Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Meet your representatives


Jim Doyle



Elected governor in 2002

After narrowly defeating a Thompson crony in 2002, Gov. Doyle has surprised many with his liberal use of the veto. During his tenure in office, he has struck down legislation that aimed to overtly ban same-sex marriages and allow citizens to be armed to the teeth while walking down State Street. Gov. Doyle raised many conservative eyebrows when he rewrote certain aspects of the budget using the line-item veto to increase funding for public schools and keep property taxes in check. The GOP, lacking the two-thirds majority in the Legislature necessary to override the veto, has also attacked Gov. Doyle for using his veto to allow rampant vote fraud throughout the state. Yet for all the hoopla, fewer than 20 cases of vote irregularities have been recorded. — Robert S. Hunger

Writing something kind about ol’ Jimmy is like having a parent tell you to play nice before you are allowed to return from your time out. Well, let’s just say I’d prefer to stay in time out. Gov. Doyle, with the help of his potent veto power, has enabled voter fraud to continue in this state, increased property taxes (despite campaigning to the contrary), allowed schools to hire convicted felons and left the unborn unprotected. Unfortunately, he has also vetoed legislation that would define marriage in this state as between one man and one woman. It’s about time for Gov. Doyle to receive his pink slip from the people of Wisconsin. He’s wandered the corridors of the state Capitol without a hall pass for some time now. — Darryn Beckstrom

U.S. House of Representatives

Tammy Baldwin


Elected to U.S. House of Representatives in 1998

While nationally known as the soft-spoken woman from the most liberal city in the Midwest, Rep. Tammy Baldwin has moved past her slim victory in 1998 to a position of dominance, with over 60 percent of the vote in the last two elections. She also remains one of the Democratic Party’s top fundraisers.

But politicians are more than just results on Election Day, and Rep. Baldwin has continued to come through for her district. After the furor from the right over her openly gay status died down, voters increasingly realized that though quiet, she harbors a steely determination to do everything she can for the 2nd Congressional District, bringing jobs and federal funds to Wisconsin. She is deliberate, but it would be dangerous to believe her anything less than an asset to her district. — Charles Parsons

When asked to give my viewpoint of Rep. Tammy Baldwin, I couldn’t help but remember a quote from one of her press releases regarding Bush’s 2004 budget. The quote clearly demonstrates why she does nothing more than regurgitate party-line hogwash: “While I have not had a chance to delve into the details of the president’s budget … this is the most fiscally irresponsible budget ever proposed.” Oh, Tammy.

When she’s in Washington, Rep. Baldwin is a rank-and-file Democrat. But when the Democratic Caucus in the U.S. House becomes too conservative for her, she turns to the district she represents, where she is proud to call herself, first and foremost, a Progressive Dane (read: socialist). Elected in 1998, she ran on a platform considered too liberal for most Democrats. Only in Dane County could a character like Baldwin get elected — and reelected. Nonetheless, she makes the lingering spirit of Karl Marx in this town proud. — Darryn Beckstrom

U.S. Senators

Herb Kohl


Elected to U.S. Senate in 1988

Though much of the media’s recent focus has been on Sen. Feingold, the senior senator from Milwaukee is gearing up for next year’s reelection bid. Sen. Kohl also serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, so expect to hear his name tossed around when the Roberts nomination saturates the airwaves. A relatively moderate Democrat, Sen. Kohl has opted to withhold judgment on Judge Roberts — a sensible policy, seeing how Congress had better intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq than how Judge Roberts will cast his vote. As one of Washington’s wealthiest senators and a sports enthusiast, Sen. Kohl has used his gold-plated checkbook to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee, also donating vast sums of money to the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department — hence, the “Kohl Center.” — Robert S. Hunger

Ask anybody outside the borders of America’s Dairyland if he or she can name the state’s senior senator and, chances are, you’ll sound a lot like Ben Stein in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”: “Anyone know who this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone?” Sen. Kohl may be one of Washington’s wealthiest politicians, but he’s also one of the least recognized. Nonetheless, the three-term senator has created a relatively safe seat for himself in the U.S. Senate. He has been able to buy both friends and the state’s support and affection with high-price-tagged gifts such as $25 million to UW to construct the Kohl Center; the Milwaukee Bucks; and the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Achievement Award Program. With no Republican candidate for the 2006 race, I doubt Sen. Kohl is losing sleep. Besides, if his seat were in any danger, he could always donate another $25 million (the going rate for his seat these days) to UW. Politics aside, though, Kohl’s generosity has greatly benefited this state. — Darryn Beckstrom

Russ Feingold


Elected to U.S. Senate in 1992

Easily Wisconsin’s most recognizable politician in recent memory, Sen. Feingold has earned a reputation through his work on campaign-finance reform and for being the lone senator to vote against the Patriot Act. Eying a run for the White House, he has tuned up the anti-war rhetoric as of late and advocates bringing U.S. troops home by the end of next year. His honesty and intelligence would provide a breath of fresh air from the relatively benign crop of capitulating politicians seeking out the White House. While the national media has dubbed Sen. Feingold a renegade unwilling to toe the party line, he is more of a liberal with an independent streak. He consistently votes pro-choice and enjoys a favorable rating from the ACLU. Much to the delight of secular liberals, Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition awarded him the lowest possible rating — a big zero. — Robert S. Hunger

Russ Feingold shares something disturbing with California’s Sen. Barbara Boxer. Their voting records are the most liberal in the U.S. Senate — even more than Ted Kennedy’s. Unfortunately, many of the voters in this state don’t realize they themselves vote for a more civilized and polished version of Michael Moore. What does it tell you when Sen. Feingold didn’t receive an invitation to speak at last year’s DNC? The two-term politician recently became the first senator to publicly suggest a firm date for American withdrawal from Iraq and the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act. I smell presidential ambitions. But unless Sen. Feingold gets in tune with the average American, he will, without a doubt, become exactly what his co-sponsor of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act is: an ex-presidential candidate.

