The reason for dysfunction in Madison

Aaron Wojciechowski

With so much corruption and foul play in the Capitol, residents of Wisconsin are questioning the integrity of Governor Walker and the current legislature. As the people of Wisconsin begin to witness dysfunction and gridlock unfold in our government, they repeatedly ask themselves, “Why is this happening?” Why has the government become unable to work and pass meaningful legislation? Why do we continue to vote for candidates who are ill-equipped to govern? The answer to these questions is that voters are choosing to abide by party loyalties rather than focusing on a candidate’s experience and proven record of getting work accomplished.

Not voting for someone who has immense amounts of knowledge and experience simply because he or she does not identify as a member of a specific party, has become a dangerous idea that is causing more gridlock and less performance in the Capitol. The upcoming 2016 elections are the epitome of this idea. Across Wisconsin, we are seeing this happen in federal-level elections, such as Tom Nelson (D) versus Mike Gallagher (R), and state elections. A prime example of this in the state elections is the race for the 18th State Senate seat between Mark Harris and Dan Feyen. Without looking at either candidate’s party affiliation, you would see the major differences in their records and experiences.

Mark Harris has an entire lifetime of experience in the public and private sectors. His political experience includes serving as a City Council member, County Board Supervisor, Mayor, and three-term County Executive. He has a record of serving the community and various organizations that help to improve the lives of residents. The list of his accomplishments, as well as his financial and government experience, is extensive. The experience and positive impact that Mark Harris continues to have on the community would make him an exceptional State Senator.

Now looking at his opponent:

Dan Feyen has nine years experience on the City of Fond du Lac Parks Advisory Board, 30 years in the printing industry, years of experience as a chairman of the Republican Party of Fond du Lac County, and time as a chairman of the Sixth District Republican Party. While his experience is strong, it’s still lacking in many areas.

By looking at both candidates, it’s clear that one has vast positive experience and the other, while still positive, just doesn’t match up. Harris has a record of cutting taxes, while still funding necessary programs. Feyen does not have this record. Even after considering all these facts, polls still predict a close race. With such stark differences, why is the race so close? A logical conclusion is party loyalty. Party loyalty isn’t necessarily bad, but when one candidate exemplifies what is needed in our government and the other doesn’t quite cut it, why do we still consider choosing the less qualified candidate? Think about the following when voting on November 8th: party loyalty may not seem hazardous to the voters, but if we continue to allow party loyalty to supersede candidate experience and knowledge, we shouldn’t be surprised when gridlock and dysfunction in the State Legislature continues.