Tag Archives: glenn grothman

Wolf advocates launch ‘Big, Not Bad’ campaign

Continue reading Wolf advocates launch ‘Big, Not Bad’ campaign

Judge: ‘Decent case’ the GOP changed election laws for partisan gain

Opponents of more than a dozen new Wisconsin election laws had made a “pretty decent case” that Republicans approved them to secure a partisan advantage, a federal judge said, but he isn’t convinced the measures actually had a dramatic effect.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson’s comments came in closing arguments of a lawsuit challenging the laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker since 2011.

Peterson promised to rule by the end of July but has said that will be too late to affect the Aug. 9 primary for the field of candidates running for dozens of state and federal races will be narrowed before the Nov. 8 general election.

An attorney for two liberal groups challenging the laws, including the requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls, argued that they should be found unconstitutional and stopped from being enforced. But a state Department of Justice attorney said there was no evidence to support a wholesale undoing of the laws.

“They’re going for the home run,” Assistant Attorney General Clay Kawski said. “They just haven’t shown that.”

The laws being challenged include provisions of the voter ID requirement, particularly the process used to grant free IDs to people who don’t have the required documentation, limitations on early voting times and places and the elimination of straight-ticket voting.

The judge said he didn’t “see anything powerful in either way” about what effect the laws have had on turnout.

“I don’t see anything really compelling showing the voter ID law or any of the other changes had a powerful impact on any of the elections,” Peterson said.

He referenced comments from Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, made in an interview in April, that he thought the voter ID law would help Republicans in the November election. Peterson said he didn’t think the evidence showed it would help Republicans significantly, or that it would hurt Democrats as much as was argued.

The plaintiffs argue that the laws discriminate against the poor, racial minorities and younger voters who are more inclined to vote Democratic. The state Department of Justice counters that they have not suppressed turnout and the state works hard to ensure everyone who needs a free ID to vote gets one.

Attorney Bruce Van Spiva argued that if the judge finds any parts of the laws are discriminatory, he must rule the entire laws unconstitutional and block enforcement. He said the evidence showed Republicans were motivated to pass the laws to suppress Democratic turnout and there was no need to make the changes.

He cited testimony of Todd Allbaugh, who was chief of staff to then state-Sen. Dale Schultz, a Republican. Allbaugh testified that Republican senators said in a closed-door meeting discussing the voter ID law that it was needed to improve the GOP’s chances of winning elections by reducing turnout in urban areas and college campuses.

But the judge raised questions about whether Allbaugh’s testimony could be trusted, given that he left the Republican Party partly out of disgust over passage of the voter ID law.

“It’s score settling. I’m not doubting his real sincerity but his perspective is hostile to his former party,” Peterson said. “He feels betrayed.”

Some of the law changes being challenged include: reducing early voting from 30 days before an election to 12 days; limiting the hours it can take place and restricting early voting to one location per municipality; eliminating straight ticket voting; doing away with requiring special election deputies be assigned at high schools; and prohibiting local governments from requiring landlords to distribute voter-registration forms to new tenants.

The lawsuit was brought by the liberal group One Wisconsin Institute Inc., social justice group Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund and 10 voters.

Republican admits voter ID was enacted to help his party

Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman told Milwaukee TV station  WTMJ-TV that Wisconsin’s  voter ID law will “make a little bit of a difference” in helping the GOP in November.

A link to video of Grothman’s comment has been re-tweeted hundreds of times. Viewers say it was a gaffe that shows the law was intended to suppress the Democratic vote, WTMJ-TV reported

At a Ted Cruz victory party April 5, a WTMJ reporter asked Grothman whether a Republican can win the White House.

“Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate that the Democrats have ever put up, and now we have photo ID. I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of difference as well,” Grothman said. His office didn’t immediately respond to phone or email messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed the voter ID in 2011 after it was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, but court battles kept it from taking effect until this year. Supporters say it prevents fraud, while critics say widespread fraud doesn’t exist in Wisconsin and that the law disenfranchises young, poor and minority voters who tend to support Democrats and are less likely to have the mandated forms of identification.

