Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Breske hits the rails

I have no idea whether or not this was a purely political move on Doyle's part, but apparently he's appointed good ol' Sen. Roger Breske, perpetual thorn in the pro-smoking ban movement's side, to be the new commissioner of railroads.

Which, frankly, sounds like too sweet a job for that guy. I could totally be the commissioner of railroads. I'd push for expanded commuter service to and from Milwaukee/Madison/Chicago, lobby for better state funding, and insist on riding in at least one caboose a week. I used to love waving to the caboose guys as a kid.

Anyway, Breske's move over to ye olde commissioner job means he's pretty much out of the way now in terms of getting a statewide smoking ban in place sometime before the next Ice Age. I'm not going to give him so much credit that I think this means smooth sailing from here on out, but it's certainly helpful.

Plus, while Breske was hardcore anti-ban, full of mis-information about smoking, and the former Wisconsin Tavern League president, the two candidates currently vying for his seat seem far more open to the idea of a ban.

Tom Tiffany, a Rhinelander businessman who lost to Breske in the 2004 election, says it's unfair to ban smoking in taverns while exempting casinos within close proximity.

Former state Department of Tourism Secretary Jim Holperin, the second candidate, said he would support a statewide ban, but emphasized the issue is not a priority among more pressing matters in the upcoming race. Still, he thinks a statewide smoking ban is inevitable.

So, we'll have to wait a see what all effects Breske's departure from the Senate has. More importantly, we'll have to continue our efforts at education and action to get a statewide ban in place. Small victories like this are always welcome, though.


Kyle said...


George H. said...

Sorry, Emily, but I can't agree with this. Justifying pure political sleazy payoff because it makes your issue stronger seems a trifle, um, hypocritical. Say you were a screen door expert, duly educated and experienced, devoted to your mission, and you were totally qualified become a commissioner of screen doors. Instead of the qualified, trained, candidate, a political hack got the job, someone who wouldn't know a screen door from Sami pelt, ensuring a golden and increased pension for the hack and lousy service for the users of the state's screen doors.

Emily said...

George, I think we're missing each other's meaning here. All I'm saying is that 1) I have no idea if Doyle made this appointment purely to get Breske out of the way and 2) regardless of the reason, I can't say I'm sad to see him go.

You're right, though, if you're saying that it's wrong for an ill-qualified individual to get a position based on politics. I have no idea what, if any, Breske's qualifications for the railroad commissioner gig are. If there are none, then yes, it's a lame move. I can't say I'm a huge fan of Doyle, but I'd hope he wouldn't treat the position as a rug under which to sweep political rivals.

The Lost Albatross