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Posts tagged with “Tom Barrett”

Wisconsin Never Had a Chance

The winners of the first round of “Race to the Top” funding are out, and they were Delaware and Tennessee.  So congratulations to the 1st State and the Volunteer State. Here’s hoping the interstate fighting for federal cash does wonders.

So, how did the Badger State do?  According to the findings by the Department of Education, Wisconsin may have either never had a chance, or factions inside Wisconsin were never going to give to win the funding.

Wisconsin ranked 26th out of 41 states and the District of Columbia that applied for the first round of Race to the Top, a competitive grant process meant to stimulate education reform across the country.

The winners of the first round of the $4.35 billion competition – Delaware and Tennessee – were announced today by the U.S. Dept. of Education. Finalists for the first round included the District of Columbia and 15 other states.

Likely to spark chatter among state leaders and others following education in Wisconsin is the state’s Race to the Top scorecard, which shows Wisconsin earning 341.2 points out of a possible 500.

For comparision, winners Delaware and Tennessee scored an initial 454.6 points and 444.2 points, respectively.

We’re still sifting through the score card and reviewer comments, but it appears Wisconsin’s score was reached by averaging the final scores of five reviewers that assesed the state’s application. The scores from the reviewers ranged from a high of 381 to one reviewer’s score of 293 points.

One theme that emerged among a number of reviewers: Wisconsin lost points because school districts were not explicitly committed to working on certain aspects of Race to the Top criteria. One reviewer points out that only 11% of district-level union leaders committed to the projects Wisconsin proposed in its application.

So when do we just stop and admit the following:

1) WEAC isn’t going to let a little thing like “Better Grades and Performance for Kids” ruin what they have going now.

2) The trip to Madison to announce “Race to the Top” was not about Wisconsin, it was about pushing Tom Barrett into running for governor.

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“Zoo Interchange” Bridge Closed Indefinitely

Just think, we’re gonna have some really nice highways to Illinois…

State authorities closed the Highway 45 bridge carrying traffic northbound over I-94 in the Zoo Interchange shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, fearing that overweight trucks could collapse the deteriorating span.

The bridge, which carries an average of 42,000 vehicles per day, will remain closed until its replacement is completed. That work, started in January as part of an emergency repair project, is expected to be done by Memorial Day.

“This is a public safety action,” said Ryan Luck, construction manager with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. “There’s no room to gamble on this.”

After inspections detected dangerous cracking and deterioration of the bridge in the summer of 2009, the DOT imposed weight limits on three bridges in the interchange. They then acted to replace them, under an emergency contract.

Officials said that overweight trucks continued to travel on the northbound bridge, compounding the deterioration and creating a danger of collapse.

Northbound traffic will be detoured east onto I-94 and returned to the freeway via 84th St. and the westbound freeway.

This is the heaviest traveled highway in Wisconsin, even more so then the recent replaced “Marquette Interchange” in Milwaukee of I-43/I-94.  How this doesn’t have an effect on the Governor’s race given the history of it (Doyle and Milwaukee Democrats pushed repairs on the Zoo for YEARS because of the urging of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is running to replace Doyle.) is beyond me?

Somewhere, a bunch of Democratic spokes-flacks are huddled in a room in Madison (with a conference call to a room in Milwaukee for good measure) trying to figure out a way to deflect blame.

UPDATE: The Walker Campaign was nice enough to post a map of the detour the Zoo will now be undertaking.

Both the Neumann and the Barrett campaigns have chimed in as well on the Zoo Interchange issue as well.  Neumann comes off like he’s reading you the history of the problem (countless  transportation fund raids, in-fighting from Milwaukee politicians, and poor DOT planning).  Barrett sounds like they know they’re backed in a corner on this one and are lashing out; particularly at the Walker campaign.

Also, in what is a sure sign of the “Oh, $#!+” status for Barrett on this issue, it’s 4:15 CT — admittedly on a Friday — and I have yet to see a post from the usual set of liberal bloggers in the Cheddarsphere trying to spin this one.

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Yes, But Will Barrett Really Take on WEAC

Interesting blog post by the Journal Sentinel’s Alan Brosuk on Milwaukee Mayor (and Democratic Candidate for Governor) Tom Barrett and what he sees as the biggest hurdle when it comes to truly reforming the finances of the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) System: High-prices health insurance.

Barrett is still pushing for a mayoral takeover of MPS, even though the idea seems all but dead in the Wisconsin State Legislature — controlled by Democrats.  The idea a victim of massive Democratic in-fighting and Republicans unwilling to back the idea for both political reasons and Barrett’s own history of antipathy towards MPS and open hostility towards the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program in his tenure as Mayor.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is calling on Milwaukee Public Schools and union leaders to work quickly on ways to get more MPS employees to take less expensive health insurance.

