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Burke is the Best Choice for Wisconsin

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Monday, 03 November 2014 in Wisconsin

mary-burkeIf you put aside all the political ads and smears and judge them on their resumes, sitting before you in the final job interview are two candidates, Scott Walker the politician and Mary Burke the businesswoman. Past performance is the best indicator of the job they will do in the future.


GREEN BAY - The long Wisconsin Governor’s race will finally end tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4th 2014. We are selecting a chief executive officer to run the largest single business entity in our state, a company with a multi-billion dollar budget and over 65,000 employees, and you are a member of the evaluation panel that is being asked to pick just one for the job.

As the Wisconsin State Journal, typically a conservative newspaper, said in it’s endorsement of Mary Burke today “State politics is far too divisive under Gov. Scott Walker. Wisconsin lags on jobs and faces its third largest budget shortfall in two decades.” The State Journal goes on to say “Mary Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive and state Commerce secretary, offers our state decades of business experience on a global scale.”

If you put aside all the political ads and smears and judge them on their resumes, sitting before you in the final job interview are two candidates, Scott Walker the politician and Mary Burke the business woman.

You look at their resumes and see Scott Walker is a college drop out. Burke earned a finance degree from Georgetown, ranking number one in her class, and a master's degree in business administration from Harvard.

After graduating from Harvard, Burke quickly becomes an entrepreneur, launching Manhattan Intelligence, a service for consumers in New York City. Later on, Burke joins Trek Bicycle, her family's growing Wisconsin company in Waterloo. She serves as director of European operations for three years, living in three different countries and opening offices in five. Trek reports that its European sales soared during her tenure. She later serves as director of forecasting and strategic planning for nearly a decade.

Meanwhile Walker has never held a significant job in his life outside of elective political office. He works at getting himself elected, first to the State Assembly and then as Milwaukee County Executive. At Milwaukee County, he directly supervises a staff of 19 in the Executive’s office, at least 4 of which later end up being convicted of misconduct. He says he doesn’t know what they were doing. He encourages labor strife among county employees by breaking their contracts and hiring outside temporary employees to do their jobs. He throws out the employment contracts of nearly 300 top level managers and forces many to resign or retire. He can offer no evidence that his administration did anything exceptional to improve the business climate in Milwaukee County as a whole during his six years in office.

Walker then goes on to four years as Wisconsin’s Governor, pledging to foster private-sector job growth and balance the state budget. Walker fails on both. He again encourages labor strife by trying to break the unions with ACT 10. He cuts $800 million  out of revenue sharing to our local schools and governments, passing the discord on to them. The record of Walker’s signature jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), has been sloppy and disappointing. State exports slipped last year, and job growth has been slow, less than half what the governor promised and trailing the rest of the states in the Midwest during the national recovery. The budget faces a 1.8 billion dollar deficit.

The Wisconsin State Journal says “Our editorial board met with both candidates for governor, and we've closely followed their public lives and careers. Our endorsement of Burke isn't a prediction of who will win. It’s who we believe is best to lead Wisconsin forward.”

The State Journal concludes “Mary Burke is that candidate”.

You have to decide who gets the job offer and who gets that nasty rejection letter, and you have to live with your selection for the next four years. In Human Resource Management, “past performance is the best indicator of the job they will do in the future”.

For Wisconsin Governor, do you want more of the same or a change? All the polls still say the race is a toss up. Tomorrow is your last chance to vote, to make your selection heard.

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Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive. Before moving to Green Bay in 2008, he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County. A graduate of UWM in 1971, he moved to Madison, where he was Executive Personnel Officer and Technology Manager for the State Department of Employment Relations. He is a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Director at the Human Resources Management Association of S.E. Wisconsin (now SHRM), and Technology Commission Chair for the City of Franklin. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1965-1971).

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