Meet Jim Sullivan, the Man that Can Heal the Great Divide

Blogging Blue did an interview with former Senator Jim Sullivan about why he chose to run for Milwaukee County Executive despite be voted out of office just three months ago.  (As an aside, kudos to Blogging Blue for doing interviews.  Bloggers should get in the habit of doing interviews if they are to be taken seriously.)

In the interview, Sullivan was quick to criticize then County Executive Scott Walker for so-called mismanagement - even though Walker left Milwaukee County in better shape from whence he found it.  Sullivan told Blogging Blue that a County Executive needs to work across party lines for solutions, and he referenced legislation he worked on that created more transparency on health care costs.

I find this interesting for two reasons.  First, Sullivan was recently quoted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for saying that Scott Walker and the County Board had some "weird symbiosis" where the County Board just rubber stamped what Walker wanted done.   Well which is it, Jim?  You say that a good County Executive is supposed to work across party lines, but ridicule the County Board for their cooperation with Scott Walker?  You say that being a County Executive requires a "collaborative effort" and not a "top-down mandate," yet you call Walker's collaboration with the County board rubber-stamping?

Sullivan went further to postulate that if the County Board had just bucked Walker a little more, he wouldn't be Wisconsin's Governor today.  Doesn't that sound like the same old politics of division?  Those don't sound like the words of a man willing to heal the great partisan divide. 

The second thing I find interesting is that in order to show true leadership, Sullivan provides an example of a bill he worked on that involved bipartisanship.  On the flip side, did Sullivan ever support bills that failed to pass due to political partisanship?   The answer is yes.

Sullivan supported a bill called "Healthy Wisconsin," that passed in the State Senate by a party-line vote, but it failed to pass in the State Assembly where there were more Republicans. Beside Healthy Wisconsin being - what would have been - the biggest tax increase in Wisconsin history, the sheer girth of the bill illustrated there is no situation or scenario where Sullivan would think massive spending would be unwise.  Apparently, the only thing Sullivan is willing to cut out of a budget is a ski hill.


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