Nonetheless, Sen. Feingold’s maverick tendencies save him from being tossed in Hillary Clinton’s category — in my opinion. Among other moves, he was the only Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee to support John Ashcroft’s nomination for attorney general. Let’s hope he demonstrates the same intelligence when John Roberts Jr.’s nomination is before him. — Darryn Beckstrom

Mayor and Aldermen

Dave Cieslewicz (chess-LEV-ich)

Progressive Dane

Elected mayor in 2003

Commonly referred to as the more aesthetically pleasing “Mayor Dave,” Mr. Cieslewicz has held true to the city’s progressive beliefs. Students can thank the mayor for taking the initiative to raise the minimum wage when both the federal and state governments failed to compensate for cost-of-living expenses over the last seven years.

Students can also thank Mr. Cieslewicz for taking steps to prevent drunken hordes of maniacal teens across the Midwest from infiltrating State Street every Halloween. Unlike heads of many college towns, Mr. Cieslewicz listened to students crying foul over the proposed date of the Mifflin Street Block Party last spring and (albeit begrudgingly) moved the festivities to a weekend that allowed students to binge-drink, wake up in jail, and still have time to study for finals. — Robert S. Hunger

What can I say? The guy is an icon in this city. Madison Magazine named Mayor Cieslewicz the 2004 Person of the Year. As if that isn’t enough, the first-term mayor recently garnered the 2005 Readers’ Choice Award for the “Coolest Elected Official” and received runner-up honors for “Coolest Bureaucrat.”

OK, I get it. Madison really likes this guy.

But, like Mom often says, there’s always room for improvement, and Mayor Cieslewicz’s grandiose idea for light rail in this city should be the first on the chopping block. Despite popular belief, Madison isn’t urban enough to support a train system. That goes for the streetcar idea, too. Mayor Cieslewicz may have read a few too many “Thomas the Tank Engine” books growing up. But Thomas and friends tell him to fill the under-utilized bus system first. — Darryn Beckstrom

Austin King

Progressive Dane

Elected alderman in 2003

The less visible of the two campus-area aldermen, Ald. Austin King is nevertheless a man to be reckoned with on the City Council. District 8, which covers most of the southeast dorms, College Court and the bulk of Lakeshore, is more residential than Dist. 4, which helps explain Mr. King’s stance on issues like the smoking ban and minimum-wage increase.

While many business owners have complained about the effects of policies endorsed by Mr. King and others, Forbes magazine has ranked Madison in the Top 10 Best Places For Business And Careers for three years in a row: fifth, first and tenth, respectively. The changes in ranking are more a reflection of changes in methodology that no longer place a high premium on education than a change in the city of Madison.

Overall, Mr. King listens to his constituents with an open mind and is willing to do what he feels is best, even when it conflicts with what he’d like to see. — Charles Parsons

Being a crony of Progressive Dane, Mr. King has done quite a bit of damage to this city. During his tenure as alderman, he has supported a minimum-wage increase in the city, lower-cost housing, an over-broad smoking ban and policies that have had the unfortunate result of raising rent prices across the city.

Though some of his actions have noble intentions, Mr. King, his party and the policies they support harm Madison’s economy. The city will find it increasingly difficult to attract business, and the city’s tax base is decreasing. Taking an economics course would do Mr. King some good.

It’s no wonder Middleton, Madison’s more business-savvy neighbor, was ranked No. 7 on Money magazine’s list of Best Places to Live this year. Madison, unfortunately, has gone from a No. 1 ranking as recently as 1998 to not even making the top 100 this year. Go figure. — Darryn Beckstrom

Mike Verveer

Progressive Dane

Elected alderman in 1995

Arguably the most personable and charismatic Common Council member, Ald. Mike Verveer has been an ever-present voice representing the downtown’s District 4 for the past 10 years. More than just a Halloween/Mifflin Street advocate, his politics walk a fine balancing act, attempting to weigh the interests of businesses in his district against the needs and desires of residents. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the smoking-ban debate, where Mr. Verveer attempted to navigate dicey political waters to find a compromise. His proposed exemptions for cigar bars, while ultimately defeated by the council’s anti-smoking bloc, show his tendency to walk the middle ground.

While a very public figure in the debates that swirl around Halloween and the Mifflin Street Block Party, it would be a mistake to see Mr. Verveer as the face of college revelry. He is an understanding and accessible voice on a wide range of topics that come before the council. — Charles Parsons

Verveer has been a member of Progressive Dane since his election to the Common Council in 1995. He was also a staffer for Tammy Baldwin. OK, we can’t all be perfect. Once in a while, though, Mr. Verveer shows some promise. The five-term alderman voted against the city’s exceedingly broad smoking ban and, more recently, proposed a “cigar bar” exemption to the ban that unfortunately failed.

While I tolerate Mr. Verveer much more than his aldermates Austin King, Robbie Weber and Brenda Konkel, he could use more schooling in Business 101. As the voice for the downtown area, Mr. Verveer can do more to support area businesses. Co-sponsoring the municipal minimum-wage ordinance and forcing developers to include affordable housing units in their projects doesn’t help.

By the way, if you have an issue with Halloween or the Mifflin Street Block Party, Mr. Verveer is your man. — Darryn Beckstrom

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *