Government and Political Roundup: The first Senatorial debate scheduled for tonightWisconsin News
-- The two major candidates for Wisconsin’s open U-S Senate seat will debate each other for the first time tonight.
The two major candidates for Wisconsin’s open U-S Senate seat will debate each other for the first time tonight. Republican Tommy Thompson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin will appear in a statewide radio and T-V forum sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Foundation. It starts at eight this evening, and will originate from Milwaukee. Thompson hopes the debate will help him restore his presence before the voters – something the former governor lost because he had to raise money after a hard-fought G-O-P primary in August. The most recent Marquette poll showed Thompson trailing Baldwin by nine points, after he led by that much in August. Karl Rove’s political action committee is helping Thompson’s profile with one-point-two-million dollars for new ads which attack Baldwin, the Madison House Democrat who’s been advertising heavily herself since the primary. Tonight’s debate is the first of three among the major Senate hopefuls. The others will be held next month.
A top aide to Governor Scott Walker apologized yesterday for not being more open about federal complaints involving the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch told the agency’s board members in a conference call that he should have told them about the federal concerns earlier. He said it was a mistake to assume that it was premature to say anything. We learned this week that the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development wrote a scathing letter to the state in August. It said the economic development agency spent almost 10-million dollars in federal funds without proper authority – it transferred eight-and-a-half million federal dollars within its accounts without approval – and it failed to check the economic conditions of two companies that were given federal aid. The administration department’s chief lawyer, Greg Murray, said the state is not at risk of losing the federal money. But he said some challenges had to be resolved. One board member – Paul Radspinner – said he should have learned about the matter from department administrators instead of from the news media. He wrote Governor Scott Walker and said he might resign if the communication doesn’t improve. Radspinner said yesterday that Walker called him and thanked him for his comments.
The head of Wisconsin’s prison system is leaving. State Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin said yesterday that he’ll resign on October 26th to attend to health concerns involving him and his wife. Hamblin said he had prostate cancer surgery 12 years ago, but the condition has returned – and his wife Susan has been getting treatments for a blood cancer. Hamblin said it’s not easy to leave public service but quote, “It’s time to think about my family.” Hamblin, a former Dane County sheriff, was part of Governor Scott Walker’s original cabinet in January of last year. He’s the second cabinet secretary to announce his resignation this month. Paul Jadin, head of the state’s Economic Development Corporation, said he would leave November first to become the new head of a regional economic group in the Madison area.