“At least Congressman Grothman is telling the truth,” said 10th Assembly District Rep. David Bowen in a statement to the press. “The Republican Party has been deliberately deceiving the public about the one true goal of voter ID since their voter suppression effort was first conceived. Now that they have been honest about its purpose, they should work with Democrats to repeal this anti-democratic law.

Bowen noted that Politifact recently rated “true” an assertion by U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan that more people are struck by lightning than commit the type of voter fraud that voter ID was purported to prevent.

Grothman is a fringe-right leader who campaigned on his opposition to marriage equality and choice. Shortly after he took office in January 2015, he made a number of gaffes that drew national attention. Since then he’s been largely silent, leading some political observers to suspect that House Republican leaders put him under some sort of informal gag order.

Glenn Grothman, perhaps state’s most extremist elected official, vies with Mark Harris for open congressional seat

Are women less money conscious than men, and is that why they earn less? Are sex-education classes designed to turn students gay? Do people on food stamps eat better than grocery store owners?

State Sen. Glenn Grothman says “yes” to all of the above. But the larger question is whether voters in Wisconsin’s Sixth Congressional District will send someone with such controversial views to Washington.

On Aug. 12, Grothman prevailed by a mere 214 votes in a hotly contested, four-way Republican primary race in the district, which includes Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Sheboygan and Manitowoc. That means more Republicans voted against Grothman than for him.

State Sen. Joe Leibham, a more appealing candidate in every way than the disheveled, misinformed and inarticulate Grothman, was runner-up in the primary. Wisconsin Democrats were all but celebrating Leibham’s loss. They believe Grothman’s candidacy gives them a come-from-behind chance in a district that’s rated as safe for the GOP by The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

All of the GOP primary contenders expressed radical views. They all vowed to impeach President Barack Obama, who constitutional scholars on both sides of the political divide have stressed has not committed any impeachable offenses. All four also promised to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.

But none of the others could match Grothman for bizarre statements that have been widely disseminated. Grothman, for instance, not only wants to eliminate the U.S. Education Department but also wants to eliminate all pre-kindergarten programs, because, he says, children under 9 years old are incapable of learning.

Grothman, 59, obviously has not had a lot of experience with children. A lifelong bachelor, he lives with his mother.

With the primary behind him, Grothman now faces popular Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris and Libertarian Gus Fahrendorf in the Nov. 4 general election. The Sixth District seat is open due to the retirement of Thomas Petri, who’s served in Congress since 1979. Once considered a moderate, Petri has been pushed to the right by the growing extremism among GOP primary voters. Political insiders speculate that Petri might have grown embarrassed by the votes he had to take in order to meet their demands.

The race has strong implications for the rest of Wisconsin due to the reputational damage that Grothman could do. He’s already been an object of so much national ridicule that the Daily Kos website recently ran a piece about him tited, “Could there be another America’s dumbest congressman? Meet Wisconsin’s Glenn Grothman.”

 Apparently aware of his own shortcomings, Grothman’s strategy is to run as if he were an incumbent, avoiding as many debates as he plausibly can in order to avoid headline-making gaffes. Harris has challenged Grothman to a debate in every county in the district, but Harris’ campaign spokesman doesn’t expect the Republican to participate in more than three. He says Grothman has been all but invisible on the campaign trail.

Responding to Grothman’s Sept. 19 announcement that his campaign was hiring a new communication director, Harris’ campaign issued a statement that said, “No debates, no media engagement and limited contact with voters. Barely any website, Twitter or Facebook activity since the primary. That is Grothman’s rose garden strategy.

“Now, he has gone so far as to hire a handler whose goal will be to continue to insulate the Republican nominee from voters and the media.”

CEO of War on Women

As a state senator, Grothman has seen his margins of victories large but steadily eroding. In 2004, when he had no opponent, Grothman won 99 percent of the vote; in 2012, he took 68 percent of the vote against a Democratic rival.

Although the district leans more Republican than the national average by 5 percentage points, Barack Obama won it in 2008 with 49.91 percent of the vote.

