Our last post on District 8 read like a piece from Slate or The Atlantic, but it was important to flesh out early campaign issues. While we are critical of some media coverage and Christian Hansen’s campaign team and tactics, perhaps worse is his policy agenda.
1. Hansen and Dedering did not do their homework before deciding District 8 was a good place to run for local office.
The basic burden on a candidate is to know what jurisdiction your prospective office holds. If someone running for Mayor wanted to mobilize the national guard or sign a treaty with China, they would be laughed out of the room. At the hyper-local level, it’s the same deal. Among other things, Hansen and Dedering suggest:
Fully fund our public schools, reduce class sizes, and support students at all achievement levels.
It’s called the school board. They are having elections. Why did you run for City Council?
Work with allies to legalize marijuana.
Dedering already ran for state assembly. Confusion? (Ignoring the 1,000 other problems with such an open-ended, vague “proposal”)
Reduce bus fares and increase access to ‘Saferide’ services.
These are policies totally unrelated to the work of an Alder on the Madison Common Council. I think it’s sad after six years of great leadership by Eli Judge, Bryon Eagon, and Scott Resnick, that we still have people running on platforms that somewhat read like an ASM candidate. Years of serious public policy work establishes a bar somewhere higher than “is the candidate running on agenda items that are actually handled by the office?”
2. Hansen and Dedering forgot the unions.
First, some context: Scott Resnick won the endorsement from the South Central Federation of Labor. This is notable because Kyle Szarzynski won their endorsement last year. Presumably, Hansen and Dedering will pick off some of the more leftist-leaning unions in the coming weeks (as all PD candidates do every election cycle), but losing the Szarzynski-backed SCFL is just another hint that Hansen and Dedering are not being taken seriously.
But it gets worse: they forgot to include unions anywhere in their policy agenda. Not a single mention. Look at the page (before it’s edited). And when given another chance, Hansen and Dedering ignore unions on their appeal for donations:
Through direct community engagement we can make Madison a leader in green jobs, tenant rights, and effective public transportation for everyone. Please contribute what you can today!
- Stop abusive landlords.
- Reduce bus fares to meet student and workers needs.
- Increase access to safe-ride.
- Work with allies on the State and County level to legalize marijuana.
- Stop city investments in the use of invasive police drones
- Develop a Homeless Bill of Rights and special camping permit process and provide self-sustaining permanent housing options through a cooperative housing model.
- End the gridlock over Lakeshore Path lighting.
Paid for and authorized by Voters for Christian Hansen, Abigail Huber, Treasurer.
In fact, the only time Hansen mentions unions on his website is a single December 18th, 2012 blog post. Being charitable, he does call unions, “important than ever before,” but our point is not that Hansen is against unions. Rather, Hansen and Dedering do not take unions seriously enough to make them a part of the campaign’s policy agenda. And as evidenced by the SCFL, they’re losing union support. This is directly contrasted with the former PD candidate Kyle Szarzynski who made union rights a centerpiece of his campaign with a (legal arguments aside) proposal to make union members a “protected class.”
In contrast to Hansen and Dedering, Resnick makes his position very clear on the campaign policy page:
Unions and Collective Bargaining
My mother is a unionized employee, and throughout the last two years I have experienced first-hand the impact of state collective bargaining decisions. I firmly believe the best employment contracts are created from both management and labor working together, side-by-side. The reality is that without the snow plow drivers, painters, police officers, and hundreds of other city employees, Madison would not function. I believe it is the best for the city for the council to have an open and working relationship with bargaining units, as well as come to key decisions on wages, insurance, and benefits together.
On the council I have always been willing to talk to union leaders and have thought of staff first. This is particularly true with Overture Center employees, who gave up their union benefits to save the arts center. No employee goes unnoticed with me.
Even Dedering’s failed Assembly campaign website explicitly mentions union-related policies:
Acts of economic austerity are a threat to the upward mobility of the middle class.
Collective bargaining rights should be reinstated.
Independent arbitration rights in public labor negotiations should be reinstated.
Democracy belongs in the workplace.
But this time, Hansen and Dedering forgot.
They didn’t do their homework and they surely are not zealous supporters of unions. It’s as if Hansen and Dedering one day decided District 8 was a great place to try and run a political campaign. Let the other important stuff – policies – get figured out later.