Monday, July 2, 2012

Scott Michalak For The 38th Assembly District

This evening, I had the opportunity to speak with Scott Michalak, who is running against Rep. Joel "Get in mah bellay" Kleefisch.

Scott is a plain spoken man who doesn't have a glamorous history.  He doesn't have a history in politics.  He isn't what you might call a "rock star."

Who Scott is is a good husband, proud father and a hard-working man who, like so many of us, can't stand to see what is happening to our state.  And what he brings is what he wants to bring to the Capitol - common sense.

He is sickened by the continuous attack on the middle class and on workers like you and I.  And he knows what is going on because he's experienced it first hand.  Scott worked for 20 years in dairy food plants, making things like International Delight Coffee Creamer. (Did you know that International Delight was never meant to be put in coffee? It was originally made to be an additive to pancake batter.  The fact that it was good in coffee was found purely accidentally.)

Scott lost his job when, like we've been seeing all to often in our state, the companies decided that they wanted to increase their profit margins by closing plants and laying off workers.  Now he drives a truck for a living.

Scott's worked in both union shops and in non-union ones, and so he knows first hand the importance of unions in protecting workers' rights and making sure they are able to get paid a fair wage for the work they do to make the company successful.

Another reason why Scott knows what is going on and is outraged by it is because his wife is a teacher.  He compared Wisconsin's high ranking in ACT scores, graduation rates and other measures against the non-unionized states like Texas, which came in dead last in the nation in these same categories.  He knows that the Republicans' agenda will bring our schools down to these pitiful examples. As Scott pointed out, when it comes to the quality of education, you get what you pay for.  And people like Joel Kleefisch don't want to pay for a quality education for our children.

Scott is also fed up with the blatant disregard and disrespect that Joel Kleefisch has shown for his own constituents.

Scott has already been calling his opponent out on the prime example of how much disdain Kleefisch holds for the people - the way Kleefisch used his influence to protect the wealthy Richard Herr, the man who dumped many times the legal limit of effluence on fields near the drinking wells of dozens of homes.  Kleefisch did so for no other reason that the fact that Herr is a campaign contributor to both him and his wife, Lt. Governor Rebecca "Stop looking at me that way, end table" Kleefisch.  From Scott's press release on this matter:

“Out on doors I heard a theme from voters: What the heck are they thinking in Madison?” stated Michalak. “Their questions were simple, but blunt: Is my drinking water clean after Herr Environmental dumped human waste in our neighborhood? Why isn’t Herr Environmental paying to test my well? How did Herr Environmental get such a light punishment from the DNR? And why did Joel Kleefisch stand up for polluters instead of me?”  
An investigation by the Wisconsin State Journal found that Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) quietly lobbied the DNR for leniency for a campaign contributor that dumped human waste near drinking water wells.  
“Rep. Kleefisch doesn’t need to answer my questions; he needs to answer the questions of the good people of our district,” said Michalak. “The fact that he’s putting the interests of a campaign contributor ahead of constituents is sleazy and wrong. These people deserve answers from their representative in Madison.”  
Recently, the Department of Natural Resources stated that they would not order Herr Environmental to pay for private well tests to see if their wells have been contaminated. For the human waste spreading violations in the Town of Concord, Herr Environmental has only been fined $4000; a figurative slap-on-the-wrist.  
Michalak finished with: “It’s disgusting that spreading human waste has drawn such light punishment from the DNR, which is charged with protecting our natural resources. But for Rep. Kleefisch to stand up for polluters and not have the guts to answer these questions is reprehensible.” 
Scott told me that he has spoken to many of the people that were affected by Herr's dumping of effluence which worked its way into their drinking water.  People reported getting sick and even developing serious illnesses they believe are attributable to their drinking this now tainted water.  

One of these wells were tested for the pollutants and came out way above safe limits.  It cost the owner $1,000 for the test and another $300 to get the water potable again.  The well owner will have to do it again in a few months as well.  And this money is coming out of the owner's pocket since Kleefisch didn't think that this family, or any of the others likewise affected, were as important as his campaign contributor.

Kleefisch also turned the blind eye when Herr had a second, unapproved and unlicensed storage tank put in or when he tried to charge people $6,000 for a job that another company charged only $350.

Other things that Scott mentioned is Kleefisch's hypocrisy by supporting the Voter ID bill and then turning around and voting for all of his Republican friends, betraying his own stance of one person, one vote.

You can learn more of the common sense ideas he stands for and wants to bring to Madison at his website and his Facebook page.  It is these common sense ideas which has earned him the endorsements of the Teamsters, SEIU and Clean Wisconsin.

But Scott does have one problem. He's going up against a guy that has the wealth of the Koch brothers and the Bradley Foundation behind him.  Meanwhile, everyone was donating to Tom Barrett and Lori Compas.  He doesn't begrudge them this, but he is in need of raising some money fast.

You can either donate to his Act Blue page or attend his kickoff fundraiser at the Keystone Grill in Cambridge, WI on July 11.  He is going to have State Representatives Andy Jorgensen and Brett Hulsey as guest speakers.

But whatever you can do, please help. We need people like Scott to stand up for us as opposed to people like Kleefisch who would rather stand on our necks.

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