Grothman has never before faced the quality of opponent he does in Harris. A fiscally conservative, socially moderate and uncontroversial Democrat with a superb record of management, Harris has balanced Winnebago County’s budgets, controlled spending, maintained services and reduced county debt. He’s focusing his campaign on fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship, the welfare of seniors, college affordability and getting full-time workers out of poverty. 

“The guy on the factory floor should not pay more taxes than the factory owner,” Harris says on his website.

“We feel that Mark is exactly the kind of guy that the district needs,” said his campaign spokesman. “He’s working on matters that are of interest to the district. This district is not an extreme district, and Glenn Grothman is extreme.”

Grothman is mostly known for his advocacy of the extremist social agenda championed by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, whom he supported for president.

“We think Glenn Grothman is the CEO of the war on women in Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party spokeswoman Melissa Bauldauf. “We think that’s going to be rejected by voters.” 

Harris has said he views the race as a choice between “a pragmatist who will fight for fair policies that benefit the average worker and family (and) an extreme ideologue who wants to turn the clock back to the 1950s.”

“There’s an awful lot of thoughtful Republican and independent voters who are up for grabs,” Harris says. “There’s a base that probably likes (Grothman’s) extreme right-wing positions, but I don’t think that represents the view of the majority of the people in the district.”

Harris says he plans to run on his record rather than Grothman’s personality problems. He plans to visit each county in the district three times to meet voters face-to-face and tout his accomplishments, which include cutting county spending by 4 percent and reducing Winnebago’s debt by more than 30 percent. When speaking with voters, he contrasts those achievements with Grothman’s legislative record, which includes serving during a period when the state’s debt tripled.

“State debt has reached an all-time high and state spending is at an all-time high” during the time Grothman has been in the Legislature, Harris says.

Baldauf agrees that Harris’ record is strong enough to sway voters who are put off by Grothman’s embarrassing extremism. “His ability to balance the budget and demonstrate responsible fiscal leadership while maintaining progressive values is going to resonate,” she predicts.

On the Web

To learn more about Mark Harris, go to harrisforwisconsin.com.

Glenn Grothman’s website is  glenngrothman.com.

5 things to know about Wisconsin’s mid-term elections

 Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke are running neck-and-neck in recent polls, but close contests are nothing new for Walker, who survived a recall election just two years ago. Walker has been plagued with constant scandals, revelations of massive croynism, missing money from his flagship “job creation” agency and his failure to reach even half of the 250,000 jobs he pledged to create during his first term. Meanwhile, groups backed by the Koch brothers are spending millions of dollars in advertising designed to tarnish Burke’s image, putting her at a distinct disadvantage in a political landscape where money wins races.

With Election Day just two months away, here are five things to know about the races on November’s ballot:

2 TELEVISED DEBATES

Walker and Burke have agreed to two televised debates, neither of them in the state capital where Burke lives and Walker spends most of his time. They will meet Oct. 10 in the La Crosse-Eau Claire television market and Oct. 17 in the Milwaukee market. Both debates are sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation Board. Specific times and locations have yet to be announced.

CASH WILL POUR IN

Expect another election season in which outside groups spend more than the candidates. The Republican Governors Association is backing Walker, with an anticipated $2 million television ad buy expected to begin in September. Meanwhile, the Greater Wisconsin Committee is airing television ads attacking Walker, and Emily’s List, which works to elect Democratic women, also is expected to spend heavily on her behalf. Walker’s 2012 recall election was the most expensive race in state history, costing $81 million.

HAPP AHEAD

With two motorcycle-riding prosecutors running against each other, the attorney general’s race is one to watch. A poll released Wednesday by the Marquette University Law School puts Democrat Susan Happ ahead of Republican Brad Schimel by 7 percentage points. But that’s within the 3.5 percent margin of error, and one-fourth of registered voters don’t know who either of the candidates is. Plus, Happ ran TV ads in the three-way Democratic primary, while Schimel was not on the air and ran unopposed. Happ is the district attorney in Jefferson County; Schimel holds the same post in Waukesha County.

