Dear Senator Kapanke

Dear Senator Kapanke,

I urge you to vote no on the Budget Repair Bill as it will be detrimental to public education in Wisconsin. I am principal of Northern Hills Elementary School in Onalaska and you have visited my school two times in the past few years–first as a guest presenter to my 4th graders learning about government, and then as a guest announcer during Teacher Appreciation Week. I appreciated you taking the time to visit my school and encouraging the students and staff to continue all the hard work they do for our community.  I’m also a frequent attendee at Logger games in the summer with my wife and two kids and have chatted with you at the field.  I know you are a man who cares about our community and the future of our state and country.

I have many concerns about this bill, but what I see as most problematic is stripping the collective bargaining rights of our staff.  Being an administrator, I am not a union member, but I value the strong and positive relationships we have in Onalaska among the School Board, administrative team, and the unions who represent a large majority of our staff.  We do things the right way in Onalaska and have not had problems working with our unions to ensure that all of our students receive an excellent education.  It is a true partnership that strengthens the integrity of our schools. As the economy has struggled across the country, our union groups have recognized this and worked with our Board to ratify contracts that work within our budget to provide the kind of services to our students and families that meet their high expectations for learning and citizenry.

I’m sure there are problems in other parts of the state where unions and administration battle over many issues that take the focus away from the students.  This is not the case in Onalaska, and I can’t imagine why our governmental leaders would consider a bill that would punish everyone for the problems of a few.  This would be equivalent to punishing a whole class of students because of the poor behavior of a few who don’t do the right thing.  Our teachers and staff don’t do this to our students, so our governmental leadership shouldn’t do this to our employees.

Taking away collective bargaining rights from our staff, while allowing other public groups to keep theirs, is a very disheartening thought. Teachers, secretaries, educational assistants, custodians, and nutrition workers deserve the benefit of the doubt and appreciation.  The Budget Repair Bill does the opposite.  It assumes all of these groups are to blame for economic woes in the state and that they don’t work and bargain in the best interest of students.

I typically vote Democratic in elections, but I’ve always voted for you because of your reputation for listening to your constituents, for making decisions that are in the best interest of your community, and for staying away from partisan politics.

Please vote no on the Budget Repair Bill.


Curt Rees

La Crosse, WI

8 thoughts on “Dear Senator Kapanke

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Dear Senator Kapanke | I know this much is true. --

  2. Very well stated. I think a lot of people who reside in the La Crosse area, are watching closely to see how our Senator votes. We all want a representative who hears the people. Dan Kapanke has always prided himself on meeting with his constituents and listening to what they have to say. I am hoping this issue will not be the exception. Please don’t set us back 50 years, and wipe out all the progress that has been made in labor relations.

  3. I wasn’t in attendance at the rally at Riverside Park on Tuesday night, but I know that Senator Kapanke came to La Crosse to attend and hear people’s concerns. It wasn’t the most receptive audience due to the news coming from Madison, but I give him credit for listening.

  4. Senator Kapanke =Please stand with the middle class people of Wisconsin and go against this bill which will destroy all rights of hard working Wisconsin residents. I am retired and age 81 and the governor’s plan to invade the Wis REtirement plan that my husband is receiving, age 89, will zap our livelihood. This is unfair and its unfair to treat teachers and public service employees in this manner. Our whole family is in education and public service and always proud to be responsible for educating the children of our state, but this is ludicrous on his part and I urge you to listen to the people who voted for you and vote against this bill.

  5. Mr Kapanke: I am very disappointed to learn you are planning on voting for this bill and standing by the governor. Please stand up for the people who put you in office and vote AGAINST this bill which will jeopardise the public school system in his plan to undermine the very system that educates our young people and prepares them for public service. My whole family is in education and public service. I am 81 and retired and my husband who is 89, was a public service employee receiving retirement from the WRS. I understand Walker is planning to revamp the system so there will not be a WRS as we know it. Teachers and public service employees have conceded to his demands on Insurance, retirement and wage reduction to assist in the budget crisis. Why not increase the sales tax by 1% which would put millions back into the Treasury instead of taking away their rights to collective bargaining. I feel this is very unfair and I urge you to vote against this bill.

  6. I just found this – can’t figure out why I’ve never stumbled on it before. Excellent letter, Curt. He’s a goner now. Hope we’ve heard the last from him. Like the music too.

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