Paul Adair is a 21-year Germantown resident, retired scientist, writer, and lecturer.
Several weeks ago, Just Sayin' examined the thirty-six year Congressional record of Jim Sensenbrenner. We concluded that the Congressman has not justified being re-elected to yet another two-year term. He is a senior member in the most do-nothing Congress in history. He played a major role in last year's pointless and shameful government shutdown. He has repeatedly voted to privatize Social Security and voucherize Medicare. Sensenbrenner has simply not represented us in Washington.
But what choice do we have in the matter? For five of his eighteen Congressional elections, Sensenbrenner has had no major party challenger. For many of the others, he had a challenger in name only. However, this year is different. We actually have a strong and progressive challenger to Jim Sensenbrenner. This year, Chris Rockwood is running to be your next Congressman.
The 49 year old Rockwood was born in Michigan and grew-up in Pennsylvania. Chris moved to the Milwaukee area twelve years ago. He and his wife have lived in Wauwatosa since 2008. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering and has worked in the high-tech private sector for more than 25 years. Such real-life experience is sorely needed in a Congress dominated by career politicians and lawyers.
This is the second time that Chris Rockwood has run for office. He was a candidate for the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2012. In a campaign interview during that race, he stated that "I am running for office because we need legislators who are committed to representing constituents, not to advancing the agendas of special interests. We must restore Wisconsin's traditions of civility and clean, transparent government. "
The Rockwood campaign is not exactly rolling in cash. You probably won't be seeing any big TV ad buys. Instead, the campaign will rely on person-to-person contact and a presence at events such as the Independence Day parade in Greenfield and the Jefferson County Fair. The campaign will also count heavily on social media to get the word out.
I had the opportunity to meet Chris Rockwood last month. I found him to be both well-spoken and knowledgeable on the issues. Chris will be a great Representative for our district. He seems to be in the race for all the right reasons. He is in this race to allow a true debate of the issues. He is in this race to provide a strong progressive alternative for those who believe that Jim Sensenbrenner no longer represents us. He is in this race to give us an actual choice in November.
Where does the candidate stand on the issues? What does he believe in? Chris Rockwood's campaign website lists four primary themes:
Healthcare: Rockwood states that the Affordable Care Act is a step in the right direction. He says that "Taking power away from insurance companies and putting it in the hands of patients and doctors has already expanded access and reduced costs. " But like many progressives, he believes that we need a simpler system, a "Medicare for all". He believes that access to healthcare is a basic human right.
Immigration: Rockwood supports the passage of comprehensive immigration reform, of the type passed a year ago by the US Senate. He says that this is a balanced and common sense approach that both secures our borders and "lives up to our heritage as a beacon to immigrants coming to our shores seeking liberty and prosperity."
Income Inequality: Rockwood speaks passionately on the need to address the growing income inequality in our country. Solving the problem will require a multi-pronged approach, including increasing the minimum wage, developing a business environment in which companies want to re-invest at home, and implementing a fair and transparent tax code.
Infrastructure: Rockwood feels that we must no longer ignore our crumbling infrastructure. He says, "Improving America’s business climate requires investing in the means to provide access to goods and capital." And it is not just roads and bridges. He says that a great country also needs great school buildings, modern sewers, good public transportation, and high speed internet.
Winning the race to be our next Congressman will not be easy for Chris Rockwood. This is a tough district for Chris or any other Democrat. Mitt Romney won the current 5th Congressional District in 2012, beating President Obama 61.3% to 37.7%. Within the same boundaries, McCain won in 2008 by 57.2% to 41.8%.
However, last month Gallup found that our approval of Congress sits at an abysmal 16%. A June Rassmusen poll found that a record low 25% of Americans believe that their Congressman deserves re-election. Given the extreme voter dissatisfaction with Congress, as well as an active campaign from his opponent, Jim Sensenbrenner may be facing a close race.
This November, you have a real choice for Congress. Check-out the candidacy of Chris Rockwood.