SENATE COULD FLIP

Democrats are unlikely to regain control of the Assembly, where Republicans have an overwhelming majority. But the Senate is a different story. The GOP holds a slim 17-15 majority, with seven seats open, including four held by Republicans. Three of those races look competitive. If Democrats can hold their current seats and pick up those three GOP districts, they’ll take back the chamber.

FRESH FACE IN CONGRESS

Incumbents are likely to return to Congress in seven of Wisconsin’s eight districts. But U.S. Rep. Tom Petri’s retirement ensures at least one fresh face will be heading to Washington. State Sen. Glenn Grothman is the favorite after winning a hard-fought, four-way primary to capture the GOP nomination in the Republican-leaning district. The outspoken and uncompromising Grothman faces Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris, a fiscally conservative Democrat who could have some crossover appeal in a district accustomed to the moderate Petri.

Are you missing out on our ticket giveaways and free discount coupons? Simply like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Extremist Republican makes primary challenge in Wisconsin congressional district

Wisconsin Republican Glenn Grothman will run a primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Tom Petri.

The announcement drew the attention of People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, the watchdog project that monitors the activity of the right-wing movement. RWW says Grothman, a state senator, has more national name recognition than the average state lawmaker because he has a record of outrageous statements and extremist positions.

Among them, Grothman said women earn less than men because money is more important to men.

He also has said gay people use sex education classes to condition young people and recruit kids into homosexuality.

He also has suggested classifying single parenthood as child abuse and has pushed bills to limit voting opportunities in the state.

Grothman, announcing his candidacy, said he is “concerned about the massive trend towards government dependency. The number of people on FoodShare has gone from seventeen million as recently as 2001 to forty-seven million today. The number of people on disability has risen from five million people to almost nine million people in the last thirteen years, all while job safety has improved greatly.

“This rush towards government reliance has lead to the well-documented destruction of the American nuclear family, which will have severe, negative consequences for the next generation.”

He called Petri a “decent, genial person” who “does not have the sense of urgency” needed to return to Washington.

The district includes District includes the counties of Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Winnebago, Dodge, Green Lake, Manitowoc, Marquette, Columbia, Waushara and Milwaukee.

Sens. attacking early voting have voted early

In reviewing publicly available voting records, the progressive group One Wisconsin Now found a big surprise: Fifteen of the 17 state Senators who supported legislation to restrict early voting hours in Wisconsin have themselves voted early.

In a press statement, One Wisconsin Now executive director Scot Ross slammed the senators for what he called “hypocrisy.”

“That these senators would vote to make it harder for their fellow citizens to cast an early ballot in elections, just as almost every single one of them has, is an almost unbelievable act of hypocrisy,” Ross said.

In the Senate, only Sens. Leah Vukmir and Neal Kedzie did not cast ballots prior to Election Day. Sen. Glenn Grothman, who authored the controversial voting restriction bill, voted prior to Election Day by absentee ballot 7 times in the last 10 years, including twice in 2012. Sen. Mary Lazich, chair of the Senate Elections Committee, has cast ballots before Election Day on 5 occasions since 2009.

Under the terms of Senate Bill 324, local election officials would be prohibited from allowing people to vote early in-person at their municipal clerk’s office via absentee ballot before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on weekdays or for more than 45 hours per week. Weekend in-person absentee voting would be banned.

Early in-person voting has become increasing popular in recent years with voters. Early voting helps reduce Election Day overcrowding at polling locations and provides a convenient, accessible option for seniors and persons with disabilities to cast their ballot. The impact of an early voting ban would fall especially hard on urban areas of the state with large minority populations.

Seize the moment for recall

A radical brand of Republicans seized control of our state government in January, and they’ve already inflicted a lot of damage on the state. But they’ve also inspired a growing movement of regular citizens who are fighting to take back Wisconsin from their extremist, one-party rule.

In addition to bringing protesters to Madison in record numbers, grassroots activists have organized impressive campaigns to recall all eight Republican state senators who are eligible for recall under state law. The activists working to recall Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, have already filed petitions with the Government Accountability Board. They not only filed their papers in less than half the time allotted by law, but they turned in 40 percent more signatures than required.

