GAYS MILLS - On Wednesday, June 6, two candidates for the office of Wisconsin Governor spoke to a crowd of almost 20 interested citizens at the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center. Those two candidates were Paul Soglin and Matt Flynn. Previously Dana Wachs, Andy Gronik and Mike McCabe spoke to local citizens in Gays Mills on May 16.
A partisan primary election, if necessary, for the state offices of Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, odd-numbered Wisconsin State Senate seats, and all Wisconsin Assembly seats, will be held on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
In the August 14 Democratic primary for, a total of nine candidates will appear on the ballot. Those candidates are Mahlon Mitchell; former Madison State Representaive Kelda Roys; Alma State Senato Kathleen Vinehout; State Schools Superintendent Tony Evers; former Chairperson of the Wisconsin Democratic Party Matt Flynn; Milwaukee businessman Andy Gronik; Madison Mayor Paul Soglin; Eau Claire State Representative Dana Wachs; and Josh Pade.
Matt Flynn was raised in Ozaukee County, where his father taught at UW-Milwaukee and his mother taught in the public schools. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Flynn attended UW-Madison Law School, and met his wife who is from Monroe, Wisconsin.
Flynn is a partner in the Quarles & Brady Law Firm, which has offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago, Indianapolis, and other cities. He told the group that his mentor was United States Senator William Proxmire from Wisconsin, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1957 to 1989. Flynn has been endorsed by former Wisconsin Governor Tony Earl.
“I’m running for Governor because I can’t stand to sit by and see our state’s and nation’s democracy destroyed,” Flynn said. “Trump sold us out to Russia, Vladimir Putin is a murderer, and Scott Walker is really just a foreman in Koch Enterprises, who sold our state out to his campaign donors.”
Flynn stated that Scott Walker had turned our state into a water colony for corporate pollution, and labor colony for corporate exploitation.
“Wisconsin used to be known for clean water, honest government and high wages,” Flynn said. “Now, Wisconsin is known for polluted water, corrupt government and low wages.”
If elected governor, Flynn pledges to:
• raise wages with a $15 per hour minimum wage and reverse Scott Walker’s union-busting policies;
• enact the ‘BadgerCare for All’ public option;
• fully fund public schools and create a Wisconsin Student Loan Authority;
• legalize cannabis to reduce mass incarceration and excessive law enforcement costs;
• require foreign companies to obey our environmental laws again;
• empower voters with automatic voter registration and an end to gerrymandering.
Beyond raising the minimum wage to $15, Flynn said he would repeal Act 10 and ‘Right to Work,’ and restore prevailing wage legislation. Flynn said he wants to fix Wisconsin roads, and to do so by paying for it versus borrowing to do it. He wants to fully fund the UW system, and to restore statutory tenure.
“With respect to our public schools, I want to restore complete funding, and readjust the funding formula so it is fair to small, rural school districts,” Flynn said. “We can’t allow our small rural schools to die because in a small town, the high school is a key part of the town’s identity.”
Flynn also announced that if elected, he will immediately move to end the corrupt Foxconn deal by action in court. He described the deal as ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘illegal.’
“Not many people have heard about how one of the provisions of the Foxconn deal exempts the company from being sued in state court,” Flynn said. “This means that any lawsuits that are brought against the company go directly to the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court.”
Flynn explained that Foxconn is currently under investigation in China, where the company has been accused of polluting a major tributary of the Yangtze River.
Flynn pointed out that members of the state legislature had voted on the contract before reading the contract. He said the reason for that is the many exemptions to state laws that the contract granted the company. “You can’t just single out one company for exemptions,” Flynn said. “In addition, Scott Walker has just decreed that the Great Lakes Compact doesn’t pertain to Foxconn because Mt. Pleasant [in Racine County] is partly in the Great Lakes basin and partly in the Mississippi River basin.”
No matter how illegal or unconstitutional the deal is, Flynn explained that once the company breaks ground on the project and starts to spend money, they will fight having the project being stopped based on the contract law principle of ‘justifiable reliance.’ Justifiable reliance refers to a person's justifiable dependence on another's representations. Reliance is not justifiable if another person of similar intelligence, education, or experience would not have relied on the alleged representation.
