It's no secret that the race for Dane County Executive has become about which candidate can best distance themself from Gov. Scott Walker. Both Dane County Supervisor Eileen Bruskewitz and state Rep. Joe Parisi, D-Madison, seem to have similar plans on a number of important issues.
However, Parisi's compassionate outlook, experience at the state level and determination to increase green jobs and Dane County's competitiveness earns him our endorsement.
In terms of the economy, Parisi and Bruskewitz seem to have surprisingly similar plans. Both promise to make the economy their top priority and each has proposals to boost job creation and support the innovation of local companies. Bruskewitz has said her plans to support a private economic development corporation will be the best way to reach out to businesses. Parisi, on the other hand, plans to create an office of economic development that would work with local companies.
Parisi's plan to house his new department within the county executive's office rather than in a private corporation is a more common-sense solution for individuals looking to the county for information about workforce or business services. Parisi says he hopes to look to UW-Madison and Madison College as sources of innovation. Moreover, he plans to grow green jobs in addition to jobs in the biotech and high tech industries is impressive.
In this time of political unrest, Dane County needs someone who is willing to find creative solutions for dealing with looming budget cuts from the state. Parisi says he wants to find savings and efficiencies within the county criminal justice system—a particular area of expertise for him considering his experience as the previous chair on the Assembly Committee on Corrections. While Bruskewitz's plan to find efficiencies in the county's 200 non profits is commendable, Parisi seems to have a more focused plan to eliminate waste
while protecting vital services.
Parisi's experience as the Dane County Clerk and his time in the state Legislature gives him an edge. He understands the importance of working with lawmakers and knows how to advocate for county-level resources. In addition, Parisi seems like the only candidate who plans to cooperate with county employees. Bruskewitz has a record of voting against collective bargaining rights for county workers and has said she supports the principles of the budget repair bill.
When it comes to the race for Dane County Executive, the candidate who will most likely decide the outcome of the race isn't even on the ballot. The race has largely been defined by
Bruskewitz's weak attempts to distance herself from Walker's policies and his poor handling of the budget repair bill. However, Bruskewitz's efforts to paint herself as a moderate conservative are superficial at best, and her record of staunch opposition to the Regional Transit Authority and collective bargaining rights are enough to solidify her as a lock-step Walker supporter.
It's unfortunate that recent events in state politics have colored this election. Nonetheless, it's clear that Parisi is the only candidate who will bring the type of forward thinking Dane County needs.