Even though we just completed an election Tuesday, we seem to be in a perpetual campaign cycle, certainly on the state and national levels. Republicans were campaigning to remove Barack Obama from office before he even took the oath and Democrats began their campaign to remove Gov. Scott Walker even before they went to the polls.
Realistically, the presidency is a one-year job. By year two, the campaign is on for the mid-term election. That’s followed in succession by the race for the presidential nominees from each party. The governor’s timeline is not much different.
And if there’s any way of dragging the race out longer than the Republican nominating contest we’re currently in, I’d be hard pressed to figure out how. It’s gone on so long that Wisconsin actually was a factor in the nomination for either party.
Maybe it’s a conspiracy among cable news channels to keep a healthy flow of controversial political news in the pipeline.
Despite Tuesday’s election, statewide races remain in perpetual campaign mode as long as there are recall elections to deal with.
The primary in the recall race for governor comes up in a month, May 8, with a final vote June 5. Even with that short of a time frame to campaign, is there ambivalence about Scott Walker? You either love him or hate him. The race will be decided through voter turnout, rather than the persuasiveness of either side’s argument.
As important as elections are, they pale in comparison to governing. Making laws and policy just isn’t as sexy as taking a swing at your opponent.
As I’ve written before, the real work of government takes place locally.
Yes, Scott Walker and the Republican controlled legislature found a way to make the books balance, but after that, the really tough decisions fall to the town boards, city councils, county boards and school boards.
Our national and state leaders can get back to bickering, while local officials are left with the job of figuring out exactly how to encourage businesses to bring jobs to their communities or how to maintain a vibrant educational system within the constraints of strict rules imposed from above.
In Beloit, voters approved the much-debated $70 million school referendum.
The yes vote puts into action the reconfiguration plan that will include the building of a new intermediate school and improvements to other schools.
As Superintendent Steve McNeal told Dennis Hines after the vote (see page 2), residents can expect to see a flurry of activity in upcoming weeks.
But the reconfiguration plan won’t be the only thing on the plates of school board members. They’ll also have to continue to deal with tight budgets.
In the Beloit City Council race, all three incumbents who ran for re-election -- James Van De Bogart, Sheila De Forest and Charles Haynes -- won. Chuck Kincaid was elected to fill the seat that was open after Eric Newnham decided not to run for re-election.
Although one of the council’s major issues — the Beloit casino — already has been decided, the fallout from that decision will go on for some time.
Many hope both the casino decision and school referendum vote will be a catalyst for continued economic improvement in the city.
The challenge for the council will be to direct and spread those benefits throughout the community.
But just like their state and national counterparts, local elected officials have a tight time window as well.
These newly elected public servants can savor their victories — at least for a little while — but then they will need to hit the ground running.
Editor’s note: Dan Plutchak is an associate editor for CSI Media, publisher of the Janesville Messenger, Walworth County Sunday and the Stateline News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook.com/DanPlutchak or on Twitter @danplutchak