Pubdate: Tue, 28 Sep 2004
Source: Waukesha Freeman (WI)
Copyright: 2004 The Waukesha Freeman
Author: Gary Storck
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


As someone who has known Dan Vrakas for three decades, I wish I were
writing this letter to heartily recommend that voters in the 33rd
state Assembly District return him to the office he has held since
1990. Sadly, for the first time, I cannot do so.

I have given Dan the benefit of a doubt that he still had a moderate
side and that he truly tried to put his constituents first, but it is
clear now that his allegiance lies first with the legislature's
Republican Party leadership.

Wisconsin used to be known for progressive politics. But in recent
years state politics have gotten really ugly and our state Legislature
has become a battleground, as the GOP majorities in both houses push
an agenda that benefits special interests while making life harder for
ordinary people.

Issues like health care, the environment, education and fair taxation
have been ignored as the GOP majority focused over and over on
divisive issues while ignoring the very real problems faced by
ordinary Wisconsinites.

Vrakas' major achievement this session was moving a bill written by
restaurant industry lobbyists that would have banned obese people from
suing restaurants for making them obese. There was no need for this
bill and Vrakas did not originate the idea. Thankfully, Governor Doyle
vetoed it. Restaurant industry lobbyists are pushing similar measures
nationwide. This bill did nothing to improve the lives of the people
of the 33rd District.

Dan is aware that his constituents and state residents in general
overwhelmingly support legalizing medical marijuana, but he has never
co-sponsored such legislation, even the bill introduced this session
by his longtime Republican Assembly colleague, state Rep. Gregg
Underheim, R-Oshkosh.

Polling from 2002 found that only 16 percent of state residents oppose
legalizing medical marijuana. But rather than listening to the people
he is supposed to be representing, he listened to Assembly Speaker
John Gard.

This November, 33rd District voters have a choice in Patrick Byrne. I
have met Patrick and he reminds me of the kind of good soul Dan used
to be, someone who genuinely cares about people and who wants to do
what is best for them.

The 33rd District voters have a big choice this November. It is a
choice between Patrick Byrne, who will provide leadership and
representation to the district, or Dan Vrakas, who will follow the
marching orders of John Gard.

Gary Storck, Madison
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