I would like to take a minute or two to explain a couple of things about my job. Specifically, one area in particular, politics.
Politics, like onions, have many layers, and I want to focus on one layer in particular.
I've been a news reporter/editor for over 10 years now, so this political season we are in or embarking on isn't my first rodeo.
It is my first as an editor, which, of course, means I have a lot of say on what goes in the paper and online.
However, over the years, in this business, you start to pick up habits and traits when it comes to political candidates on what they send.
Some candidates do a great job of sending out press releases or weekly columns on issues that are important to them. Then, there are others who only send out emails every two weeks or so, saying why I voted for this bill, or I'm going to continue to fight so western Wisconsin will get xxxxx.
When I interviewed for this job, I wasn't given too many rules by my boss except for one: steer clear of national politics as much as you can. When it comes to politics, your role is local and state government and if Washington D.C. does affect the Baldwin area, then report it.
Wisconsin is represented in the U.S. Senate by Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Republican Ron Johnson. Since the beginning of the month, Baldwin's press office has emailed me between 15-20 press releases, mainly dealing with calling on the Senate to do this or President Trump to do that in regards to helping Wisconsinites with COVID-19.
Based off reading those, I've made the decision not to put those in the paper or online, because they are mainly hopes and wishes and nothing of result.
Since Sean Duffy's resignation in the United States House of Representatives last September, the Baldwin area has gone without representation in that branch.
However, a potential replacement for Duffy's seat has appeared in Baldwin twice since February -- Tricia Zunker, the Democratic nominee on the May 12 special election ballot.
What am I going to do? Not highlight or report on her appearances? Wouldn't be doing my job, that's for sure. Tom Tiffany, her Republican opponent, hasn't sniffed the Baldwin area, since I started.
The Baldwin area has had no appearances from Gov. Tony Evers since I started. At the same time, he's made plenty of news since COVID-19 came into our lives and those decisions have affected St. Croix County, so that's an open-and-close debate.
Which leads us to the local representatives currently -- Senator Patty Schachtner and Representative Rob Stafsholt.
I feel being the state senator carries a bit of distinction. or importance, so if I get a column from her, it's going in. I can remember when Sheila Harsdorf held the position at my previous job, an opinion column from her was also guaranteed to get published.
However, do I publish every thing I get from her? Within the last month, I can recall a press release with her thoughts on the first COVID-19 case in St. Croix County and how she voted on a COVID-19 bill.
Stafsholt's office doesn't send out press releases to the frequency that Schachtner's office has done in my time. When Stafsholt said he helped draft legislation to secure an additional Judge for Dunn County, that ran. When his bills about military salute and suicide prevention were signed into law, those releases ran. Matter of fact, when he announced he was running for Schachtner's seat in November and leaving his Assembly seat, that story ran on the front page.
In addition, the three Republican candidates who have announced they are running for Stafsholt's seat all have had their stories on the front page of the Bulletin, including this week in Menomonie native Clint Moses.
Hopefully, this explains what I've done over the last six months and going forward heading into November. I knew early on in this business, you're not going to please everyone, but at least you hope they understand and respect it.