Telegraph Herald Endorses Travis Tranel

Our opinion: Re-elect Tranel to Wisconsin House

BY THE TH EDITORIAL BOARD | Posted: Friday, October 19, 2012 12:00 am

Rep. Travis Tranel’s first term in the Wisconsin Assembly was anything but normal.

Armed police hustling legislators from their offices for protection isn’t business as usual in the Capitol. But Gov. Scott Walker’s measure to effectively end collective bargaining resulted in angry protesters descending upon Madison. Normalcy went out the window.

During that time of bitter partisanship, one might expect the rookies to keep quiet and follow the party leadership. But Tranel tried hard to stick to his principles while confronting what he considered a no-win situation — and he voted against the wishes of the governor, a fellow Republican.

Tranel’s performance as a freshman lawmaker during such a tumultuous period in Wisconsin politics is but one reason voters in District 49 should re-elect him to the state Assembly.

The good news for the people of southwest Wisconsin is that, no matter which candidate prevails on Tuesday, Nov. 6, Assembly District 49 will be represented by a thoughtful and principled lawmaker.

Democratic challenger Carol Beals brings government experience — as a Grant County supervisor — and leadership — as president of Wisconsin State Employees Union Local 1622 for the past 20 years and longtime chairwoman of the county’s Democratic Party.

Beals is knowledgeable and articulate and demonstrates a deep conviction for her beliefs. But in this divisive political landscape, it is hard to imagine this union leader working toward compromise in a bipartisan fashion on some key issues.

The Republican incumbent, Tranel speaks frankly about the challenges he faced as a freshman representative. While he agreed with Walker’s plan to have public employees contribute to their health care coverage and their pensions, he didn’t agree with the “shove-it-down-your-throat” approach. Tranel also wanted to include police and fire personnel in the collective bargaining legislation, which he says would have increased the state’s savings and allowed reforms to be phased in over time, which might have made them more palatable. Tranel was one of just four Republicans who voted against the bill.

In his goals for a second term, Tranel supports converting the state’s finances to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles from a cash accounting system, which he says would immediately help improve the state’s budget picture. Tranel introduced another budget-related measure that would create a “rainy day fund” for state government.

The TH Editorial Board endorsed Tranel in his unsuccessful bid for this seat in 2008, when he was just 23. We endorsed him again two years ago, when he defeated the incumbent. The enthusiasm and potential we saw in him is still there, and it is now backed with two years of experience.

Beals is a strong candidate, but Tranel still gets the nod for the best representative for District 49.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.