UPDATE: Wispolitics.com has interviews with 3 of the 6 candidates. I have added links to each profile to direct you to the stories. Plus, read the comments below, as Yash Wadhwa phoned me up to discuss this article.
UPDATE 2: Dan Kohl knocked on my door this evening. He knew I wrote this blog entry, although hadn't read it himself. He was under the assumption I was a "Guy Guy" (for Guy Johnson.) I am not. I am uncommitted, and will remain that way until the Debate this Tuesday, and perhaps after any interviews I would write about the candidates. I will endorse someone in the next 2-3 weeks. As I did for the Whitefish Bay Trustee race, my first job is to perform a public service. Do I have favorites? Sure. I let you know my thoughts on each candidate. For the millionth time, I am not a journalist. I will walk you through how I researched each person, and later, why I endorse a candidate.
Here's my run-down:
Yash Wadhwa - Republican - Glendale - Website: http://yashforassembly.com
Honestly, I have no thoughts about Wadhwa. It's hard to get excited for a Republican running in a Democratic district. Looks like Whitefish Bay's own (County Supervisor) Joe Rice is his treasurer, so he's got that going for him. Wadhwa's first issue statement, "I strongly believe that our state is in the midst of a fiscal crisis." is spot on, of course.
Guy Johnson - Democrat - Shorewood - Website: http://www.electguyjohnson.com
Johnson is the current Village Board President for Shorewood, and has been on the Board for a decade. He got his engineering degree from Marquette, and an MBA from UWM, and currently directs the MBA program at UWM. He's easily the candidate with the most public service experience, with the Shorewood board, plus NSFD Director, Chair of Shorewood's Plan Commission and Budget & Finance committees.
As a resident of Whitefish Bay, I have Shorewood envy. They've got their act together. Easily the crowning achievement is their rejuvenated business district. Johnson also touts the Shorewood smoking ban, which I'm pleased with. Maybe he can figure out a way to get that passed in the Tavern League dominated Wisconsin legislature.
Johnson's issues: Schools, higher ed, fiscal policy, smoking ban, Great Lakes & shore protection, Non-Partisanship, Health Care.
Dan Kohl - Democrat - River Hills - Website: http://kohlforassembly.com
Kohl's name should sound familiar. He's Sen. Herb Kohl's 41-year-old nephew. Previously, Dan worked for uncle Herb as an assistant GM for the Kohl-owned Bucks for 14 years.
It's hard to tell what he does now, his website doesn't give his biography besides that he "currently holds a leadership position with a nonprofit working to fix some of Milwaukee’s biggest educational challenges."
Sure hope that pays well, as the mortgage on his River
Hills home has got to be monstrous! (Oh, who am I kidding. Do guys like him have mortgages?)
Ah, here we go. According to this article, he's working for the SEED Foundation, creating a boarding school for at-risk Milwaukee youth.
It's amusing, back in August, the Milwaukee-JS had a line on him: The 41-year-old .. shot down talk that he's dying to follow his uncle into elective office: "That's not true."
Well. It wasn't true until 4 months later.
Kohl Issues: Education, Health Care, Environment, Econ growth, Good government.
Andy Feldman - Democrat - Shorewood - Website: http://www.andyforwisconsin.com
Feldman has a pretty decent resume. He's got an Econ degree from Swarthmore, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard. He was a Staff Economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton years. (Gosh, I can't imagine the Wisconsin Legislature needing an economist brainiac, they are doing so well balancing state finances already.)
Feldman's issues : Supporting Education, Improve Health Care, Environmental leadership, Attract more young people to area.
Sandra Pasch - Democrat - Whitefish Bay - Website: http://www.sandrapasch.com
Pasch has been a registered nurse for 30 years, and has her nursing degree from UW-Madison, a Masters from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Bioethics, and another Masters from the University of Rochester (NY) in "Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing".
Clearly, her expertise is in the medical field, which was Dr. Sheldon Wasserman's wheelhouse.
Pasch fractured her pelvis in April, and has been wheel-chairing around, knocking on doors.
