A tight time window for elected leaders to get to work
Time to get to work
Legislating isn’t the spectator sport that campaigning is. Maybe it’s because we quickly tire of the often-evasive positions candidates have on the issues, and our attention turns to handicapping the winners and losers.
Even though we just completed an election Tuesday, we seem to be in a perpetual campaign cycle, certainly on the state and national levels. Republicans were campaigning to remove Barack Obama from office before he even took the oath and Democrats began their campaign to remove Gov. Scott Walker even before they went to the polls.
Realistically, the presidency is a one-year job. By year two, the campaign is on for the mid-term election. That’s followed in succession by the race for the presidential nominees from each party. The governor’s timeline is not much different.
And if there’s any way of dragging the race out longer than the Republican nominating contest we’re currently in, I’d be hard pressed to figure out how. It’s gone on so long that Wisconsin actually was a factor in the nomination for either party.
Maybe it’s a conspiracy among cable news channels to keep a healthy flow of controversial political news in the pipeline.
Despite Tuesday’s election, statewide races remain in perpetual campaign mode as long as there are recall elections to deal with.
The primary in the recall race for governor comes up in a month May 8, with a final vote June 5. Even with that short of a time frame to campaign, is there ambivalence about Scott Walker? You either love him or hate him. The race will be decided through voter turnout, rather than the persuasiveness of either side’s argument.
As important as elections are, they pale in comparison to governing. Making laws and policy just isn’t as sexy as taking a swing at your opponent.
As I’ve written before, the real work of government takes place locally.
Yes, Scott Walker and the Republican controlled legislature found a way to make the books balance, but after that, the really tough decisions fall to the town boards, city councils, county boards and school boards.
Our national and state leaders can get back to bickering, while local officials are left with the job of figuring out exactly how to encourage businesses to bring jobs to their communities or how to maintain a vibrant educational system within the constraints of strict rules imposed from above.
For the most part in Walworth County, voters gave their elected officials the thumbs up.
In Delavan, Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis defeated Ryan Schroeder, and in Elkhorn, Mayor Howie Reynolds defeated James Boardman Sr.
Both races were repeats over earlier contests, and voters apparently saw no need to change course.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges ahead. As Todd Mishler reports in Sunday’s cover story, there are some positive economic signs on the horizon.
Walworth County’s economy always has rested on the economic triangle of agriculture, tourism and manufacturing.
Compared to our neighbors in Rock County, however, an economic rebound has been off to a sputtering start. Both Janesville and Beloit have announced a series of new business initiatives in recent months.
Although none of them are big enough to fill the hole left by the departure of GM, they are companies that are bringing along jobs.
One of those companies that agreed to an expansion across the county line is Miniature Precision Components, the longtime thermoplastic components manufacturer from Walworth.
The expansion could create up to 90 jobs.
The decision by Mecum Auction to move its operations from Marengo, Ill., to Walworth is a step in the right direction and hopefully there can be more deals like that in the future.
But just like their state and national counterparts, local elected officials have a tight time window as well.
These newly elected public servants can savor their victories — at least for a little while — but then they will need to hit the ground running.