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Monday, November 1, 2010

ELECTIONS

It is Monday, November 1st.  As I listen to the radio and watch TV, I see the media frenzy showing last minute debates, meetings, speeches, etc.  I see Obama speaking with crowds behind him (staged) and I ask myself why isn't he at his office meeting with advisors discussing terrorism, jobs, tax decreases, etc. - why isn't he doing his real job.


Before the election Tuesday, I just want to briefly reflect on my activities since July (when I filed my nomination papers) and sincerely thank each and every citizen in the 27th Assembly District who I met or addressed.  It has been an educating and enlightening experience.  I can truly tell you that there are many citizens who are frustrated and have lost hope for the future generations.  This is sad.  


Win or lose is not the issue for me.  The issue is that We The People wake up and demand less government intervention and an honest government.


It has been heartwarming for me to receive phone calls and letters from people throughout Wisconsin and the U.S. who have known me as a student, co-worker, business person and citizen.  Renewal of friendships and words of encouragement saying, "Go Get 'Em!"


Thanks to everyone!

Friday, October 29, 2010

From Jermaine

This is a blog from Jack's wife.

I really felt this support letter that a friend, Martin Gross, wrote and submitted to the Plymouth Review should be shared with you since it was only going to appear in the Review.  It does show a side of Jack that potential voters should know.

Jermaine

Enjoy Voting on Nov. 2!


Things that have a good outcome are enjoyable.  That is why I am happy to see Jack Lechler running as an independent candidate for Assembly.  I know Jack well -- he was my boss for 5 years.  I learned a lot from him, he set an amazing example.  Because of him, I would come in to work on Saturdays at 5 a.m. -- and enjoy it.  You see, he didn't make me do it.  We had a lot of work to get done, and his enthusiasm and energy drew me in.  We had fun and were proud of our accomplishments.  And we still wound up with the best part of Saturday free!  


That is the lesson for politics:  there sure is a lot of work to be done right now, and no really easy solutions.  Who wants to work at        5 a.m. on a Saturday?  That is why I want someone who can motivate me to choose something beside the easy choice, whom I trust to find out and explain what will serve me better, and lead me through the hard part with enthusiasm.  I'm happy to give Jack my vote on Tuesday -- give Jack your vote if you want improvement, not just another change.


Martin Gross
Plymouth

Articles in the Sheboygan Press

On 10/26/10, two articles addressing the 27th Assembly District, were published in The Sheboygan Press.  One was a candidate comparison and the other an editorial endorsement. Over the last several years I have been critical of the coverage provided by The Press, and critical of the fact that they seem to resist publishing positions and public awareness info that Steve Kestell and Joe Leibham have attempted to provide them.  However, I did feel that they provided a fair and unbiased assessment of Mr. Kestell and myself in both articles.  I believe that the quote and commentary were quite accurate based on my observations, interviews and participation over the past four months.

I can fully appreciate their endorsement of Mr. Kestell because I politely advised The Press I was not interested in their endorsement.  I would, however, like to highlight and critique several of the quotes and statements of Mr. Kestell.

1.  "Kestell, a Republican, is seeking a seventh 2-year term."

This is precisely why I believe we need term limits.  If you cannot accomplish the job in six terms during both Republican and Democratic administrations, why should we expect a 7th term will be any different.  WE NEED TERM LIMITS!

2.  Kestell said, "I understand how the system works and how to get things done.  I have a good working relationship in the legislature - so no matter who the next governor is, and however the next legislature looks, I'll be able to work within the system."

My comment would be - Oh, really!  I believe this entire statement confirms the primary issue.  The "system" we have isn't working.  The relationships are precisely part of the problem.  It is the "Good Ol' Boys" group in action.  They are beholden to the relationships and the system and it isn't working.  I have continued to hear the whining and finger-pointing throughout the campaign, we are in the minority and it is the other guys fault.  This defines the problem precisely.  Incumbents think they know the system and they are cozy with their relationships.  It is called "go-along to get-along".  That is why we need new independent thinking.

3.  "Kestell, who said he had knocked on more than 10,000 doors during his campaign, said his position on any issue comes from what the people of the 27th are telling me."