Pasch's issues: Healthcare, Education, Fiscal Responsibility, Environmental Stewardship.
And hey .. this is kind of fun. I found the Campaign Finance reports on 3 of the 5 candidates, click to read: Pasch, Kohl, Wadhwa. I don't know why Feldman nor Johnson haven't filed yet, or their reports just aren't on the WI Election website.
This is no surprise .. Wadhwa has a few bucks in his account, followed by Pasch. Then there's Kohl far in the lead, with a bunch of $500 donors. Shocking.
Here are my thoughts. First off .. since the 22nd district is heavily Democratic, this race is all about the September 9th Primary, 7 short weeks away. Whichever Democratic contestant wins that race, will win the seat easily. Sorry Wadhwa. I'm sure you're a fine guy. I'm always pleased to have contested races, though.
Guy Johnson will do well in Shorewood. But I haven't seen a single yard sign, nor received any campaign literature from Johnson, which is a disappointment, as he is a highly qualified candidate. This race will be decided in 7 weeks. He's gotta get moving fast. He's the only guy in the race who's actually run and won campaigns for office, and worked with other pols to make things happen, and Shorewood has a pretty good record. I really like his extensive issue statements.
Sandra Pasch has probably benefited from breaking her pelvis. Seriously. It got her in the news, and people see her wheeling around knocking on doors. That's some courage. She probably picked up 5 points just from making the decision to continue the race. That being said .. while she's knocked on my door twice, and I think she's a fine example of a citizen legislator, honestly .. I have trouble with her background.
We've been represented by someone heavily into the health care world, through (Dr.) Sheldon Wasserman. I like the guy, I really do, but I can't think of a single legislative item that he accomplished that interested me. Take a look at his recent bills. Most of it is completely focused on health issues .. defibrillators.. antibiotic drug treatment .. Birth defect prevention .. autopsy for prisoner deaths .. Health professional shortage .. HIV test requirements .. Melanoma and Skin Cancer Detection. Now, I'm not saying that stuff isn't important. But .. health care just isn't in my personal top 3 issues for Wisconsin. And, I think Wasserman is going to win the Senate seat. Do we need two health care professionals representing us?
At the moment, I think I'm most intrigued by Andy Feldman. I really
like his background, raised in WFB, lives in Shorewood .. White House
economist, public policy professor, at Harvard no less. That's a big
fat resume. And the Wisconsin legislature is in dire need of some
professorial economic lectures, as our budget, and the budget process,
is a shambles. Feldman knocked on my door once, and I've been
impressed with receiving three sharp mailing pieces.
Then you've got your Dan Kohl. He's über rich, and über connected to unkie Herb. He'll probably win. Why? Money, of course. Look, besides Johnson, none of these guys are public figures. That means, the race can purchased by putting out a ton of mailings, lawn signs, who knows, maybe we'll see some TV or radio ads from Kohl. He'll have the cash to do it. He even had the cash to roll out a phone-poll, feeling out the strengths and weaknesses of the other candidates. Both my wife and I were polled .. it wasn't very hard to figure out the push the poll was giving.
Update: After reading Kohl's WisPolitics interview (see link above) .. they bring up an interesting point, that Kohl may be using this as a "stepping stone" to later run for his Uncle's US Senate seat. Kohl denies this up and down, but that's exactly what politicians say right up until the point that they decide to go back on their word.
How can he lose? His donor list is riddled with Kohl family members .. 32% of his money has been raised OUTSIDE Wisconsin. One can imagine he's got Unkie Herb's rolodex. Nepotism rules, baby!
IMPORTANT: The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a debate for the 22nd district candidates. It's at 6:30-8pm, on Tuesday August 5th in the Shorewood Village Center, 3920. N. Murray Ave, (lower level of Library). Looks like every candidate minus Wadhwa will be there.
I'll be there. I can be impressed. Maybe Guy Johnson will come on strong, he's got the issues. Maybe Pasch isn't all about health care. Maybe Feldman will crack out some econ lessons for us. Maybe Kohl isn't a silver-spoon guy, buying this election. You be the judge. August 5, 6:30pm.
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