Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner, "representing" the 5th Congressional District, has one of the most "NO"-heavy records in the House. (Link to his voting record: Sensenbrenner's Voting Record) First elected in 1978, he has been saying "NO" to almost everything worthwhile since then without having to fight very hard for re-election. That might well change this year.
Todd Kolosso is mounting what is shaping up to be the most effective challenge to this paper company fortune heir in years. I was fortunate enough to attend a "get-to-know-the-candidate" house meeting not long ago and left impressed not only with his ideas, personality and communication style, but with his potential power as a candidate, a campaigner and U.S. Representative.
More over the break . . .
The Wisconsin 5th District is mostly very conservative, but is undergoing some changes. In addition, a substantial number of influential Republicans have had it with Sensenbrenner and understand how Kolosso would better serve the district, even for them as Republicans. This is not because Kolosso is a "light" Democrat, which he not. At the house meeting, he handled all the hard questions thoughtfully, demonstrating strong, clear progressive positions that seemed to be based on his own thoughts, experience and education (BA in International Relations from American University), not a script of expected responses. I was especially impressed with his discussion of immigration issues.
But one of Kolosso's strongest assets as a candidate in this district is his experience and current status as a small businessman in a conservative town. He has credibility in the business community that should provide a strong network of support from quarters often less receptive to Democrats. In addition, Kolosso grew up in a very small town in the district, so he has strong roots. (Coincidentally, three important Wisconsin field organizing staff members for the Obama campaign were from the same very small town.)
While Wisconsin has a long history as a progressive state, Wisconsin's 5th CD (where I live) has some very conservative towns and counties (including the ones I live in.) It gets to feeling lonely, politically, sometimes, though working on the Obama campaign showed me there are more progressives right here than I thought. And there are significant portions of the 5th that are progressive and Democratic.
Do you live in Wisconsin's 5th? Or maybe you're just a Wisconsinite. Or maybe you'd just like to see less "NO" and more "YES" in the next congress. This would be a huge turnaround, since Sensenbrenner has lots of power based on his seniority. Early campaign donations are the most powerful. You can learn more about Todd Kolosso at his website: http://kolossoforcongress.com/ You can donate there or through a Kos-centric ActBlue page, here: WisKos for Kolosso
I plan to be on board with this campaign and hope to meet some other Wisconsin 5th CD Democrats on the campaign trail.