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Sunday, July 13, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 66.0° F  Overcast
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Difficult conversations

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In her interview with Mary Burke ("Mary Burke Runs in the Middle," 12/13/2013), Judith Davidoff does nothing but let Burke run her tape about being CEO and ending divisiveness -- that divisiveness is not "who we really are in Wisconsin." Perhaps not in the past, but we are divided now. There are a lot of people in this state who are just scraping by, and they are vulnerable to a politics of resentment and division. They like Walker taking it out on teachers and civil service unions.

Our current environment is the result of huge income and wealth inequalities, which Walker and his out-of-state funding sources want to worsen. As recently as 1997, Wisconsin ranked 47th in the nation for smallest gap between families with lowest and highest income. That was good.

Burke needs to be pushed on the issue of income inequality, the loss of a progressive tax code, the use of government to transfer money from lower- and middle-class taxpayers to corporations. Davidoff needed to ask Burke why the Wisconsin budget should be balanced by public-sector workers. How does Burke expect to create jobs if the majority of Wisconsin citizens don't have enough expendable income to create demand? What does Burke have to say on these and other subjects, like Walker's willingness to let 80,000 Wisconsin people go without health care for three months?

Thomas H. Schaub, Verona

Isthmus readers are reminded that professed candidate for governor Mary Burke is also currently a member of the board for the Madison Metropolitan School District. Little or no print space in Isthmus or elsewhere is given to the inherent difficulties of serving as an MMSD board member while at the same time undertaking a competitive campaign for the state's highest elected position.

There are strategic difficulties. There are competing board-related demands on personal time and energy to address. And there is an unspoken arrogance to Burke's retention of the MMSD seat, which could be filled by one of a number of fully qualified individuals.

This may well be an instance in which a candidate's personal ambition and the community's best interests diverge.

Frederick M. Arnold

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