WisPolitics E-Profile: Mike Tate

This e-profile was completed Nov. 20, 2006


1. Name:
Mike Tate

2. Birthplace and date
March 8, 1979 in Milwaukee

3. Title/Occupation
Executive Director, Fair Wisconsin (until Dec. 31)

4. Other jobs/job history
Deputy State Director- America Coming Together 2004
State Director- Dean for America
Regional Political Director- AFSCME Council 40
State Field Director- Falk for Governor
Statewide Student Organizer- 2000 Democratic Coordinated Campaign

5. Education
BA- Political Science UW-Madison. December 2005 (Only took eight years between campaigns)

6. Family
Engaged to Amy Lensing, getting married in September 2007.

7. I was inspired to enter this line of work ...
Because of my mom and the work she did and because I believe electoral politics is the fastest way to make change in our society.

8. My most memorable moment in politics was ...
I don't have one single favorite moment, just a lot of great memories. The Gore rally in Madison in 2000, the governor's race in 2002, the Howard Dean rally in Madison in fall of 2003, ACT staging over 3,500 canvassers out of Miller Park for GOTV in 2004 and many more. Too many to pick from.

9. The moment in politics I'd rather forget was ...
The constitutional amendment banning civil unions and gay marriage being passed by Wisconsin voters this year and my having to go talk to a ballroom filled with 500 people who had given their all to defeat it. Hardest thing I have ever had to do.

10. The winning political formula in Wisconsin is ...
I don't know that I should be asked this question given my track record. But seriously I think winning in Wisconsin is a combination of a strong television campaign with a solid grassroots effort. To succeed I really believe you need to do both very well. To do both you need to spend significant resources on both. Good grassroots campaigns cost serious money, just like running a several month sustained television campaign costs serious money. The biggest mistake I think people make is that assuming grassroots organizing is inexpensive. To do it right in Wisconsin you need to invest in it and work at it.

11. The thing that's changed the most in politics since I started has been ...
I have only been working in politics since 1998 and I feel like a lot has changed. The biggest factor has been the growth of the internet and how many people get their news from it and the growth of political blogs. Another big change is how few people are answering their telephones. I really think voter contact via the telephone is rapidly losing its effectiveness. Another change I see coming is fewer and fewer people actually watching television commercials given the advent of TiVo, etc. But I still think that is a ways off from having a major impact on the Wisconsin electorate. All these changes have made me believe that the single most effective thing that can be done in campaigns is door-to-door canvassing using local volunteers. I think that with all the things that are changing in how the electorate gets their information we will see volunteers knocking on doors continue to rise in importance as time goes on.

12. I like politics when ...
elected officials and candidates appeal to the best in us and push us to be better as a collective than we are individually.

13. I hate politics when ...
politics is reduced to the lowest common denominator and people are forced into voting their fears and not their hopes.

14. If I weren't working in politics, I'd be ...
Working as a golf professional, probably at a local golf course or trying to make it on a mini-tour somewhere probably living out of my car.

15. When I'm not working, I'd rather be ...
Golfing

16. My favorite place in Wisconsin is ...
Any golf course on a sunny day with my Blackberry locked in my car.

17. My favorite place outside Wisconsin is ...
Any golf course on a sunny day ...

18. Most people don't know I'm good at ...
I'm not really good at very much. I used to be a good golfer now my game comes and goes.

19. The book I'm recommending these days is ...
I just read Robert Kennedy by Evan Thomas and thought it was excellent.

20. The TV show I'm recommending these days is ...
I watch the West Wing, The Sopranos and Law and Order.

21. The movie I'm recommending these days is ...
I just saw Thank You For Smoking and thought it was funny.

22. If I had the chance, I'd really like to have lunch with ...
Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King Jr, George Washington and my mother.

23. If I was king of Wisconsin for a day, I'd declare that ...
You can't use the constitution to discriminate against people you don't like simply because you don't know them.

24. Twenty five years from now, Wisconsin politicos will be talking about ....
The uninterrupted string of Democratic governors we have had since 2002, as well as the silly discrimination amendment we repealed in 2012.

25. The question I really wanted to answer was ...
Which political party benefited from having the constitutional amendment on the ballot this year?

26. And the answer is ...
The Democratic Party. While it was a tragedy for the LGBT community, the Democratic Party owes Mark Gundrum, John Gard, Julaine Appling and others a round of thanks for placing a measure on the ballot that motivated the Democratic base so heavily. Because of the amendment we were able to re-take the state Senate, pick up a lot of seats in the Assembly, and play a role in helping re-elect Governor Doyle. Thanks guys, enjoy your minority status.