elected City Treasurer in April. Only two of the remaining candidates have ever held elective office: State Rep. Elizabeth Coggs (10th) and Supervisor Michael Mayo (7th).
Coggs, who previously served on the County Board, is the most experienced of the candidates. She supports the Milwaukee Parental School Choice Program, which is vital to the District's Jewish community. For that reason alone, many Jewish Democrats will support her for the nomination for State Senator. However, she recently urged black voters in the 10th District (which she now represents) to "vote for someone who looks like you" rather than Rep. Pasch, the only white candidate in the field. I denounced this blatant appeal to black racism in my posting entitled "Playing the Race Card." Harris has also castigated her for that remark.
Mayo, who led the committee that designed the notorious gerrymander of County Board districts now in effect, has faced numerous ethics charges. (2) He paid a record fine for violating campaign finance reporting laws and was accused by a Board employee of sexual harassment in 2004 (although he was not charged by the District Attorney). He does not deserve elevation to a higher office.
The remaining two candidates, Delta Triplett and Allyn Monroe Swan, have no record in public office to evaluate. In contrast, Nikiya Harris has been an effective member of the County Board and her record is clear of both misconduct and racism. She does not support School Choice, but the program is so popular and well-established that I do not believe that it is in any danger of repeal. Although I favor School Choice (with tough accountability standards), that issue alone is not enough to persuade me to accept Beth Coggs as my State Senator in view of her opposition to Sandy Pasch as her successor.
Gerald S Glazer
(1) Her Whitefish Bay home was placed into the largely-Republican 23rd District by the 2011 redistricting act. The new 22nd District is now in Menomonee Falls. She will move into Shorewood, which is in the new 10th District, if nominated.
(2) Disclosure: I ran against Michael Mayo in 2004, and he won.