By Doug Hissom Special to Published Feb 06, 2008 at 5:20 AM

Sam McGovern-Rowen is calling out the big guns for his Milwaukee aldermanic campaign, namely his grandfather, and former presidential candidate, George McGovern.

McGovern addresses a campaign rally for McGovern-Rowen, a candidate in the 3rd District, at 6 p.m., Feb.12 at Historic Turner Hall, 1034 N. 4th St.

Political operative Bill Christofferson is pitching for  McGovern-Rowen, as well.

"We don't live in the district, but have more than a passing interest in city government," Christofferson wrote in an e-mail publicizing McGovern's appearance.

"And we're supporting Sam McGovern-Rowen as the best choice in a strong field, with more than one good candidate."

True stimulus: While most taxpayers rub their hands in glee at the thought of getting $300 from the government, the poorest of the poor will have to contend with lumps of coal in their stockings.

Sen. Russ Feingold thinks that maybe they shouldn't be forgotten.

As part of his economic stimulus package, Feingold suggests that there also be an increase in food stamp benefits.

"By boosting Food Stamp benefits, we are creating a win-win situation -- helping Americans who need assistance the most and are likely to be adversely impacted by a downturn, while giving the economy a boost," Feingold has said.

Experts cite returns as high as $1.73 for every $1 invested in the program, making this a cost-effective proposal. Unfortunately, the President and House leaders announced the economic stimulus package would not include the benefit.

Strange day, indeed: State Sen. Tim Carpenter, who is looking more and more like Al Gore, used Groundhog Day to try and make some political hay.

"If Speaker (Mike) Huebsch comes outside tomorrow and sees a shadow, does that mean that we will have to wait for another legislative session before the Assembly will vote to stop the state mandate that fired Milwaukee police officers must continue to be paid?" asked Carpenter.

"And if the Speaker does see a shadow, will it be his own shadow, or the dark shadow of special interests that are stopping the Speaker from keeping his promise to bring the police pay bill for a vote?"

Alberta Clipper: State Sen. Alberta Darling finally showed up for her re-election campaign, and then the River Hills Republican announced that she's raised some serious cash.

"In the reporting period ending Dec. 31, Darling collected campaign funds of $121,512 to her opponent state Rep. Sheldon Wasserman's $81,308. In 2007, Darling raised $251,559 to her opponent's 2007 total of $85,883," she reports.

Vehicle ownership smashed: Another lawmaker has decided it's time to pick on drunk drivers. In what seems to be a weekly occurrence, one legislator wants to toughen laws on drunk driving. State Sen. Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) hopes to prevent convicted drunk drivers from buying a vehicle while their licenses are suspended.

Kedzie says the bill does not require sellers of vehicles to police such purchases, nor does it require the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to screen and crosscheck vehicle registration titling, as both might be difficult to administer and monitor.

Rather, it would be an additional penalty that could be added to a drunk driving charge if it is discovered the offender bought the vehicle during the time of license suspension or revocation. Kedzie says the bill will add to an ever-growing list of tough measures against people who repeatedly drive drunk.

"We don't allow felons to own firearms and we have laws that prevent sex offenders from owning a computer; thus, it makes sense that when a drunk driver is prohibited from driving, they should also be prohibited from buying a vehicle to drive," Kedzie concluded.

Doug Hissom Special to
Doug Hissom has covered local and state politics for 20 years. Over the course of that time he was publisher, editor, news editor, managing editor and senior writer at the Shepherd Express weekly paper in Milwaukee. He also covered education and environmental issues extensively. He ran the UWM Post in the mid-1980s, winning a Society of Professional Journalists award as best non-daily college newspaper.

An avid outdoors person he regularly takes extended paddling trips in the wilderness, preferring the hinterlands of northern Canada and Alaska. After a bet with a bunch of sailors, he paddled across Lake Michigan in a canoe.

He lives in Bay View.