What Wisconsin State Senator Pam Galloway’s Resignation Really Means

By YeOldeScribe ~ March 25th, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

Political Progressives was so disheartened when the Democrats fell just short of taking over the Senate in last year’s recall elections. It’s not like we bemoaned the fact that the Democrats were able to wrestle away two seats from Republicans in the middle of a term, but we weren’t ecstatic, either. 17-16 looked a whole lot better than 19-14, but it wasn’t the 17-16 we were hoping for. The Democrats were supposed to come out on top and take back the state.

The fact that they didn’t shouldn’t be counted against the Democrats. Not many people (including us) thought the recall elections were even going to happen, much less be successful. That they were even able to win two seats is a testament to Wisconsin’s belief in democracy and a look at exactly how screwed up Republican politics really is.

Little did we know that the recall election would have such an impact on Wisconsin politics.

On Friday, State Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau) announced her retirement from her seat to be with multiple family members who are suffering from long-term illnesses. Her retirement means that until an election can be held for her vacant seat, the Senate is split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, each maintaining 16 seats.

Coincidentally, that election will happen either May 8th (no primary) or June 5th (primary needed) because Galloway was the target of a recall election. And also coincidentally, Galloway was not in good shape heading into that election. The challenger, Rep. Donna Seidel, was making some serious headway in the race. She now emerges as the clear front runner for the vacant seat.

Before we say anything else, we must say this: our heartfelt prayers go out to the Galloway Family. We wish the best for them as they spend some time together hoping that the health of their family improves. We hope for the same thing.

We’ve noticed that a lot of blogs and news agencies are taking shots at Galloway, saying it’s a foregone conclusion that Galloway resigned so she wouldn’t have to go through the humiliation of being recalled. Honestly, there’s two people who know the truth: Galloway herself and God. And if you expect a politician to tell you the truth or God to talk to you, please seek medical attention immediately.

Is the timing questionable? Oh yeah. It comes right as a legislative session ends and right as a recall election was going to begin. Is there enough to speculate that Galloway was influenced by the recall to resign? Definitely – she even says so herself to WPR. But can we conclusively claim that Galloway is using her family as an excuse to quit? Probably not. So we’re not going to play that game.

Besides, the much bigger question is what happens to Wisconsin now that the Republicans now have total control of Madison. Charlie Jacobs, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at St. Norbert College, said that “It affects so many different aspects of politics in Wisconsin over the next several months.” We’re going to respectfully disagree with Mr. Jacobs here, mainly because there’s not that much going on in Wisconsin politics over the next several months.

Remember what we said earlier – Wisconsin just ended a legislative session. On Thursday and Friday of last week, Republicans smashed through a boatload of bills (including the high-publicity abortion bill) so that the Congressmen could go back and serve the people of their district begin campaigning in a futile attempt to save their seats. So unless something unusual happens, this 16-16 split means virtually nothing.

As glorious as the idea sounds that Fitzgerald is no longer the majority leader of the Senate, practically this so-called “game changing” resigning doesn’t change a thing. Congress is out of session, and unless it’s called back into session, then the Congress won’t be seated again until after the recall elections take place.

However, there is one good reason to think that a special session may be called. See, Republicans were not able to smash through a mining bill that had potentially devastating environmental effects. Democrats have said that they aren’t opposed to the bill entirely as it would mean more jobs and more revenue for Wisconsin, but that Republicans would need to modify the bill because as it’s written it’s environmentally unacceptable. Sen. Dale Schultz made headlines when he held out and did not support the bill, one of the very few instances of Republicans breaking ranks since Scott Walker came to town. (His fellow party members have since rewarded his efforts by announcing that they will attempt to recall him. Yeah, you read that right – people from his own party are trying to recall him.)

Democrats are urging Gov. Walker to call a special legislative session so that the two parties can hammer out their differences and get a proposal drawn up. It needs to happen soon, though – the Florida company that owns the mine has already announced that they will be pulling out of Wisconsin. This is hardly a done-deal, though – it’s more like the mining company is attempting to play hardball with the state. Walker could – and in our opinion should – do this, but now he needs Democratic support even more. It would take two Democrats to switch sides on the bill, and that is very unlikely to happen without actual concessions being made on the bill (as opposed to re-wording the bill and trying to play off the new version as a significant improvement over the old one, as Republicans tried to do already). If such a session were convened, Democrats would hold some real power – which is exactly why we think it won’t. Why would Gov. Walker voluntarily give Democrats power when as it stands now, he can blame them for losing almost 1,000 jobs for the state? I mean sure, if he cared about the good of the state and its citizens, this would be a no-brainer. But Gov. Walker has already proved to us that we are pawns in his political war, and he will sacrifice the well-being of his citizens if it means advancing his positions. We don’t see this happening.

Tomorrow, look for our post on the Federal Court’s ruling of Wisconsin’s Redistricting plans, and what the judge’s decision really says.

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1 Response to What Wisconsin State Senator Pam Galloway’s Resignation Really Means

  1. P Hardin Schroth

    I appreciate your objectivity on the Galloway matter, but I think it is clear Galloway knew she was doomed from the start. So why face humiliation? Let’s just abandon the voters in her district to prevent having egg on her face. Such is the way of the great and noble tea bagger!

    On a separate note: How about writing a piece on the Pro-life movement, or should I say the current Pro-life sham movement. Let’s praise the Governor for defunding planned parenthood, but ignore the fact that he wanted to bounce thousands of kids off the BadgerCare plan. Why didn’t Pro-Life Wisconsin or Right to Life Wisconsin ever praise Governor Jim Doyle for pushing and signing the statewide smoking ban into law? This was arguably the greatest Pro-life legislation ever passed in our state!


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