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Letter to the editor

Candidate spirit offers a gratifying tone in politics

April 27, 2012

I’m writing in support of Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout in the race for governor. I first met Vinehout a few years ago when she co-sponsored the Healthy Wisconsin bill, which would have provided affordable health care coverage to everyone in our state. Unfortunately, that bill did not pass the legislature, and Wisconsin missed its chance to put in place a truly effective (and cost-effective) program that would have led the nation.

Vinehout is a true advocate for the people, as passionatein her pursuit of fairness and justice as the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. (Those who have not yet heard her speak can find several examples of her stirring eloquence on Youtube.)

Vinehout genuinely likes and cares about her constitu- ents, and has the potential to become one of the best-loved governors in Wisconsin’s history. While capable of tough-minded policymaking, she displays the warmth, compassion and people skills needed to repair the economic and social damage inflicted by the reckless Walker administration.

In a memorable address this past Labor Day in Eau Claire, Vinehout corrected Walker’s narrow slogan “Open for Business” to the more generous and inclusive “Open for Everyone.” That is the spirit we desperately need to regain after a year and a half of divisive political warfare.

No matter which side of the partisan divide we stand on, we should consider that unless someone willing and able to restore open and transparent government in Wisconsin wins the governor’s seat, our bitterness and acrimony will only deepen.

I believe that Vinehout is the candidate with sufficient good will, intelligence, integrity and energy to bring us together again as a state and as a people. I will vote for her in the May 8 primary.

Thomas R. Smith
River Falls, Wis.