“It is fraudulent reliance,” the experienced attorney stated. “If elected governor, I will take them to court the day after my election.”
Paul Soglin has served three different ‘tours of duty’ as Mayor of Madison. When he ran last in 2011, his focus was on poverty and economic development.
“Once I’d been elected, my focus expanded to food and hunger,” Soglin said. “There are a lot of kids in Madison that are hungry, and hungry children don’t learn in school.”
Soglin said that Wisconsin has abandoned growing food crops to grow corn and beans. He wants to move Wisconsin back to growing food for Wisconsin.
“My focus for the state will be on the old and the new,” Soglin said. “Our state’s oldest economic activity is agriculture, and the newest is the internet.”
If elected, Soglin says he will move to end the disastrous Foxconn deal. He will take the money, and instead will invest it in expanding broadband access and speed throughout the state, repair our roads, and fully fund the state’s public schools.
Soglin spoke about the age distribution of residents in Crawford County and other rural counties in the state. He explained that Wisconsin is among the top ten states for exodus of young folk.
“In any average city in America, the number of 20-year–olds would be equal to the number of 50-year-olds,” Soglin said. “The reason why this is not the case in rural Wisconsin is because there are no jobs, and the schools are impoverished.”
Soglin called the internet “the highway of the future.” He said it used to be that population centers and thriving economies used to grow up where roads or rivers intersected. He said that with the internet, a thriving economy could exist anywhere, including in rural Wisconsin.
“Companies will hire people to telecommute if the internet speeds where they live are fast enough,” Soglin explained. “But even where there is broadband in rural Wisconsin, it is only 50 down, and 10 up if you’re lucky. In the cities, the speeds are 1,000 times as fast. People can work from home if they have faster internet.”
As in the State of New York, Soglin proposes to extend faster internet to every property in the state. He says he will accomplish this through private-public partnerships. He pointed to the history in rural Wisconsin of two innovations, which were accomplished by the will of local populations even when they weren’t considered profitable for the big corporations. Those two innovations were the landline telephone and rural electrification.
Soglin also discussed the current crisis in dairy, and Scott Walker’s recent announcement of a task force between the UW School of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
“Nowhere in that press release did anyone explain Scott Walker’s role in creating the current dairy crisis in the state with his 20x30 plan to expand dairy production,” Soglin said. “This crazy move toward overproduction in the state is what has caused dairy prices to fall, and nowhere do they mention the role of the expanding CAFOs in the current crisis.”
Question and answer
One participant asked what the two candidates would do to reign in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Flynn stated that he would restore an independent DNR and the independent chairmanship of the DNR, which was eliminated by Governor Tommy Thompson. He said he would hire back the scientists, and ensure that the permits the department issues were written by them. Flynn said that he would also move to restore local control of many decisions, for instance livestock facility siting decisions.
Soglin said that he would reinsert the words ‘climate change and global warming’ back into the agency’s directive, and would invite Gaylord Nelson’s daughter Tia Nelson to return to the state and to the agency.
“Without air and water,” Soglin said, “life cannot survive. So we’ve got to protect our natural resources.”
One attendee from Eastman had a question for each of the two candidates. He asked Matt Flynn what is the current price of gas? He asked Paul Sogling what is the current price of a gallon of milk?
Both candidates successfully answered the question. “I’m happy with your answers,” the Eastman resident said. “At least the two of you do actually know the answer to those two questions.”
Kyle Martz asked the two candidates what their plan was to raise the money they would need to win, and how they would spend the money.
Soglin responded that he had entered the race late, and that other candidates were ahead of him in fundraising.
“I’m saving my dollars before the primary to use on television, radio and newspapers leading up to the August 14 election,” Soglin said.
Matt Flynn had a straight forward response.
“Scott Walker will have all the money he needs from the Koch brothers, and all his other rich donors,” Flynn said. He noted that as of December, he had more cash on hand than any of the other candidates.
“None of us, however, will have as much cash as Scott Walker will.”
Flynn explained that the National Democratic Party plans to come in from the day after the primary through Labor Day and fully fund the Democratic candidate’s campaign. Then, they will come in again 10 days before the election with funding for the final push.