In an interview, Barrett said, “I’m calling on the school district, on the School Board, on the representatives of the employees, to meet as quickly as possible to see if they can find a solution to stave off” what lies ahead for MPS, including projections of cuts in hundreds of teaching jobs and increases in average class size.

“I believe a big component of that is putting more people into the lower cost health care plan,” he said. MPS offers two health plans, and about 80% of employees take one that costs $7,380 a year more for a family than the other plan.

Barrett put the issue in personal terms: His wife, Kris, is an MPS teacher. Barrett said that when he became mayor, they considered both MPS plans, as well as the city’s plan. They decided that the lower cost MPS plan was equal to the city’s policy. MPS offers $500 to employees who decline insurance. So the Barretts took the city plan and the $500.

“I felt the lower cost plan was good enough for my own children,” Barrett said.

He said he understands that health insurance is a crucial and emotional issue for MPS employees.

“I’m not trying to take away their insurance,” he said. “But I am interested in doing everything I can to make sure we do not have an increase in the average class size per teacher. I don’t want to see hundreds of teachers and other employees from the school district laid off.”

First of all, let me applaud Barrett’s stance on this issue.  I just however wonder if he’s going to stick with it once he has that behind-closed-door meeting with the powers-that-be at the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC).  After all, they’re about to lose their wholly-owned subsidiary in Governor Jim Doyle and they’re going to need a new champion soon.  Barrett, naturally fits that bill.

Recall of course, that the bulk of health insurance for teachers in the state of Wisconsin is provided by WEA Trust; which is nothing more than a side company set up and owned by the very teachers union.  Has anyone asked if Barrett; as Governor, going to allow for school districts to shop around for more affordable health insurance packages?  Or is he going to bend as soon as WEAC tells him to shut up, as they do ever Democrat running for Governor?

Only time will tell.  And an aside, I’m still waiting for that post on WEA Trust’s exploding costs from all the folks who’ve raised holy hell about California seeing a 39% increase from its sole insurance provider.  Perhaps there’s a lesson in allowing people to shop around in there?

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Barrett Officially Names Campaign Manager

Thank you Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel, for passing on information most of my readers have known since last Tuesday night.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has hired Bill Hyers, an Obama Administration official and former Democratic campaign aide, to manage Barrett’s run for governor next year.

Mayoral aide Patrick Curley confirmed the Hyers hiring Monday. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday, said Jeff Fleming, a spokesman for Barrett’s Democratic gubernatorial bid.

Hyers most recently worked as a White House liaison to the Department of Veterans Affairs. He managed successful campaigns of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillebrand, of New York. Hyers also worked on the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns of John Edwards.

The Des Moines Register first reported Hyers hiring by Barrett Sunday.

Actually, I saw on a blog post last Wednesday by the Des Moines Register confirming my own blog post while I was flying around the country.  There they pretty much told us Hyers was offered the campaign gig in Iowa first — to put back together the slowly imploding re-election campaign of Democratic Governor Chet Culver (no relation to the Wisconsin Culvers I believe) which polls show is losing by 20 points — but took the Barrett position instead.

[Please, only I may make jokes about Barrett being ‘Sloppy Seconds.”]

All credit for breaking the news of the Hyers hire, of course goes to WisPolitics.com.

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Barrett Names Campaign Manager

From the “Scott Walker for Governor” blog kept by political insiders, but not connected to the campaign.

From WisPolitics:

Bill Hyers, a veteran of numerous political campaigns and a member of President Obama’s administration, will lead Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s guv bid, Dem sources told WisPolitics today.

Hyers most recently worked as the White House’s liaison to the Department of Veterans Affairs after working on the president’s 2008 campaign.

The “Scott Walker for Governor” boys focus on this news being more proof that Barrett is the hand-picked, forced-at-gun-point candidate of both Jim Doyle and the Obama White House.

That no doubt is true, but a quick Google search finds that Hyers is a veteran of a number of campaigns from all across the country.  This 2007 post at Daily Kos shows he managed the 2006 House campaign of now-Senator Kristen Gillibrand in New York’s 20th Congressional District, followed by the 2007 campaign of Michael Nutter, who is now the Mayor of Philadelphia.

He has a record of winning, which is no doubt why Barrett hired him.

For the hypocrites known as “Wisconsin’s Liberal Blogging Community,” they will be pleased to know that Hyers is a Minnesota-native and a veteran of Democrat-Farmer-Labor (DFL) politics there.  I’m sure that apology to Walker Campaign Communications Director Jill Bader (and Tennessee native also with a record of being on winning campaigns) will be coming shortly about Barrett’s inability to “Hire Local and Hire Wisconsin” is now been pointed out.

Does however make you wonder what color Favre jerseys will be worn around the Barrett Campaign office though…

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Welcome to the Governor’s Race Tom Barrett

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Barrett Decision by Week’s End

Well, this ought to be fun.  Too bad we don’t put this on “InTrade.”

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he will make an announcement by the end of the week on whether he is going to run for governor.

