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WRN Op-Ed: Wisconsin Senate Republicans & Democrats: Have You No Shame at ALL?

Roth petition

We will make sure voters remember your shameful inaction at election time. Bank on it.

We have never been more disgusted in a group of politicians than we are right now at MOST Republicans and ALL Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate, and Gov. Tony Evers.

Their behavior is absolutely shameful, and we are calling them out BY NAME. In fact, we created a new watch list to expose which state Senators of both parties are refusing to call an extraordinary session to fire Evers’ Parole Commission chairman, John Tate.

The public has a right to know which state Senators are refusing to act.

Know this: We are taking names. We will hold ALL of them accountable for any future decisions Tate makes. Every one of them.

Gov. Evers is refusing to remove his appointee, Tate, a woke liberal who wants to repeal tough-on-crime measures at a time of skyrocketing violence. Shame on him. Tate showed such egregious judgment in his (now rescinded) decision to grant early release to wife-killer Douglas Balsewicz, and he showed such callous indifference to the victim’s family, that he should forfeit the position.

But the state Senate could also remove Tate and is not. We can’t figure out why the Republican-controlled Senate won’t act. State Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, a Republican from Oostburg, is refusing to call an extraordinary session so Tate can be fired.

The Roth Petition

Republican State Sen. Roger Roth (good on him) is circulating a petition to force the vote.

He needs 17 state Senators to sign on. As of May 21, he doesn’t have them.

Only 6 Republicans have signed the Roth petition:

Roger Roth
Stephen Nass
John Jagler
Julian Bradley
Andre Jacque
Kathy Bernier

Senator Stroebel told WRN he intends to sign, but hasn’t yet.

Senator Testin sent a letter to LeMahieu asking him to reconsider.

The Republican state Senators who have NOT signed the Roth petition:

Robert Cowles
Dale Kooyenga
Alberta Darling
Devin LeMahieu
Rob Stafsholt
Mary Felzkowski
Joan Ballweg
Howard Marklein
Dan Feyen
Van Wanggaard
Patrick Testin
Jerry Petrowski
Eric Wimberger
Chris Kapenga

No Democratic senators have signed.

We heard back from exactly one Democrat, Chris Larson of Milwaukee. Disgustingly, he said,

“I find it quite ironic that the only way for Governor Evers’ appointments to get hearings in the Senate these days is if the GOP wants to fire one. I do not support this blatant political stunt by Sen. Roth.”


Just as bad, LeMahieu has stated the reason he won’t call the vote is that he believes it will hurt Evers politically if Republicans do not act.

Actually, politically, this makes no sense. Republicans LOSE the high ground against Evers if they join his inaction. If they vote and fire Tate, they can say, ‘see, we had to take the action Evers would not.’

They force Evers to take a stand: Join their call or defend his appointee (the latter would be awful for him at election time). If they don’t act, he might fire Tate to seize the high ground from them (‘see, I did what THEY would not.’)

Politically, inaction is a complete loser.

Republican gubernatorial candidates Kevin Nicholson, Tim Michels, and Rebecca Kleefisch, and Attorney General candidate Eric Toney have called on the state Senate to act. Kleefisch first raised the issue.

Putting political tactics over principle is disgusting. If Republicans are willing to endanger public safety and rip open painful scars of victims’ families, all for political gain, shame on them.

We have looked into the eyes of the family members.  We have seen their pain.

They say Tate won’t return their calls or even talk to them.

They say Johanna’s daughter Nikkole, who was left by her murderous father to crawl in her mother’s blood at age 2, wasn’t even told there was a parole hearing.

They say they were notified after they learned about the early release through the grapevine.

Tate was willing to release a monster less than 25 years into an 80-year sentence. A monster who stabbed his wife 42 times, including 20 times to the head and neck, and then left his two toddler children with her body and in her blood. They were found the next morning, ages 4 and 2, holding hands, bloodied, and walking down the street, Nikkole in a diaper.

Tate should not have the unilateral authority to decide which inmates are released in the state. He never should have. The state Senate could have rejected his nomination in 2019 and in 2021. They let it dangle. He’s been serving as a “designee” ever since. Evers should never have foisted such an awful nominee on the state.

If it’s because legislators, who aren’t in regular session until January, don’t want to drive a few hours to Madison with summer weather on tap, FOR SHAME.

If it’s because Republican legislators want to hurt Evers at election time, FOR SHAME.

If it’s because Democratic legislators believe in Tate’s horrific decision-making, FOR SHAME.

Senators have until Tuesday to sign the Roth petition. We are taking names.

We will make sure voters remember your shameful inaction at election time. Bank on it.

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