Responses to a questionnaire received from Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Tell us about you and what motivated you to run for elected office?
My family and I moved to La Crosse from Madison in 2010 when I joined the medical staff at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center to practice pediatric critical care. I retired from medical practice in 2019 and ran in the WI 3rd Congressional District Democrat Primary in 2020. I advocated for more conversation around progressive issues in that campaign, specifically single payer public healthcare financing, aggressive response to the reality of climate change, demilitarization of international diplomatic relations and policy changes to counteract the anti-democratic effect of the growing disparity of wealth and power within our citizenry.
Now retired from medical practice I remain committed to service and a desire to strengthen our democratic tradition of governance. I believe that local government works best when we remember that we are all neighbors and that we need each other’s respect. By caring for one another’s wellbeing, we make our place to live the best that it can be for everyone.
What will be your top priority(s) if elected?
My priority is for every person of our southside La Crosse neighborhoods (13th Aldermanic District) to know that I have the time and commitment to hear and learn about their concerns. No matter what the issues, whether for community safety, property protection or economic opportunity, I am committed to knowing their perspectives and thoughts, and I will carry their message to the halls of local government. I will work for healthy and vibrant city government so we will all feel that our town is the best place to live and care for our families.
How do you see yourself as part of an overall political movement to build power to advance an agenda of economic, social, and racial justice?
I believe that human beings are all gifted with internal moral tendencies that are intrinsic to their personhood. These tendencies range from a preference for an authoritarian (ontological) frame to a preference for a self-realization (teleological) frame when it comes to deciding what is a right choice. I know that I have a personal preference for the more teleological frame, and I am comfortable in the presence of others with this kind of progressive approach to the creation and sustenance of governance. At the same time, I realize that I also have a strong tendency for disfavoring an “us-against-them” kind of political discourse. So, I feel comfortable learning from others who have a tendency for a more authoritarian approach to choosing what is right. I believe that political battles are never truly won or lost; they are just moved. True power in the political arena comes from discovering the consensus with others that allows us to collaborate on solutions so that we can carry forward together. Our ultimate shared goal is to transmit our life and its improvement on to all those who will follow us.
Have you ever participated in a candidate or campaign training program? If so, which program(s), and when?
I have made a commitment in my life to working for and contributing to healthy political action for the preservation of democracy. Over the past four years I have learned continuously from reading, study, discussion, participation, and action. I identify myself as politically engaged and expect this self-identity to continue for the years I have remaining to live. I was the La Crosse County organizer for Mike McCabe’s gubernatorial campaign in 2017-2018. I issue campaigned for Medicare for All in 2019, and I primary campaigned as a candidate in 2019-2020. Through these experiences I have learned much and continue to learn. As a physician I knew the importance of continuous learning in that profession, and I remain open to opportunities for continuous learning (training opportunities) in my new engagement as a political activist.
If elected, will you be willing to co-govern with Citizen Action leaders and members to accomplish our shared agenda?
Yes, I agree with the progressive ideas of the WI Citizen Action platform, and I will frequently advocate for progressive ideas when engaging in political conversation.
From which organizations/associations/elected officials/individuals are you seeking, or have you received an endorsement?
The most important endorsement that I seek is from my neighbors who live in the La Crosse 13th Aldermanic District (I plan to visit as many doors as I can). I would like to have the endorsement of the La Crosse Professional Police Supervisors & Non-Supervisors Association. I am happy to enjoy the informal encouragement of my immediate predecessor to the elected office that I now seek. I believe that I enjoy the endorsement (and support) of the local OWR group in La Crosse.
How do you plan to win your election?
I will strive to make myself known to as many people as I can in the Aldermanic District that I propose to represent. I will strive to learn as much as I can about their concerns. I will encourage all to vote in the Spring Election.
What does voter outreach look like for your campaign?
I have decided that direct personal contact will be more fruitful than expending energy and resources on social media and/or ads.
How much money do you think you need to raise to win?
At this point I am hoping to mostly self-finance this campaign. An eventual direct mailing could be the biggest expenditure. I have not yet decided on a plan for yard signs.
These next questions relate to the Citizen Action’s Platform.
Please provide your overall reaction to Citizen Action’s new long term progressive agenda outlined in our platform.
I believe and concur with Paul Wellstone when he said, “We all do better when we all do better.” Human beings are social creatures. Our survival skills as social creatures have led to our dominance (and endangerment) of life on planet Earth. Our future (and the future of all life) on planet Earth depends more than ever on our ability to collaborate and thrive together.
Do you support the vision and policies outlined in the CA platform’s World Class Education for Everyone section?
In our 21st Century society education from birth to grave becomes more important than in any other age of human history. We need to take on this challenge as a central communal effort for our generation and the generations to follow.
Do you support the vision and policies outlined in the CA platform’s Healthcare section?
Healthcare effectiveness and success is an intrinsic human concern of all ages. Today, in 21st Century America, healthcare services must become recognized as a shared and communal responsibility. We desperately need to move beyond the conceptualization of commoditized healthcare services that can be bought and sold for short sighted profit.
Do you support the vision and policies outlined in the CA platform’s Just, Sustainable, and Prosperous Economy section?
The open frontier attitude that there are always more resources to be exploited beyond the next horizon is deathly for our future. We need to explore, not the horizon, but the space between essential wealth (necessary for human happiness and thriving beyond just surviving) and exploitative wealth (that cannot be sustained). It is in this middle space that we will find a just, sustainable, and prosperous economy to hand on to next generations.
Do you support the vision and policies outlined in the CA platform’s Environment section?
We need to go beyond our belief in and reverence for private property and personal ownership. This is a problem for our American brand of democracy that found its birth in the enlightenment dreams and ideas of elite property-owning white guys. (Even to the point of not undermining their ownership of other persons as property.) Our political predecessors fought a war over the non-right to own persons. We have struggled with our conversion from that original sin (our history of chattel slavery) to this day. It would be better for us to learn from the traditions of folks who inhabited current day American lands before Europeans arrived with their high flouting enlightenment ideas. The environment within which we live does not really belong to all of us. It rather belongs to no one. And we all share the responsibility to care for it for the seventh generation (and beyond) that will follow us in our footsteps.
Do you support the vision and policies outlined in the CA platform’s Justice System Reform section?
We need to take a good long look at the cruelty imposed by the American War on Drugs that finds its initiation in the 1970’s under the Nixon administration. The origin of that war was a Machiavellian response to political threats perceived by the politically powerful of that time. We need to step out of that frame that holds us all prisoner and that continues to cause untold pain and suffering for individuals, families, and our communities.
Do you support the vision and policies outlined in the CA platform’s Democracy section?
Completely. For other ideas, see https://www.allinforvoting.com/
Do you support the vision and policies outlined in the CA platform’s Immigration Rights section?
We absolutely need to get a handle on our national plan for immigration. Our human family is barely on the cusp of huge population migration events precipitated by climate change. We need to move way beyond where we are at in our conceptualization of national borders and our shared planetary responsibility.
Do you support the vision and policies outlined in the CA platform’s Just Tax Policy section?
We need a much more progressive taxation structure for the sake of countering the existential threat that malignant wealth disparity poses to the future of democratic governance. This progressive taxation structure is needed not so much to pay for things and programs as it is needed for preserving our aspirations for and for the success of shared self-governance in our communities on all levels.