Joseph Thomas Klein
Press Release

Chris Abele’s Pledge to MPS and its Students Neglects Democracy

We are engaged in a struggle for democracy against the oligarchs, influential capitalists who want to control the government in order to benefit personally, often at the expense of the common citizen.

By - Sep 23rd, 2015 09:13 am

In Wisconsin, we are engaged in a struggle for democracy against the oligarchs, influential capitalists who want to control the government in order to benefit personally, often at the expense of the common citizen. When their control touches the same people who are the lobbyists, government staff and appointees, and officials in the state political parties, democracy becomes a farce.

I saw this when I ran for Milwaukee County Executive in 2004 against Scott Walker and David Riemer, (budget director for former Governor Jim Doyle.) David Riemer was backed by Governor Doyle and his cronies, many of whom held high positions in Milwaukee County and the Wisconsin Democratic Party. During the debates, I expressed reservations about corporate telecommunications lobbyists, such as Nation Consulting, that had ties deep within the Doyle administration and the democratic establishment. I was, and still am, a proponent of municipal networks, wherein fiber connections to the home are shared cooperatively between multiple telecommunications carriers. Advances in communications equipment make it possible to provide cheap, 1-gigabit bidirectional service to every home in Milwaukee County. It is because of the cable/telephone duopoly, and the laws written by AT&T and passed by both Democrats and Republicans, that municipal broadband is illegal.

The above-mentioned deal-making during the Doyle Administration supported large corporations and became a model that the Republican Party chose to emulate and expand upon. When Scott Walker won the executive seat, he went on to disassemble almost all the progressive reforms implemented in Wisconsin over the last century.

I am different from anyone running, or contemplating running for Milwaukee County Executive. I am neither beholden nor indebted to any PAC, political party, corporate board, lobbyist, or special interest group. I am just a citizen who cares about democracy and good governance. I believe I can be a public servant who demonstrates this.

I have worked for more than a decade as an engineer and designer of Internet infrastructure. I have seen firsthand how bandwidth stimulates the creative endeavors of the public at large and economic growth. If I am elected, I will appeal to the FCC for an exemption to the state law for Milwaukee, so that we can build high-quality municipal broadband here.

I am and OIF veteran with a 30% service related disability, and my current healthcare provider is the VA. I hope my fellow veterans will support me in my endeavor; who better to know the trials and tribulations of veterans then a fellow veteran?

I have started businesses including LLCs, stock corporations and cooperatives. I have been on the board of directors of LLCs, stock corporations, community groups, and cooperatives. I have worked for and with venture capitalists, and spent enough time in Silicon Valley to understand the entrepreneurial, high-tech mindset. I hope the County’s entrepreneurs, shop owners and small business people will join my campaign.

I care deeply about social justice and our community. As a student of history, I recognize the deep fault lines that divide our community by race, class and gender. While I am not a central figure in local activism, I have not been averse to engaging in public protest or carrying a sign on a picket line. I want to engage community activists in my campaign so my staff truly reflects the rich diversity by race, class and gender in our communities.

I am a member of Communication Workers of America, Local 37083 – because it is a union open to all technology workers, and I want to support the unions. I hope my Union brothers and sisters will join me, knowing full well the Labor Council’s history of supporting the safe candidate, even if the candidates are not union members.

If elected I will do everything within my power to resist the ALEC architected takeover of MPS. At the same time, I will work with the School Board and the teacher unions to find democratic solutions to our educational crisis.

I believe that government at all levels should comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, because these are recognized worldwide as a minimal standard for civilized societies. That means I support equal pay for equal work, a living wage, and the right to form and participate in unions.

I invite Abele and any other potential candidate to engage in frequent and open debates. Let us all work together toward a just and fair, people-based democracy, by reversing the powers grabbed by the County Executive and the Governor. We must work for democratic solutions through open government, open elections, and the engagement of the people. We must always be wary of men on white horses, for they frequently lead states into disaster.

Let us make a powerful statement to the world, by making Milwaukee a place of true democratic government by and for the people … and not a government run by and in service to the oligarchs.

Help me by joining my campaign for true democracy.

Joseph Thomas Klein

Candidate for Milwaukee County Executive 2016

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