The Capital Times endorsement: Vote for Lisa Subeck for State Assembly in District 78

The Capital Times, 8/6/14

53dec90f58b5c.preview-620Legislative seats in the Madison area do not come open all that frequently. When they do, it is vital that voters pick a progressive leader with a track record of getting things right and getting things done.

In the contest for the 78th District Assembly seat that Democrat Brett Hulsey is vacating, barring something unforeseen, the Democratic primary will be decisive. And Democrats in the district, which covers a large chunk of Madison’s west side, have a pair of strong prospects to consider: Ald. Lisa Subeck and Ald. Mark Clear.

We respect Clear, but our endorsement goes to Subeck.

In addition to her two terms on the City Council, where she has been an outspoken champion for southwest-side neighborhoods and a steady advocate for economic and social justice, Subeck has an impressive record as an activist. As a YWCA program coordinator, she worked on behalf of women in transition and homeless children. As executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, she worked to enact laws that guarantee every woman full access to reproductive health care choices. As executive director of United Wisconsin, she has been in the forefront of fights to fund public education, protect public employees, defend voting rights, and reform a broken campaign finance system.

Subeck is up to speed on the issues, she is connected with advocacy groups and citizen networks, and she is ready to get to work in the Assembly.

Of course, that won’t be easy. The Legislature is currently controlled by right-wing Republicans, and they have drawn legislative district lines to favor their majorities in the Assembly and Senate. While Democrats are likely to pick up seats this year, the next representative from the 78th could well serve in the minority.

Clear has suggested that his quieter style might make it easier for him to work with Assembly Republicans, and we certainly encourage cooperation where it is possible. But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his compatriots have refused to compromise up to this point and we fear that their idea of “finding common ground” involves getting Democrats to go along with a wrongheaded agenda.

If there is an opening for genuine cooperation, we have no doubt that either Clear or Subeck would seize it. But if the next Assembly session is a combative one, it is our view that Subeck would be more effective at rallying public opinion, building coalitions, and then coming to the table from a position of strength.

The Legislature needs smart, hardworking leaders who are on the watch for wrongdoing, who are ready to challenge wrong policies, and who know how to open up the debate so that the citizens of Wisconsin can and will be heard.

To our view, Lisa Subeck fits that description. We hope that Democrats will nominate her on Aug. 12.

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