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 baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Just how newsworthy is up for debate.
Two new aldermen who knocked off incumbents, then survived recounts were sworn in.
The Common Council then elected a new Council President and it happens to be one of the newly-elected aldermen.
Every Franklin blogger is observing that “it’s a new day,” or that there’s going to be change, or that new faces will have an impact.
Every Franklin blogger is making such commentary except me.
Quite frankly, I don’t see it, and if someone would like to share specifics as to what in the world they mean instead of generalities and platitudes, I’d love to hear it.
Please don’t misunderstand. I wish Kristen Wilhelm and Steve Taylor all the best. I know they will give it their all and work hard.
But this talk of the election results bringing “a new day” implies all sunshine and roses ahead. It also dismisses the work of the previous Council that deserves much credit for restoring honor, civility, and decorum to City Hall politics.
We have two new aldermen and the “experts” pontificate that suddenly it’s all peaches and cream in Franklin. We also have two new School Board members. Yet no one is equating those election results to “a new day,” are they?
Earlier this week, Steve Taylor was elected Common Council President shortly after being sworn in as alderman.
I believe this was a mistake.
Before I am misquoted and misinterpreted, I reiterate that I think Alderman Taylor will work hard and represent his district well.
However, the guy was only in office for what, 15, 20 minutes? And he’s made Council President? That rarely happens in local politics. Seems to me he should have earned his stripes and developed some experience on this particular Council.
Make no mistake about it. Some have pooh-poohed the notion of being Council President. If something should happen (God forbid) to Mayor Taylor, Alderman Taylor steps right in.
Alderman Taylor replaces Lyle Sohns as President. Sohns was characterized in another blogger’s post as somewhat of a sore loser. Sohns tells me he’s disappointed, of course, but is proud of his tenure as President and is confident Taylor will do a great job. That doesn’t sound like sour grapes to me.
Something else happened the other night at the Common Council meeting that I find very interesting.
Outgoing alderman Pete Kosovich gave a rather heartfelt final speech before turning over the reins to Steve Taylor. Other bloggers focused on his Terminator-like line, “I’ll be back.” But there was more to his brief speech that, I am told, got a tremendous response at the meeting as people stood and cheered.
For the record, some observers are trying to re-write local history and Kosovich’s role in that history. Kosovich made it a point during his campaign that he came into office because of his district’s disdain for former alderman Basil Ryan. You can argue how effective that ploy was as a campaign tactic, but Kosovich is absolutely right. There is a foolish mindset on the part of some that the group, Franklin Citizens for Responsible Leadership (FCRL) was formulated to take over local government. That is simply not true.
The group wanted to restore decorum and credibility to the Common Council. It felt it could do so by removing one alderman deemed to be causing all the trouble and then get on with the business of building the city while controlling taxing and spending.
A few minority voices, who normally clamor for more participation in government, are now popping champagne corks that this group has been disbanded. But before it was, its involvement changed local politics for the better.
Pete Kosovich has supplied me with the entire text of the speech he delivered at the Common Council meeting this week:
Concession Speech by Pete Kosovich
Each time we begin a meeting, we say the Pledge of Allegiance, & I think how proud I am to be an American. I think of how America is a land of opportunity where people can make a better life for themselves through hard, honest work. I think of how God has blessed this country with its freedoms, and how God has blessed me personally.
I am a strong believer in God. I believe he has a plan for all of us. I can look back on my life’s experiences, and make sense of it. In 2002 I became involved in a local business’s effort to expand his business. Things didn’t work out for him, but he told me of a group that was organizing a recall effort, and that I should be Alderman.
I walked into a room full of strangers and said Mohie sent me, he said I should be Alderman. Nobody laughed out loud, but I can only imagine what some were thinking. Who’s this guy? Is he going to take on Basil Ryan? I didn’t know where it would lead, but I was able to gain the confidence of the leaders, and the rest is history. Later, I was able to say God put me in that place at that time, with that group, to accomplish that task.
I have had the privilege of serving my community for 4 ½ years. I have learned a lot, and made a lot of friends. I have earned a place in Franklin’s history during turbulent times, and helped to restore order, honor, and a sense of community pride. I have grown to love this community more & more, and to appreciate the citizens and their caring & involvement in their community.
Last summer, Mayor Taylor had asked me if I had met or heard about Steve Taylor, I hadn’t. In December, Steve filed papers to run for Alderman in the 4th District. That weekend I collected signatures for my nomination papers to run for re-election. After I had collected enough signatures, I went to Steve’s house and met him. We talked for an hour and a half, I liked him, even to the point that I said to him that if he won, I would feel comfortable with him as my Alderman.
We both ran clean campaigns, and worked hard to get out the vote. We had a great turnout. With 1472 votes cast, Steve won by 10 votes. I feel we have become good friends over the last 4 months. We spent most of election day together in front of the sports complex welcoming voters like Wal-mart greeters. We even went to lunch together, to discuss the future of Franklin.
Tuesday evening, when the counts came in after 11PM, I was shocked & depressed as were others. On Wednesday I was wondering what went wrong. Thursday, I was pumped up and ready for the next round. As close as it was I did request a recount, I had to know for sure. The recount process was very interesting. Sandi Wesolowski & staff handled it professionally and efficiently. After the final results were in, I resigned myself to the belief that it was God’s plan. It was Steve’s turn to serve.
I am strongly endorsing Steve Taylor and ask my friends and staff to co-operate with him as they did with me. I will help him where I can to make this transition as smooth as possible.
I want to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, the city staff and the residents of Franklin. I will not abandon the city I love. I am proud to call Franklin my home. I have already submitted an application to serve the citizens as a volunteer to some committees. I stated earlier that I believe God has a plan for me. In the words of the Arnold Schwarzenegger… “I’ll be back.”
One of the reasons I decided to post this speech in its entirety is that I believe Pete Kosovich took some undeserved shots publicly from local bloggers who made unfounded accusations about his campaign tactics and motives. It's clear to me Pete Kosovich is an individual worthy of our respect who left office with class and dignity.
As for the "new" Common Council, I will be fair in that they just got started. But fairness would indicate that it's far too premature to be pinning medals on anybody. They haven't done anything yet.
That's why I don't see any evidence of this being " a new day" in Franklin. If you don't mind, I'd rather wait for concrete evidence and results.
I could, I suppose, look to my idol, that great philosopher to help me grasp what some of my starry-eyed colleagues see that I don't......