I really want the Democratic candidates in this state (And just about anyone else that is not running as a Republican for that matter) to have an effort to win seats at all levels of Government in our fine state. If that wasn’t true, I wouldn’t have named the blog what it is.
I want to see the candidates that are part of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin win most of all, and that hasn’t happened for us recently. At least not enough to win the majority in either the Senate or the Assembly. This can happen if the candidates running for those positions were to get a bit more support from the party itself, and that seems to not happen as often as it should. Ask Lori Compas.
Mike Tate, Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, asked me about which candidates I heard were blackballed by the Democratic Party in recent elections, and I told him I would not release names without getting their ok first. He also wanted me to give the names of the people on his staff who did this. Well, I got one candidate to step up and give me the ok. That person is Randy Bryce. The staff member that did it to him? Meg Andrietsch, DPW Secretary.
Here is his story, in his words.
Where to begin? In the pre-”Walker dropping the bomb” era, A volunteer position became available as political coordinator for our union. I always knew that whatever happened politically affected our members. I accepted the position.
I started researching voting records in order to determine who our friends were. Some stood out right away. I reached out and became involved helping get our friends re-elected. I attended fundraisers and listening sessions.
Then the bomb dropped. Graeme Zielinski contacted the Iron Workers and made us aware of what Gov. Walker was planning to do. We decided to take to the streets. This was the first time that I had ever been involved with an action of its kind. Hundreds marched in Horicon, WI to Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald’s house in order to demand that Act 10 not be introduced. We made the news that evening.
After that day, I became as involved as one could with “the War”. I took off of work several days in order to drive to Madison in order to “do laps” around the Capitol with those whose Rights were under attack.
Then the Fab 14 left. I was inside the Capitol when the announcement was made. I remember how I felt knowing that we had politicians willing to go so far, in order to stand up for working people. I was impressed.
I still did not pay membership to any one political party, because I felt that if I chose a side, it would keep me from officially being nonpartisan, and acting in a manner that would best serve our union.
I received a phone call from someone with ties to the Racine County Dems asking me if I would be interested in joining the Party so that I could vote for a couple of individuals to represent the 1st CD at the National Convention in North Carolina. With sides being drawn up along Party lines, I joined the Party that I felt was standing up for us. With my donation, I was warmly received. I felt that I had made a good decision.
Redistricting (i.e. Gerrymandering) was introduced. The Representative in my newly drawn district knew that he had a hard fight on his hands. It was decided that he was going to relocate in order to represent a different district, leaving the district where I resided as an open seat. Another prominent State Representative encouraged me to run for the seat. After a LOT of thinking, I decided to jump in. I mean, I was asked to join, and at that point, I felt very welcome within the group. I would run as a Democrat.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, I got my first hint when I arrived at the election to decide who would represent the 1st CD. I was whisked over to meet another candidate who had been considering running for the same seat. I was told, “You two can talk about it, but, I’m not going to tell you what to do”. We talked. I decided that I genuinely liked the person who I would be running against. However, I had promised a particular State Representative who convinced me to run that I would run. My word means everything to me.
The minute I became a candidate, my world (politically) changed. I went from being a welcomed voice of labor who supported the Dems to an outsider no longer very well received.
I have to make a point here. Most of the members of the Racine County Dems were/are fantastic people. One particular person was responsible for this change in attitude. Meg Andreitsch – the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Secretary.
As I never ran for any office in my life before, I looked for help. Nothing. I finally asked a teacher friend to be the Treasurer. She accepted. Her thanks, after being heavily involved with the Recalls, was to be asked to leave the Racine Dem’s office in downtown Racine due to the fact that she was a part of my (our) campaign.
Upon advice from a very reasonable person who was suggesting ways to be accepted, I stopped in, and asked permission to display my nomination papers(along with boxes of doughnuts from a local bakery). I was told that it was okay. I returned a few weeks later, to see a sign urging people to sign local candidate’s papers. My name was left off of the sign. I couldn’t find any of my blank nomination sheets. (to be fair, people may have taken them with intent of getting them filled, but I never received any completed forms as a result)
One evening, Ted Nugent was going to be playing at the Racine County Fair, where the DPRC had a booth. There was talk about closing the booth for that evening because nobody wanted to volunteer with the expectation that the place would be packed with overly exhuberant Nugent fans. My campaign manager suggested that we take a shift. We did, and the booth stayed open. People drove all the way from Kenosha and areas north of Milwaukee to help us man it. My thanks was to be informed that there were complaints that I had enough nerve to display campaign literature at the table.
An e-mail was sent out to a group that contained several members of the Democratic Party encouraging people to support me. Meg Andrietsch wrote a scathing reply that made the sender very aware that “we have a good candidate” (my opponent).
After I lost the primary election to a VERY hardworking opponent, I was left wondering who exactly would be a welcome candidate. I was loved up until I decided to run. It was great to support candidates, but not acceptable to become one of them, if one was to observe the DPW Secretary’s actions.
I had an e-mail exchange with the DPRC Chair after the election. I have nothing but respect and admiration for her. She agreed that some things should never have taken place, and offered reasonable explanations for other actions. I was asked why I never brought my complaints to her attention. I explained that I didn’t want to create any further rifts.
This all would have remained quiet until I was recently made aware of a comment that Andreitsch made when someone had requested to do some canvassing on my behalf. The person was told that “He’s (me) Labor, not a Dem”.
I took exception with this comment. I made it very public that I was offended by this remark. It was almost implied that I was being dishonest. I was contacted by leadership within the DPW and asked how things could be made whole. All that I asked for was acknowledgement that it took place and that it wouldn’t happen to any other Labor candidate in the future. I didn’t even require an apology.
Apparently, that was too much to ask for. Meg has denied making the comment (I’ll take the word of the other two people who were present when it took place).
In addition to the denial, I understand that the DPW Secretary still makes faces and rolls her eyes at the mention of my name.
I would suggest that pro-Labor people seriously consider replacing Ms. Andreitsch at the next DPW State elections for officers. She has really left a bad taste in my mouth, not just for her actions, but the denial of those actions. I am hoping to not need to add in the names of several Dem County Chairs and members who have been kind enough to alert me to this behavior as witnesses. I would hate to see them blackballed for their honesty.
I would like nothing more than to have political support on behalf of Labor – not just to be represented, but to be able to represent ourselves. As working people make up the vast majority of voters in Wisconsin, we need to have our voices heard. Any person or group who denies us the ability to represent ourselves is no friend of ours. I continue to look forward to working with any group who will help support our causes.
We do have some amazing elected representation who have been elected as Democrats. We also have many fantastic people who belong to the Party. I am not yet urging everyone to take issue with the entirety of the DPW, or even specific county parties. I am strongly suggesting that we make sure that every person in every leadership postition is a friend of working people – not just to include political parties.
Especially in these dark times, we need to be heard. I’ve just had enough of extending an open hand and having it get slapped away.