Friday, May 20, 2011
Dear Senator Darling,
I write to you this morning in hopes of a few things.
As you may or may not know I am the gentlemen from the 8th district that began the recall effort against you. Although there are many reasons I did it I want to begin by letting you know that it was certainly not personal. In fact, we have never met. I have heard from a few of your colleagues, including Senator Larson, that you are not a mean person by any stretch. I hope that you can understand that I am not a mean person either.
When I held a town hall meeting back in February to see if there was any support amongst my fellow citizens to begin a recall effort against you I was not sure exactly how it would go down. I got excited because I thought maybe 30 people would show up. Much to my surprise (and perhaps yours) over 140 people showed up. As I spoke with these people they all expressed the same thing–that you were not listening to them. That many of them had tried desperately to contact you only to be given the run around by your staff.
Senator Darling–these are real people–real taxpaying, law abiding constituents that you repeatedly ignored. I took it upon myself to listen to them. Now I understand that you are a politician and you say things to the media that may or may not be how you actually feel. I also understand that given your position in the GOP that you are beholden to them if you intend to keep your position on the JFC. There is no sense in denying that–I am not stupid and I have been an avid politico since birth and I know how the game works. It is because of this game that you have become so deeply involved in that I began the effort to recall you as a senator.
You could have shown some real leadership and strength by breaking away from the will of the Governor and the will of your party when your committee took up the Budget Repair Bill for a vote. You could have told Gov. Walker that perhaps the bill went a little too far. You could have stood up within your party and told them to take a moment and think about the thousands of lives you would be hurting if that bill passed as it was.
In stead you showed no leadership. You showed your constituents that you care more for the GOP as a party and more about being co-chair of JFC than you do about your constituents. You failed fundamentally as an elected official and that was something that I and 30,000 others could no longer bear. We could not–we would not–and we did not decide to wait until you came up for reelection in 2012. Even then, as the recall campaign came into full swing you doubted the resolve of the people.
You can tell the media and anyone else who will believe you that it was the unions, the democrats and “outside special interests” that were running the recall efforts. Now, perhaps some of the other districts played out that way but you and I both know that what was and is happening in our district, Senate District 8, is an organic grassroots effort in its purest form. You have gone on record stating that you won in 2008 during the “democratic tsunami” but if you take another look at the numbers–only 1500 more people voted in district 8 in 2008 than in 2004. Hardly a tsunami.
You should also know that there were many people who told us their story about why they signed the petition. There were many folks who told us that they voted for you in 2008–but now they deeply regret it. We even had some die-hard lifelong republicans that not only signed–but volunteered daily. I am not telling this to make you afraid or to be a jerk–I am telling you this because you should know the reality of what you are facing. When you began to turn your back on us—the taxpayers–you began to dig your own hole. By not listening and repeating the party line talking points over and over–you dug your hole deeper.
It has become apparent that you do not realize this. It has become apparent that you think you can buy your reelection. I have seen your campaign finance report–$400,000!?! So much of this money has come from big corporate donors. You may feel comfort in that–but something you do not have–because you have lost it–is the will of the people. You do not have the ability anymore to brand yourself as a leader. You have shown not just this district but all of Wisconsin that you value party politics and consolidated power more than you value the people that you were elected and sworn to represent.
I hope you show up to the People’s Listening Session. It may be your last chance to show all of us who doubt you that you still have the ability to face your constituents. In case you have ignored the previous invitations–and it appears you have–Thursday, May 26th at 7pm we are holding our own listening session–as was the case with the town hall meeting I held back in February–if you won’t listen to these people and explain to them not just what is at stake but why you are doing the things you are doing–then we will. The meeting will be at MATC Mequon Auditorium. I look forward to seeing you there.
Kristopher M. Rowe