This Just In ...

Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

When candidates come knocking at your door

It’s election time. Not a shocker. These days it’s always election time in Wisconsin.

That means candidates will soon be soliciting your votes at your front door.  In conservative areas like mine, candidates will automatically move to the right, claim they are to the right even if they’re not just to attain office, then rob you blind once they’ve secured the job.

A classic example in Franklin is David Works. Elected to the Franklin School Board with great promise a few years ago, he was subsequently booted out when he abandoned an initial fiscal responsibility philosophy. In denial, he’s running again. I would bet he’s telling people at the doors not to believe a word those bloggers are writing.

Thus, I provide a primer on what to expect, and what to ask when these candidates who someday might be working for you come knocking at the door.


It’s almost assured that every single one of the candidates will dust off this oldie: I believe that our school district should provide the best education possible for our children at a cost taxpayers can afford. Be ready it and then ask them what they mean and instruct them to be specific. This is no place for glittering generalities.

Ask the school board candidate if he/she thinks we pay too much, just enough, or not enough in school property taxes. If the candidate says just enough or not enough, thank for them for stopping and politely send them on their way.

Ask the candidate if he/she supports Governor Walker’s budget reforms, why or why not. This answer alone will be very enlightening and more than likely automatically tip you if the candidate gets your nod.

Ditto for this one:  Ask the candidate if he/she supports a referendum of any kind to spend on facilities or facility repairs in the school district.

Ask the candidate if he/she thinks Franklin students’ achievement is what it should be, especially for the property tax support given.

Ask the candidate if he/she is there to be a harmonious team player that gets along with everyone and shuns any confrontation or debate, or is an independent voice working on behalf of the taxpayers.

Ask the candidate if elected, does he/she work for the school superintendent or the taxpaying public.

Ask the candidate if he/she supports the concept of merit pay for teachers.

Beware of phony stock answers meant to persuade like, “It’s for the children,” and “Children are the future,” and “We must invest in our children.”  Your response: What does that mean?

Ask the candidate if he/she belongs to a union, which one, and who comes first according to that union.

If any candidate answers any of the above with a response that the candidate has not had enough time to study the issue but can get back to you, be very skeptical. In my view, that would be unacceptable.

Above all, be courteous and respectful.


Take a similar approach as with school board candidates.

Ask the candidate if he believes suburban taxpayers have paid too much to support other districts in Milwaukee County and have gotten little in return and what can/should be done about it.

Ask the candidate if any suburban municipal services/programs could/should be consolidated.

Ask the candidate if county taxes are too high, just right, or too low.

Ask the candidate that if a resident believes Milwaukee County taxes are too high, that resident should then be told rather forcefully to move the hell out of Milwaukee County.

Ask the candidate who’s right: Milwaukee County Executive Abele who cut sheriff’s deputies in his budget, or Sheriff Clarke who vehemently objected.

Ask the candidate if he supports Governor Walker’s budget reforms.

Ask the candidate if Milwaukee County should be in the airport/parks/golf course business. It’d be interesting to hear the response.

Ask the candidate who does a better job patrolling our lakefront: the Sheriff’s Department or the Milwaukee Police.

Ask the candidate what ideas he has to reduce taxing and spending at the county level.

Ask the candidate if he holds or has held public office. If the answer is yes, ask for what he has specifically proposed or done to implement tax and spending cuts. Ask him to return with specific records of budget proposals to support what he is saying.

Ask the candidate what he has done to bring jobs and economic growth to the area. If he responds that he created and/or served on a committee, politely end the conversation.

Ask the candidate if he has ever invited ethically-challenged and disgraced Milwaukee County Board Chairman Lee Holloway to a meeting in the district. If the answer is yes, send the candidate packing.

Again, be polite and respectful. Be highly aware of non-specific, glittering generalities. You want specific, direct answers. If the candidate appears nice and friendly, remember, you’re not voting for a friend. You’re voting for someone who will work for you and conduct your business.

Also, do not be fooled, persuaded, or influenced by any colorful brochure. Read it carefully, more than once, then do your homework, including reading blogs like this one.

In the end, vote for what’s best for you and your family’s pocketbook.

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