When today’s pundits present their lists of possible Democratic candidates for governor, they seldom include the best candidate, Ron Kind, the U.S. congressman who represents Wisconsin's 3rd District in the La Crosse area. I’m a liberal, progressive Democrat from Madison and I like all the other candidates that are being mentioned, but I think Kind has the best chance of winning in 2018. And here’s why.
First, he’s not from Madison or Milwaukee. Democrats have tried three times in the last six years to mount a challenge from these two liberal cities and have come up short. Ron Kind is no liberal. He’s a moderate and would be more appealing to the middle-of-the-road and rural voters, while still carrying Dane and Milwaukee counties. We have to be smarter in who we select as our candidates.
Second, he is chair of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of Democratic legislators that believe in harnessing the “power of American ingenuity and innovation” to create “new American jobs, greater economic prosperity, and a safer and more secure future for our country.” That’s a message that will ring true with Wisconsin voters. If Kind has the foresight to create and lead the New Dems, he can lead our state.
Third, he will have enough political clout to create a “coat-tail” effect that will help Democrats running for other offices, including Tammy Baldwin, who will no doubt face a tough fight from the Republicans for re-election to the U.S. Senate.
It’s critical that Democrats win the governorship in 2018. Look at what’s happened in Minnesota after almost eight years of moderate Democrat Mark Dayton as governor. His results are dramatically better than Scott Walker’s. And when Kind defeats Scott Walker, I believe we could expect him to generate similar changes in Wisconsin:
• Increase the minimum wage.
• Reform our tax code to give more incentives to small businesses and entrepreneurs, who are the ones that will grow our economy, not the rich and famous.
• Protect and expand Medicaid.
• Use innovation and insurance market reforms to improve our health care system and patient care.
• Create more jobs. (Compare the jobs record of Dayton and Walker. Almost every state has done better at job creation than Wisconsin over the past several years. We can do better. It’s embarrassing.)
• Increase support for public education.
• Return transparency to state government.
• Moderate the influence of the religious right in state government.
• Promote new common-sense technology and innovation to keep us competitive globally.
• Provide the voice that says, “Yes, it is important to protect our environment. Global warming is not fiction.”
• Promote a common-sense approach to our prisons. (Do we really need more of them?)
• Provide a check on the next round of Republican gerrymandering to help ensure balanced bipartisan redistricting for the coming decade.
• Support labor again, including public employee unions and their right to collective bargaining.
• And maybe most importantly, bring some dignity back to the executive office so we can be proud of our state again.
Finally, Kind has the financial clout to run a strong campaign. His campaign coffers are well stocked.
For more information on Kind, go to his website at https://kind.house.gov/. He has the record, the experience and the personality to be a strong candidate for governor in 2018, one who can defeat Walker and bring balance back to Wisconsin government.
Adam Brabender of Madison is a student at UW-Whitewater majoring in political science and social work, a member of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin for almost 22 years, and a former candidate for Dane County Board, District 1.
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