Scot Ross for Wisconsin’s Secretary of State – a sign I have yet to grace the lawns of Racine neighborhoods. Ross verses La Follett is what has been dubbed as the ‘sleeper race’ of this year’s election. Perhaps that is because it doesn’t get much press – at least in this part of the state. Also, many – dare I say – most people likely do not know what Secretary of State actually does. I was one of those people. So I decided to give Mr. Ross a call and simply ask him.
He was very open to speaking with me, just a regular Joe with no press pass or credentials. And I was very open with asking him what I wanted to know; not only so I could write about it and inform the public, but for my own voting decisions as well. I personally refuse to base my political voting choices solely on what we see in television commercials or hear on radio ads. They say you cannot believe everything you read and most of that seems to be fluff anyway. So, this brings me to my conversation with Candidate Scot Ross.
Even with my minimal research, it was clear that Voter ID was the issue that Ross held at the top of his priority list. His main goal is to make sure that elections in the state of Wisconsin are clean and fair. And he wants that responsibility to be back in the hands of the Secretary of State. He views requirements such as photo IDs as “impediments to voting that are in place because republicans want to keep people from voting.” When I questioned whether or not voter fraud truly existed to the extent that we are made to believe, he answered with the question, “Where are the examples?”
As Ross pointed out, there are many northern counties where the DMV is open merely one day a week. And for some counties, it is not just a five minute drive. He stated that issues like this are simply to “create distortion to get what they (republicans) want.”
Candidate Ross’ views on Voter ID have been widely discussed. However, I wanted to ask his opinions on some other topics.
While reading through Scot Ross’ website (http://www.rossacrosswisconsin.org/ ) I noticed something that I have not seen on any other candidates’ web sites, a link endorsing A Fair Wisconsin. A Fair Wisconsin is an organization implemented to fight the ban on marital unions for gay and lesbian couples in our state; a ban which will also be up for vote in November.
When I asked Scot about his endorsing the organization on his site he was proud to say that he believes he is the only candidate to have that link on their website and that he will personally be voting against the ban.
“There may be people who believe in their hearts that same sex marriage is wrong – they have that right. But it is a totally different thing when you are talking about people who are elected officials who are trying to manipulate with people’s rights and people’s lives in order to gain political advantage.”
Ross clearly stands by his belief that this ban is a ridiculous distraction that could only compromise the rights of not only the homosexual members of our society, but the heterosexual citizens as well. “It is a bunch of bunk” he exclaimed. “It is right wing politics to get the hard core republicans out to the polls.”
Scot Ross will be running against long time incumbent Doug La Follett. La Follett has held this position for thirty years and according to Ross there couldn’t be a greater difference in terms of results. “I challenge anyone to name three things that he (La Follett) has done as an elected official. I would be embarrassed if I were him.”
Ross wants to bring accountability back to this office. He wants the Secretary of state to be more than an elected filing clerk position. He claims that the authority of the Secretary of State was taken away several years ago, but (La Follett) has not fought to get it back. He will fight for that authority. He will fight for voter’s rights. And he is fighting for your vote in November.
I asked Mr. Ross if perhaps people in this state are simply apathetic to the world of politics. “I am one of those people who say ‘Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the people; but don’t over estimate their interest in politics’.” He went on to explain, “People have to work a lot harder and a lot longer because republicans are taking their money and giving it to their friends.” (When I asked about these friends he said he was referring to the oil companies, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers to name a few.) He said he completely understands why many people would rather spend time with their families during their off-time than spend it being politically active.
Scot Ross is no stranger to hard work. He grew up with hard working family members and has carried that characteristic with him through the years. At a young 37, Scot has worked for the people and has steadily followed the progressive path to improving our society through democratic values. He has worked side by side with political members for years and has now made the decision to step into the spot light. I have no doubt this will not be the last we hear of Scot Ross. And whether or not he defeats the incumbent in November’s election, his feet will likely be planted in Wisconsin for quite sometime. When I asked him who he viewed as our most hopeful Democratic presidential nominee he answered with a chuckle, “Yea, I’ll keep that to myself. Not me…how about that!?”