Monday, March 19, 2012

Sens. Jauch and Schultz threatened by recalls

Ironies exist within movement to oust Democratic, Republican lawmakers

Wisconsin State Sens. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) are both new targets of a recall campaign. The reason? Both senators co-authored a compromise version of a mining bill that would have kept intact the rights of citizens to voice their input on the mine, as well as preserve established environmental standards within the state.

The proposal, which had the support of 17 state senators (a majority), failed to pass because the Republican leadership wouldn't allow it to be voted upon in the Senate. Instead, those leaders insisted that only their bill, which had the support of 16 senators (a minority), could suffice.

The Republicans' bill would have greatly diminished those environmental standards and would have given citizens almost no input on mining operations occurring near their homes. The mining company, Gogebic Taconite, previously stated that they wouldn't stay in Wisconsin unless the bill (which they themselves helped write) would pass.

Since neither side would acquiesce to the other, neither bill was enacted. The mining company announced they were leaving, and the mine (along with potential jobs that came along with it) is essentially dead, at least for the time being.

I have long-advocated that there shouldn't be any restrictions for why a recall should occur...and this is no different. If the citizens of Jauch's and Schultz's districts want to recall their duly elected representatives on the basis of the mining bill failing, then they ought to be able to do so.

That isn't to say that I believe this recall drive should be "supported." If the complaint being waged is that Schultz and Jauch refuse to sacrifice the rights of citizen participation and environmental standards over questionable job creation, then that's hardly a substantial reason to push for their removal.

In fact, Schultz's and Jauch's stances against the mine are the very same motivations behind the establishment of a recall process in the first place: increasing citizen involvement in our governing.

We have previously allowed citizens to weigh-in on whether they have complaints or not on proposals such as a mines. If a mine could negatively impact a community near it, by poisoning its wells or ruining its agricultural potential, then citizens ought to be able to seek a redress of those concerns.

Similarly, citizens retain the right to determine how their government should look by having a direct say on whether their representatives should stay in office or not. A recall gives people the right to shape their own legislature, whether it's a regularly-scheduled election year or not.

The two are one in the same, at least in their guiding principles. Whether you're looking to involve yourself in the debate over creating a mine or in the drive to recall a representative of your district, you're involving yourself directly in the democratic process, taking an active role in determining how things should be.

As far as the call to recall Jauch and Schultz goes, it seems rather odd that in a time of hyper-partisanship that these two should be challenged on the basis of a cooperative spirit, especially since that's what Wisconsinites really want right now.


  1. This an example of the far right just talking the usually crap, they usually speak before they think; Even if by some slight chance, very slight chance that they gathered enough signatures to force a recall, neither Senator will lose their seat. In fact, I find it quite comical that this issue even made the paper.

  2. I have not seen much discussion of the fact that the original bill would have put Wi in conflict with the Great Lakes Pact and required years of litigation and millions in expenses. It would also have violated Indian Treaty obligations. The latter may not have been a big deal as that is an American past time that predates baseball.
    In the final analysis the ore is still in the ground and is money in the bank.

  3. Schultz should run in a Republican recall primary against Walker. The results could be very interesting.