Manske to run for district attorney
A third candidate announced he would run this fall to become Winnebago County District Attorney.
Oshkosh lawyer Joseph J. Manske announced his intentions to run as a Democrat in the race for the seat now held by William Lennon. Lennon announced he would not seek re-election.
Manske is currently a private attorney representing clients in both civil and criminal cases. He also has some experience in prosecution through the Outagamie County District Attorney’s Office.
Manske through a press release said he intends to concentrate on communication both with victims and those being prosecuted.
TOPEKA, Kan. - The former chairman of the Kansas Republican Party jumped ship in a big way Tuesday, switching his affiliation to Democrat amid speculation that he would become Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' running mate.
Johnson County Elections Commissioner Brian Newby confirmed that Mark Parkinson, the state GOP chairman from 1999 to 2003, came to the office and switched his party affiliation shortly before noon.
Parkinson's name has been widely circulated as Sebelius' choice for a running mate as the Democratic governor seeks a second term. Current Lt. Gov. John Moore — another former Republican — is retiring when his term expires in early 2007.
Sebelius spokeswoman, Nicole Corcoran, would not comment about Parkinson, but said an announcement of the governor's choice of running mates was scheduled Wednesday not far from Parkinson's home in Olathe, a Kansas City suburb.
"Traditionally, you do see that the first stop would be in or around that person's home base. It would be safe to assume that she would be choosing someone from the Johnson County area," Corcoran said.
Parkinson didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.
Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison also switched parties from Republican to Democrat to challenge Attorney General Phill Kline, a Republican, in the November election.
Republican House Speaker Doug Mays said he was disgusted by Parkinson's lack of loyalty to the party that made him chairman, but he isn't surprised by the rift.
The Republican Party, which has dominated Kansas politics since statehood, has shifted to the right in recent years and it inevitably will shift back to the left, he said. Instead of defecting to challenge one another, though, Republicans need to find common ground, he said.
In a country that spends so much time extolling the glories of democracy, it's amazing how many elected officials go out of their way to discourage voting. States are adopting rules that make it hard, and financially perilous, for nonpartisan groups to register new voters. They have adopted new rules for maintaining voter rolls that are likely to throw off many eligible voters, and they are imposing unnecessarily tough ID requirements.
Florida recently reached a new low when it actually bullied the League of Women Voters into stopping its voter registration efforts in the state. The Legislature did this by adopting a law that seems intended to scare away anyone who wants to run a voter registration drive. Since registration drives are particularly important for bringing poor people, minority groups and less educated voters into the process, the law appears to be designed to keep such people from voting.
It imposes fines of $250 for every voter registration form that a group files more than 10 days after it is collected, and $5,000 for every form that is not submitted — even if it is because of events beyond anyone's control, like a hurricane. The Florida League of Women Voters, which is suing to block the new rules, has decided it cannot afford to keep registering new voters in the state as it has done for 67 years. If a volunteer lost just 16 forms in a flood, or handed in a stack of forms a day late, the group's entire annual budget could be put at risk.
In Washington, a new law prevents people from voting if the secretary of state fails to match the information on their registration form with government databases. There are many reasons that names, Social Security numbers and other data may not match, including typing mistakes. The state is supposed to contact people whose data does not match, but the process is too tilted against voters.
Congress is considering a terrible voter ID requirement as part of the immigration reform bill. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, introduced an amendment to require all voters to present a federally mandated photo ID. Even people who have been voting for years would need to get a new ID to vote in 2008. Millions of people without drivers' licenses, including many elderly people and city residents, might fail to do so, and be ineligible to vote. The amendment has been blocked so far, but voting-rights advocates worry that it could reappear.
These three techniques — discouraging registration drives, purging eligible voters and imposing unreasonable ID requirements — keep showing up.
Colorado recently imposed criminal penalties on volunteers who slip up in registration drives. Georgia, one of several states to adopt harsh new voter ID laws, had its law struck down by a federal court.
Protecting the integrity of voting is important, but many of these rules seem motivated by a partisan desire to suppress the vote, and particular kinds of voters, rather than to make sure that those who are entitled to vote — and only those who are entitled — do so. The right to vote is fundamental, and Congress and state legislatures should not pass laws that put an unnecessary burden on it. If they do, courts should strike them down.
Gard said his job is to "turn off the television news" and "stay focused" on his own campaign.
Speaking to the Republican faithful the other day, John Gard tried to rev up the crowd.
"This is a convention, right? Not a funeral, right?" said the Assembly speaker, who is running for Congress.
It was just a warm-up line, but it captured something in the Republican mood, with President Bush slumping, war and gas prices eating at voters and the party's conservative base upset over immigration and spending.
"I think enthusiasm is down," Marc Savard, the party chairman for Door County, said of rank-and-file conservatives. "People are frustrated."
Today, it's not hard to find Bush voters with the second-term blues.
"I'm disappointed. I thought he seemed to be a pretty strong leader. I think he's sending mixed messages, and he's not getting it done," said Judy Diedrich of Kaukauna.
In conversations here, the concerns and complaints bubble up. It's a list that pollsters can recite in their sleep: the cost of health care, the price of gas, the holes in the border, the course of the war.
When a reporter went knocking on doors in the district with Gard one day and Democratic state Rep. Tom Nelson on another, health care came up in nearly every conversation.
Andrew Neumeyer remembers seeing life drain from the face of fellow soldier Andrew Wallace.
Neumeyer was cradling the mortally wounded Ripon man — a fellow member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, based in Appleton — after a roadside bomb struck Wallace's Humvee near Basra, Iraq.
Wallace's blood ran into the desert sand.
"I held him for a half-hour before he died. To me, it seemed like an eternity," said Neumeyer, 26, of Neenah. "I was giving him water. He said to tell his wife, Angela, that he loved her. I did.
"In the end, we were communicating by blinks of the eye."
Four months later, the compassionate eyes that bade Wallace goodbye were all but torn from Neumeyer when another roadside bomb sprayed shrapnel into his Humvee.
Metal shards destroyed his right eye, and severely impaired vision in his left eye. And the blast fractured his skull.
Despite his horrific injuries and the emotional trauma of witnessing Wallace's final moments, Neumeyer is upbeat and focused, ready to face the rest of his life, including his planned marriage in December.