My question:  I also knocked on doors and my experience was that many of the people I met didn't know of or never met Steve during the last six terms.  Why hasn't Steve held town hall meetings with the district citizens in cities, villages and townships?  He describes his occupation as a full-time legislator - even though the role of an assemblyman is not defined as such.  If he cannot hold his own meetings, he at least should attend the meetings held by Joe Leibham throughout the 27th District.  I have been to many and have not seen Steve at any of them.  It is a good place to sit and "listen" to the people.  Further, why doesn't Steve write informative articles to the local paper like Joe Leibham does?

4.  Steve expresses concerns regarding the Department of Commerce in the Sheboygan Press article.

Yes, this Department is and has been a boon-doggle, so why hasn't Steve been traveling the district before the campaign and addressing the public with communication to exert pressure and wrath upon the culprits?  With jobs being a major issue, this Department, the head of the Department, the Governor who appoints him or her, and the bureaucrats running it, should have been discussed regularly.  Well, I guess better late than never.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Local Government in Action

This past week, I had another opportunity to witness the concerns and dedication of local government officials in action.  I attended a meeting of the Townships in Calumet County.  It was hosted by the Town of Rantoul in Potter.

I arrived half an hour early and I heard the conversations of the people as they arrived.  As I listened, it was obvious I was listening to the grass-root citizens of our society.  The informal dialogue included all the real life concerns the people were faced with daily - weather, crops, schools, roads, and taxes.

When the meeting began, you could recognize and sense the awareness of the local officials.  They covered issues regarding road maintenance, prevailing wage  laws, unfunded mandates, new fees - all of the issues which impacted the local governments.

You can only leave a meeting like this being impressed and thankful for "real" public servants.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What Happens When the Well Runs Dry?

In the past week, I have read two articles which present a concerning scenario.  The first story came from Elyria, Ohio, population 56,000 located in Lorain County in Northern Ohio.  The article discussed salaries, overtime, vacation pay, pensions, etc.  for public workers of the city (police, public utility workers, firemen, etc).  The numbers  were interesting - check it out yourself.  Google Elyria, Ohio pensions.

The second article was about Fort Worth, Texas.  Some examples given were a 53-year-old policeman retired with an annual pension benefit of $90,312 for life, plus $256,000 in a lump sum payment.  Not bad as a 30-year employee.  Another example was a 54-year-old fireman leaving his job with a pension of $90,130 for life and a $178,000 payout.

You can read more about his at www.star-telegram.com, a Fort Worth newspaper.  But regardless, if you just think about it, these types of scenarios are impossible to fund.  The scenario is NOT unique to these two states, Wisconsin is in the same sinking boat.  The unfunded liabilities will lead us to a cliff.  The well will go dry.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

They're Helping Us Spend Our Local Money Again

I don't know if you received it , but I was most interested in a mailer I received today.  I had heard about these offers to assist you in voting, but I had never received one.  This particular mailer was oversized, colored, and I'm certain, expensive.  It was sent out and paid for by RGA Wisconsin 2010 PAC from Washington D.C.  In case you didn't receive it, let me list a few phrases from it:

Vote early by mail 
         Easy - Secure - Hassle Free - Private


Wisconsin allows any registered voter to VOTE EARLY by mail.


Wisconsin law allows all voters to cast an absentee ballot, meaning you can vote by mail from the comfort of your own home.


I thought that absentee ballots were for those people who were out of town or out of the country on the day of elections, or those who were physically unable to go to a polling place.

What really throws me for a loop is this.  The form contains two pre-addressed cards to send to the City of Kiel.  It reminds the requestor to apply a stamp.  The city, however, when it receives the card must send the ballot to the requestor and pay $ .44 postage and enclose $ .44 postage for the requestor to return it.  Therefore, the cost of elections for that voter has gone up $ .88 and that does not include the labor in the process.  The local government entity cannot reduce their polling cost expenses, and therefore, this
mail-in voting is just a cost increase.

After doing some research, I found that RGA stands for the Republican Governors Association.  I would like to learn more about them and their budget.

Unless this mail-in process is really handled well, I just see it as another vote-early and vote-often opportunity.

