capitolMADISON - As I left the state capitol yesterday evening, I was thinking about how much I love my job: the service to my constituents, the participation in the legislative process, the great honor it is to work in the people’s house. At the same time, though, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of deep sadness for the substance of Governor Walker’s recently introduced budget. The blatant disregard this proposal shows toward the people of our state and Wisconsin's greatest traditions is shocking and upsetting.

Walker will have a page in the history books, but he will not be judged kindly. He will be seen as the Governor who turned his back on the conservation ethic of Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson, the Wisconsin Idea of Fighting Bob and Lee Dreyfuss, the ideal of an equal and integrated education of Lloyd Barbee and John Reynolds.

There is nothing constructive or forward-looking in his vision for our state, and, therefore, nothing lasting. Governor Walker will have the votes to pass this budget, of course, but the people of Wisconsin still have the opportunity to influence its crafting. In the wake of his destructive leadership - or in the course of it, really - it is our charge to own the task of rebuilding the state we love. It is within our capacity to honor our past and win our future, but these goals can only be accomplished if we all do our part today, tomorrow, and every day forward.

Throughout these next few months, I pledge to do everything I can to raise my voice in opposition to the policies I find damaging to the people of Wisconsin. I will also advance proposals that do justice to our proud, progressive heritage. I ask for and welcome your input and participation during this process and beyond. As always, please feel free to contact me with any and all concerns or questions.