None of the Republicans facing possible recalls are friends to the LGBT community. All of them voted against the historic domestic partnership registry that was enacted in 2009. Most of them have received scores from advocacy groups that demonstrate their opposition to equality. For example, according to VoteSmart.org, Alberta Darling received a 0 percent from Fair Wisconsin in 2004 and received the same grade from the ACLU in 2006. Another example is Sen. Glenn Grothman, who is so extreme that he received a score of 100 percent from the anti-gay group Wisconsin Family Action.

Every one of the eight Republican senators has also contributed to the attack on unions. This is an important consideration for the LGBT community, because the labor movement has been a major supporter of equality in Wisconsin. Organized labor was among the first constituencies to join the fight against the 2006 constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Unions have worked for domestic partnership benefits for their LGBT members, and they supported the state’s domestic partnership registry in 2009.

Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican senators facing recall seek to destroy organized labor in Wisconsin. If they succeed, the LGBT community will be weaker.

Last November, progressive voters throughout the state were greatly disheartened by the election results. But because of the radical Republican over-reach that we have witnessed in recent months, Wisconsin has been given another chance. If three or more of the eight senate Republicans are successfully recalled, we will be able to slow down Walker’s radical agenda.

It is a very wise investment of our time to get engaged in this effort right now. You can learn more by visiting recalltherepublican8.com and volunteering to help.

Very seldom do we get another chance like the one we are presented with today. The extreme actions of Walker and his rubber stamp Legislature have given us a rare opportunity. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment and we must seize it.

For the record | Voting history of the GOP senators targeted for recall

WiG looked at ratings the eight GOP senators targeted for recall have received from various special interest groups. The ratings indicate the percentage of time the senators voted with positions taken by the various groups during a given legislative session, which is shown in parentheses.

Robert Cowles, Green Bay, District 2

Voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Wisconsin.

  • Planned Parenthood: 25 (2007-08), 0 (2006), 0 (2005)
  • Americans for Prosperity: 90 (2007-08), 71 (2005-2006)
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: 100 (2010), 90 (2009)
  • ACLU: 0 (2006)
  • Fair Wisconsin: 0 (2004)
  • League of Conservation Voters: 67 (2009-2010), 50 (2005)
  • Sierra Club: 29 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin AFL-CIO: 27 (2007-08)

Alberta Darling, River Hills, District 8

Voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Wisconsin.

  • Planned Parenthood: 50 (2007-08), 17 (2006), 0 (2005)
  • Americans for Prosperity: 100 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: 75 (2010), 90 (2009)
  • ACLU 0 (2006)
  • Fair Wisconsin: 0 (2004)
  • League of Conservation Voters: 50 (2009-2010), 39 (2005-06)
  • Sierra Club: 14 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin AFL-CIO: 27 (2007-08)

Sheila Harsdorf, River Falls, District 10

Voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Wisconsin.

  • Planned Parenthood: 50 (2007-08), 0 (2006), 0 (2005)
  • Americans for Prosperity: 79 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: 100 (2010), 90 (2009)
  • ACLU: 0 (2006)
  • Fair Wisconsin: 0 (2004)
  • League of Conservation Voters: 58 (2009-2010), 50 (2005-06)
  • Sierra Club: 43 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin AFL-CIO: 36 (2007-08)

Luther Olsen, Ripon, District 14

Voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Wisconsin.

  • Planned Parenthood: 25 (2007-08), 33 (2006), 20 (2005)
  • Americans for Prosperity: 76 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: 100 (2010), 100 (2009)
  • ACLU: 0 (2006)
  • Fair Wisconsin: 0 (2004)
  • League of Conservation Voters: 67 (2009-2010), 29 (2005-06)
  • Sierra Club: 29 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin AFL-CIO: 45 (2007-08)

Randy Hopper, Fond du Lac, District 18

First elected to public office in 2008, Hopper has a limited legislative record.

