I wrote a long explanation of why Scott McDonell has my enthusiastic support for County Clerk in a discussion on a list serve. Facebook willing, I will post it here.
When I was first elected to County Board, the liberal-progressive coalition was in a position of a 17 to 22 deficit. The Board then had 39 members. Over time, our side added members steadily – until this past election cycle, when we blew the doors off of our opposition.
Back in the dark days, we had to work a deal with some of the conservative members merely to get a budget passed. The Zoning Committee was chaired by first one then another right wing member who was opposed to reasonable controls on land use to preserve the high quality of life we enjoy in Dane County, including a robust agricultural economy.
Prior to this past April, the dwindling conservative minority had discovered a new trick – they could block bond issues which require a 3/4 majority vote. 10 members were able to block bond issues – largely because of their hostility to the conservation fund. The conservation fund has provided a mechanism for Dane County to preserve natural areas, creating recreational opportunities, preserving wildlife habitat, and connecting large swaths of land that will remain in their state of beauty. It’s a major part of what makes Dane County a great place to live – for humans and other species, both plant and animal.
In April, our side picked up 5 seats and we now enjoy a 28 to 9 majority. The conversation we are having about doing something about homelessness is possible because of this super majority.
Over the past several years, we have done things like provide for domestic partnerships for people who cannot, by law, marry. Scott provided the leadership for this. Scott led the fight for transit improvements when that seemed like a real possibility. A myriad of progressive causes were advanced under his leadership.
The change from a 17 to 22 minority to a 28 to 9 majority didn’t just happen spontaneously. Scott McDonell personally recruited candidates, found campaign managers, raised funds for them, and personally campaigned for them. He has personal relationships County-wide that he developed and applied to this cause.
On a statewide level, things have never been worse. We have a legislature and a Governor who are intent on reversing 100 years of progressive legislation. And they have largely succeeded.
At some point in time, we will reverse the mayhem at the statewide level. To do so, we will need leaders – leaders who are progressive and pragmatic, and who will work their tails off to get it done.
Scott wants this seat. As such, I want him to have it. He deserves it as a reward for all of his good and hard work. But we should want him to have it. We need to nurture a new group, and generation, of leaders. The times of Doyle – Barrett – Falk et al are over. We did not have a new crop of leaders who were ready, and that is, in my opinion, why we suffered defeat on June 5.
One of Scott’s opponents suggest that we should piss off Glenn Grothman by electing a gay man to this position. There are many gay men – and women -
whose relationships are recognized under the law due to Scott’s leadership. Scott has the potential to not just piss off Senator Grothman, but to use his political skills to render him a member of the minority.
Can Scott ably perform the duties of the County Clerk? Of course he can. It involves managerial skills, running an office of several capable staffers. It involves running the election process in Dane County. Scott knows the election process, and will undoubtably run the office well. After all, he runs the County Board office, immediately adjacent to the County Clerk’s office, with a similar number of staffers. He manages the affairs of the now 37 member legislative body. He has negotiated budgets with the County Executive in each of his 8 or so years as County Board chair.
If this were a job interview to hire a new County Clerk, the interview panel would seek information on the direct experience that each candidate for the position offered. In that scenario, the other candidates for the position would rank well, as would Scott. Scott might or might not be hired.
However, this is not a job interview. It is an election. It is a political process. Voters have to decide which candidate brings a package of skills to the position that makes them the strongest candidate.
To this observer’s eyes, leadership in County politics is an important criterion for picking a candidate for a post that is elected County-wide. Having worked with Scott McDonell in my 12 plus years on the County Board, he wins that criterion hands down. Scott has my vote and my enthusiastic endorsement for the position of County Clerk.
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