Barrett said he will continue to consult with his family before making a final decision.

If Barrett entered the race, he would be the only major Democrat running for the office.

Earlier this year, Gov. Jim Doyle announced he would not seek a third term. Then, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton abandoned her campaign.

Major Republicans running for the office include Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and former Us. Rep. Mark Neumann. They will face off in the September 2010 primary.

Well, if I copied the code right, I posted a poll on what you think will happen.  I’ll post the results as of Friday morning.

Frankly, I haven’t talked to any Democrat on what’s going there in about a month and way too much has changed, so your guess is as good as mine.

What Will Tom Barrett's Decision Be?

  • He's Out. (67%, 14 Votes)
  • He's In. (33%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

Loading ... Loading ...

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Your National Coverage on the Barrett-Obama Meeting

From Politico…discuss.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett met with White House Political Director Patrick Gaspard Wednesday during President Barack Obama’s trip to Wisconsin, amid reports that the White House has been urging Barrett to run for governor in 2010.

Barrett and Gaspard spoke before Obama’s afternoon speech at a Madison middle school and the mayor’s office confirmed the two talked briefly.

Earlier, Barrett greeted Obama as he landed in Wisconsin Wednesday afternoon. The mayor told the Associated Press that he and the president did not discuss a potential gubernatorial campaign.

The White House offered no additional information about Barrett’s conversation with Gaspard.

During his address in Madison, which focused on education policy, Obama offered a prominent shout-out to Barrett, hailing him as “Milwaukee’s outstanding mayor” and prompting Barrett to stand up and wave to the crowd.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported that the White House hoped Barrett, a former congressman, would enter the race to succeed outgoing Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat who also joined Obama in Madison.

Last week, Democratic Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton announced she would not seek her party’s nomination in next year’s race, leaving a clear primary field for Barrett if he chooses to run.

A Democratic Governors Association official said Wednesday the group has spoken with Barrett and “several other potential candidates” about the 2010 election.

“Mayor Barrett would make a strong candidate and he’s been a great leader,” said DGA Communications Director Emily DeRose. “We’re confident that whoever is our nominee, we’ll keep Wisconsin blue and elect a governor who will look out for working families and create good jobs.”

Thank you DGA press flack.  You’re currently 0 for 2 this cycle.

If you look at the accompanying picture in the story (see link), it clearly shows Obama’s acting in the role of concerned friend with Barrett in what looks like a scene where the two are talking about Barrett’s injuries from the attack at State Fair.  Considering more what wasn’t said yesterday both at the event and the press, you have to start going with the assumption Barrett’s staying put and not running.

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Obama to Madison Next Week

<sarcasm>Boy, this won’t play into the Governor’s race speculation at all.</sarcasm>

Bring out the tape recorder and set the DVR.  Things are gonna be fun for the next week or so.

President Obama will visit the Madison area on Nov. 4 to speak about education, the White House announced Tuesday.

It will be Obama’s first visit to the immediate area since a February 2008 campaign stop at the Kohl Center prior to the Democratic primary.

Presidential candidate Obama was scheduled to return in October 2008, but canceled a planned Madison rally to visit his ailing grandmother, who died a short time later, in Hawaii.

Details about the location or content of the president’s address in Madison next week are not available, a White House spokeswoman said.

Somewhere, Dan Bice is smiling.

(Wonder if any ambitious reporter in Madison Obama will bring up the @$$-kicking Democrats took in Virginia the previous night.)

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Daily Cardinal: Barrett Decision in Weeks

How is it that a college newspaper (and not even the best on the UW-Madison campus!) gets this sort of scoop, but the Wisconsin State Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Gannett Wisconsin papers can’t pick up the phone?

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will announce his decision on whether he will run for Governor in 2010 in the coming weeks, a campaign representative said Thursday.

Steve Chernof, Barrett’s finance chair, said Barrett is “weighing the decision.”

“I expect that we will have a decision within a couple of weeks,” he said.

As of right now, Barrett is keeping his focus on city issues, but he is still “taking the opportunity seriously,” Chernof said.

Officially, Barrett is currently pursuing a general mayoral campaign. Chernof said they “are certainly not geared up to run a mayoral campaign,” and did not rule out the possibility of the current campaign turning into a gubernatorial campaign.

Alright, good to know.  The last thing we need is some sort of wrench in the gears.

Uh oh…

This statement comes on the heels of Gov. Jim Doyle’s expression of “second thoughts” to Wispolitics.com about not running for re-election in 2010.

The Barrett campaign had no response to Doyle’s comments. However, Chernof said that while he did not want to speculate on how that would affect Barrett’s decision, Barrett’s initial consideration rested on Doyle not seeking re-election.

“The opportunity was presented because the Governor announced that he was not going to run,” Chernof said.

Me thinks that second part maybe Team Barrett’s subtle way of telling Doyle to “Back Off Baldie!”

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