A radical opinion? Not if you're Jennifer Morales. We'll get to this in a bit.
This week, former MPS Board member Jennifer Morales filed to run for the 8th District aldermanic seat - a seat long held by Alderman Bob Donovan. Morales admits it won't be easy to unseat Donovan, but she promises to offer a new vision and a "style of leadership that's inclusive and not divisive."
Typically, when a politician promotes a new or bold vision, it's because they want to shift attention from their public service record. We saw this with Barack Obama's bold promises of change against the political backdrop of a more experienced congressional veteran like John McCain. Obama's campaign knew experience was McCain's strong suit, so he found a running mate with longtime experience and promoted a new brand of leadership - something newer and better than the cowboy President from Texas whose name we still dare not mention.
Let's face it, Alderman Donovan doesn't need to talk up a new vision because he's made a career of actually doing something. His record in the community, his commitment to his constituents, and his responsiveness to their concerns have made him an attractive candidate for reelection. Donovan is by no means an easy target; and Morales isn't exactly a new kind of leader.
In a recent statement to the media, Morales said that her leadership would be "inclusive and not divisive." That's a remarkable sentiment considering her recent role in a public protest - engineered by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) - at an elementary school where Governor Scott Walker was scheduled to speak. Morales joined protesters because she "wanted a chance to yell at the governor." And she candidly told a local newspaper that Governor Walker "has no business being around children."
Apparently, being inclusive means including everyone except Governor Walker. And not being divisive means protesting an elementary school for a chance to yell at your Governor. Someone should ask Morales if yelling at the Governor actually changed things for the better, or if it instilled in our children a profound respect for their political leaders. Because this was a major reason Governor Walker was invited to Messmer in the first place, to teach them the importance of education and a respect for political leadership.
One has to wonder if Morales' new vision is about protesting schools where 85% of their students go on to college to live meaningful and productive lives? Morales' attendance at the Messmer School protest was further marred by vandalism and battery suggesting that she was either on the wrong side of the issue or at the very least came with the wrong people.
The night prior to the protest, a vandal super-glued shut eight doors at the school in an attempt to restrict entrance into the building. Incidentally, there was also a report of battery. As if it doesn't need to be emphasized, this is a place where children go to learn. Much like protesting the Special Olympics, protesting an elementary school is beyond the pale and only shows how radical the opposition is. Perhaps it shows how radical Jennifer Morales is?
As a former MPS Board member, Morales' attendance at the Messmer protest is disheartening. Messmer Preparatory Catholic School is a participant in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) - a program recently expanded by the State Legislature amid vehement opposition by teachers' unions. Expanding MPCP may not be the sort of education reform that Morales wants to see, but why deny poor children - many of whom are Hispanic - an opportunity to learn at good private schools like Messmer?
Perhaps Morales' new vision of leadership includes using children as political pawns in a public debate over school choice, or perhaps she's just looking for some street cred to stay relevant against an opponent who actually gets things done. By saying that her new vision is one of inclusion and one opposed to divisiveness, we think Morales protesteth too much.