Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald introduced a bill Monday that would bar county executives from serving simultaneously in the Legislature, a move that could force a Democrat to decide between his lucrative executive position or a Senate seat.Of course, Fitz had no problem with GOP supporters like Bob Ziegelbauer or Paul Farrow staying in the Legislature while they were serving as county execs, but NOW he claims that taxpayers should be concerned over “double-dipping and want to address it directly.” And nevermind that Harris’s term in Oshkosh would run out 3 months after he’d take office in the State Senate, Fitz is insistent that this important issue must be taken up NOW!
Third-term Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris is running for Sen. Mark Gudex’s seat in the 18th Senate District. Gudex, a Fond du Lac Republican, announced in November he wouldn’t seek re-election, saying he got a job offer in the private sector. (or was going to lose this November and he didn’t have the guts to face the voters)
That’s scummy enough, but even more absurd is that the AP reports the same prohibition against “double-dippers” would not apply to state legislators that serve in their local governments in other offices. And I know this will shock you, but some Republicans in the Legislature are part of that group.
The bill would not ban lawmakers from also keeping other types of local government positions. Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, also works as mayor of the city, for example.The WisGOPs aren’t even trying to govern at this point. Instead, all they care about is paying back their donors and try to pass petty laws that slant the field against Democrats.
Novak said in an interview with the State Journal that he understands Fitzgerald’s concerns as county executives tend to make higher salaries than positions like Novak’s, which pays about $12,000 annually.
But he said holding both positions has helped “tremendously” in staying abreast of the issues that local officials and constituents want their state government to address. He said there was no conflict of interest in holding both positions.
Then again, if you look between the lines of Fitz’s reasoning, he’s basically admitting that Harris is going to win that Fox Valley-area swing seat this November. And the rush to pass these awful laws is likely happening in part because the GOP realizes they are in line to get their asses kicked this November, and fall out of power in at least one house of the State Legislature (likely Fitz’s Senate). Time for Dems to turn up the heat and make Fitz’s fears come true. Last week’s Marquette Poll shows that the GOP has lost major ground in swingy NE Wisconsin, and publicizing this type of abuse of power could/should kick them further behind the Dems among decent people.
And since Fitz is so petrified of this guy, Mark Harris, that’s as good reason as any to give a donation to make sure this great public servant becomes a great State Senator. I did today, and I recommend you to do the same. Click here to help Mr. Harris out, will ya?