  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: 100 (2010), 100 (2009)
  • League of Conservation Voters: 50 (2009-10)

Glenn Grothman, West Bend, District 20

One of the four most virulently anti-equality members of the Legislature, Grothman was one of only three senators who voted against legislation to discourage anti-gay bullying in Wisconsin schools. He voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state.

  • Planned Parenthood: 0 (2007-08), 0 (2006), 0 (2005)
  • Americans for Prosperity: 93 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: 80 (2010), 100 (2009)
  • ACLU: 20 (2006)
  • Fair Wisconsin: 0 (2004)
  • League of Conservation Voters: 36 (2009-2010), 24 (2005-06)
  • Sierra Club: 14 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin AFL-CIO: 9 (2007-08)

Mary Lazich, New Berlin, District 28

Another one of the four most virulently anti-equality members of the Legislature, Lazich was one of only three senators who voted against legislation to discourage anti-gay bullying in Wisconsin schools. She voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state.

  • Planned Parenthood: 0 (2007-08), 0 (2006), 0 (2005)
  • Americans for Prosperity: 93 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: 100 (2010), 90 (2009)
  • ACLU: 20 (2006)
  • Fair Wisconsin: 0 (2004)
  • League of Conservation Voters: 33 (2009-2010), 28 (2005-06)
  • Sierra Club: 14 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin AFL-CIO: 20 (2007 08)

Dan Kapanke, La Crosse, District 32

Voted to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in Wisconsin.

  • Planned Parenthood: 0 (2007-08), 0 (2006), 0 (2005)
  • Americans for Prosperity: 76 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: 80 (2010), 81 (2009)
  • ACLU: 0 (2006)
  • League of Conservation Voters: 67 (2009-2010), 50 (2005-06)
  • Sierra Club: 43 (2005-06)
  • Wisconsin AFL-CIO: 50 (2007-08)

Source: Project Vote Smart

Meet Wisconsin’s new majority

Now that Republicans control the entire state government, one would naturally expect a different policy direction in Wisconsin. But looking at the extreme views of the conservatives now in charge should give the LGBT community and the state in general some concern about how far to the right that new direction might swing.

Many of us already know about the extreme right-wing positions of legislators such as Leah Vukmir, Glenn Grothman and Terry Moulton. They have earned some of the worst anti-equality records in the Legislature. Less well known is how extreme many of the freshmen lawmakers are on social issues.  

The progressive group One Wisconsin Now has launched meetthemajority.com, a website that highlights the extreme views of many new state legislators. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin also recently announced an effort called One Term Watch, which is aimed at holding Republican freshmen legislators accountable.  

There is a wealth of right-wing freshmen legislators, typified by a couple of examples. For one, consider new state Rep. Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls. Asked in an interview with Wisconsin Eye to give her top priorities, the first thing she mentioned was getting rid of the domestic partner registry.

In a telling profile of Rep. Andre Jacque, R-Green Bay, he is listed as having been a volunteer for the 2000 presidential campaign of the notoriously anti-gay Alan Keyes, who rejected his own daughter when she came out as a lesbian.  

Wisconsin Family Action, an organization that exists solely to fight LGBT equality and a woman’s right to choose, endorsed both of these freshmen, along with nearly every other incoming Republican freshman lawmaker. WFA sponsored the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2006. The group also fought bullying legislation in 2009 and is now pursuing a lawsuit to rescind the state domestic partner registry established last year.

Aside from LGBT issues, many of the new Republican state legislators hold extreme views on other social policies. Incoming state Sen. Pam Galloway, R-Wausau, declared in 2009 that the federal government’s Medicare program was unconstitutional. New state Rep. Roger Rivard, R-Rice Lake, subscribes to Glen Beck-style conspiracy theories and has cautioned that our country is “on the path to a godless society.” On immigration policy, he says, “Just being born here should not be a ticket to citizenship.”

As this new legislative session begins, we will find out if this group of Republicans is truly focused on the economy and jobs, as promised during the campaign, or if they will simply serve as soldiers in an unnecessarily hostile culture war. Whatever road they choose, they will be establishing legislative records for which the public must hold them accountable.