In discussing this with a friend of mine in the state of Oregon, he advised that their voting process is done completely by mail.  It is also not a flawless process.  My friend received his ballot in the mail today, but he also got a ballot for his nephew who lived with him in Oregon for a short time two years ago.  His nephew no longer lives in Oregon.  If my friend would have desired to vote twice, he could have.  (He did not - he shredded it.)  I'm sure there were many more errors like this.

This whole scenario tells me that the pendulum has swung too far.  To vote should be an honor and a right.  If it takes some effort, that only makes it more valuable!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where I Come From & Why I Care

I was born and raised in Kiel, Wisconsin and attended the Kiel Schools.  During grade school and high school I performed a variety of jobs to save money for college.  I attended and graduated from Lakeland College debt free, all while starting a family.

After college, I taught high school in Milwaukee.  Thereafter, I made a career change and joined Tecumseh Products Company in New Holstein, Wisconsin.  My work focused on sales management, working with both domestic and international manufacturers.  Also, during the past four decades, my wife and I have owned and operated our own independent business.

I have been married to Jermaine Brost for 49 years and we have two children, Lori and Jay. 

During school I was actively involved in numerous extracurricular activies and jobs and developed a love of music.  I have been a member of the Kiel Municipal Band, the Dave Seehawer Orchestra, the Jerry Schneider Orchestra and also played with various other dance bands.  I played piano and organ in church, taught Sunday School, directed children and adult choirs, served on the church consistory and was president of the congregation.

I have always tried to remain active in our educational system and other civic opportunities.  I have served on a variety of committees over the past decades and was a Kiel School Board member for two terms.

Over the years, and especially in the last ten, I have paid close attention to the operations of our local, state and federal governments.  I have attended many listening sessions held by local, state, and federal officials and visited the Capitol in Madison to have discussions with our “so-called” leaders and elected officials.  I also make frequent calls to the offices and know the staff of most of our elected officials by first name.

Really, all of the foregoing biographical data is informational but it doesn't reveal the meat or reason for my candidacy.
What I really want to have an opportunity to address is twofold.....will you vote and why should you vote for me?

I am not running in an effort to begin a new career.  I am running for this state office because I want to TRY to make a difference.  I presently see many public officials only displaying indifference, and unfortunately, that translates into many citizens believing there is no hope, no future and no chance to return to sanity.  This, I have found, has even reached the point where people say, “Why vote, it doesn’t pay, they just get elected and do what they want.  They really don’t care about the people.”  Isn’t this a shame?

Voting is free and the right to vote is there to preserve your freedom.  By not casting a vote, you start to give up your freedom, and unfortunately, many of our public officials thrive on this complacency.

I will not make any false promises to you and will not tell you about all I can accomplish.  I cannot tell you about hope and change because someone already did that two years ago and you can see where that got us.

Here is what I will tell you. I am hard-working, I want to represent you the people.  I will try to listen to you, the citizens, and get your input. I will dig for the truth and for answers. I will try to keep you informed and communicate with you. I want to do my best to represent school, township, village, city and county government and try to deal with the issues that impact us.

This is not about me, it is about you, your families and our future generations.  I can’t guarantee anything except that if I am given a chance, I will try to make a difference.  I realize this won’t be easy, but no one ever promised us that life would be easy.

Here are my topics of concern:  
  • We need term limits for our state and federally elected officials.
  • We need to have more local government control.
  • We need citizens to be more active, vocal and demanding of elected officials.
  • We need elected officials who care about the people – not about their own career or pensions.
  • We need to preserve and create jobs in Wisconsin.
  • We need to create and operate on balanced budgets.
  • We need to reduce government spending.
  • We should not be creating new fees, licenses or taxes.  
  • We need to get rid of the prevailing wage laws.
  • We need to eliminate and stop creating unfunded mandates.
  • We need to return to a government that is as Lincoln said, “of the people, by the people and FOR the people.”
  • We need to return to common sense and get rid of the Good ole’ boy groups who tell us they want to reach across the aisle or be more bi-partisan.
I am not running as a member of one of the Parties.  I am independent of their rules.
Independent thinking -  Independent decisions -  Not beholden to any party.

I would appreciate your consideration in the election.  But most importantly, PLEASE VOTE.

If you decide to vote for me, I will truly try to make a difference.