Brookfield – In a time when America needs leadership and a coordinated national plan to fight the worst pandemic in 100 years, Scott Fitzgerald expects to go to Washington for no other reason than he’s a Republican. His Democratic challenger, Tom Palzewicz, doesn’t care about party when public health is in peril. He is looking for results.
In an October 28th editorial, the Capital Times editorial board outlined several compelling reasons why Palzewicz is the better choice for Wisconsin and why Fitzgerald is a failure as a legislative leader. The editorial began with a simple, declarative statement, “Wisconsinites who are looking for an place to begin addressing everything that is wrong with politics in this state and nation can begin be [sic] rejecting the congressional candidacy of career politician Scott Fitzgerald.”
Fitzgerald has been leading the charge against Governor Tony Evers throughout this public health crisis. The Capital Times editorial points out, “Fitzgerald has not just refused to cooperate with efforts by Evers to tackle the pandemic. He has gone to court to block those efforts. He has refused to call the Legislature into session so that more responsible Republicans can work with Democrats. As the crisis has accelerated in recent weeks, with record numbers of deaths being reported each day, he has mocked Evers for taking it seriously.”
Fitzgerald is still bitter over the defeat of former governor Scott Walker and continued, “The majority leader is mad that there is a Democrat in the governor’s office. So mad that he is willing to let Wisconsinites get sick and die rather than work with a Democrat in support of proven science and public health strategies that will save lives.”
Palzewicz has promised to work with Republicans and Independents in Washington to formulate a strategic national response, something that has been completely missing under Republican rule. The editorial ended by saying the upside to this election is that voters can cast their ballots for Tom Palzewicz.
Editorial: Scott Fitzgerald is everything that is wrong in American politics
By Cap Times editorial
Wisconsinites who are looking for an place to begin addressing everything that is wrong with politics in this state and nation can begin be rejecting the congressional candidacy of career politician Scott Fitzgerald.
The Republican majority leader of the state Senate has refused to work with Gov. Tony Evers from the moment Evers defeated Fitzgerald’s longtime political paymaster, former Gov. Scott Walker. Few were surprised that Fitzgerald put partisanship ahead of the public good in the first year of Evers’ tenure. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, there were many who thought the majority leader would rise to the occasion.
They thought wrong.
Fitzgerald’s response to COVID-19 has been one long temper tantrum.
The majority leader is mad that there is a Democrat in the governor’s office. So mad that he is willing to let Wisconsinites get sick and die rather than work with a Democrat in support of proven science and public health strategies that will save lives.
Fitzgerald has not just refused to cooperate with efforts by Evers to tackle the pandemic. He has gone to court to block those efforts. He has refused to call the Legislature into session so that more responsible Republicans can work with Democrats. As the crisis has accelerated in recent weeks, with record numbers of deaths being reported each day, he has mocked Evers for taking it seriously.
Standing mask-less at the microphone of a Saturday night rally in Waukesha for the politician he has come to revere, Donald Trump, Fitzgerald declared, “Tony Evers, our governor stinks. He’s negative. He’s a drag on the state. He sits around all day and sucks on lemons.”
As our hospitals reach capacity, as businesses shutter because the virus has not been contained, as unemployment rises, Wisconsin has been put in a weak and vulnerable position by Scott Fitzgerald. He has made a difficult circumstance dramatically worse in Wisconsin. And now, he proposes to make things worse in Washington.
Getting Fitzgerald out of the Wisconsin Legislature is a good idea, of course. Even his fellow Republicans will celebrate the exit of a crude and often bumbling “leader” who has never been anything more than an obstructionist. But the idea that he might take his toxic politics to Washington to either serve as a yes man for Trump or to try and block whatever good a President Joe Biden might try to do should unsettle people of all political persuasions.
Unlike the Republican he seeks to replace, U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Fitzgerald has never shown any independence. Sensenbrenner is a committed conservative, but on issues such as voting rights he has rejected the extremism of the racist right and supported commonsense solutions. The retiring representative has, as well, been willing to break with Republican and Democratic presidents on issues of trade policy and war and peace.
We often disagreed with Sensenbrenner. But we respected his ability to think for himself and to get things done in Washington as a key committee chairman — or ranking Republican when Democrats were in charge — who often found ways to work across lines of partisan and ideological division.
We have no such respect for Scott Fitzgerald. He is a charlatan who seeks to bring an ever more reckless partisanship to a Congress that is already contentious and often dysfunctional. It is not to much to say that, if Fitzgerald is elected, what’s wrong with Washington will become more wrong.
Thankfully, voters in the 5th Congressional District (which includes parts of Jefferson, Dodge, Milwaukee, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties) have a genuine alternative to Fitzgerald in Tom Palzewicz, a Navy veteran with deep experience as a banker and business consultant. From the start of his campaign, Palzewicz has rejected the sort of divisive, in-your-face politics that Fitzgerald embraces.
“My focus is to run a country over party campaign. That means it shouldn’t matter which side you support or have voted for in the past. We’ve all changed our minds at some point in our life. Maybe we’re more informed or some life event changed our perspective on issues, it’s OK. What matters is acting accordingly,” Palzewicz said. “It’s clear that our political system is broken, regardless of where you identify on the political spectrum. Let’s agree on the issues, and work to solve those issues. In business, leaders rarely know the exact path to where they want to go, they start doing things that matter and course correct along the way.”
If Joe Biden is elected and Democrats control the House, as many polls suggest is likely, Palzewicz will be far better positioned to deliver for communities such as Waterloo, Lake Mills, Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Oconomowoc, Hartford and West Bend.
If Republicans retain control, Palzewicz will be equally effective, as an independent-minded representative who will say “no” when wrongheaded policies are advanced but who will seek avenues for cooperation across party lines.
With his serious and detailed focus on practical concerns for farmers and workers in the 5th District, Palzewicz has distinguished himself not just from Fitzgerald but from most politicians in both parties. The pragmatic emphasis that this son of a union worker on the AO Smith assembly line places on extending access to health care, education and jobs speaks to the needs of working families in the rural regions, small towns and suburbs of a district that has been hard hit by COVID-19.
There is no question that Fitzgerald should be retired from our politics. He is destructive political careerist who has refused to do the right thing even as a pandemic surges and his neighbors are getting sick and dying. There are good reasons simply to vote against Fitzgerald.
What’s encouraging this year is that there are even more good reasons to vote FOR Tom Palzewicz.