Jodi Habush Sinykin on the Wisconsin Senate and impeachment

Wisconsin Senate District 8 special election candidate Jodi Habush Sinykin, a Democrat, discusses the prospect of blocking a Republican supermajority in the chamber and its powers of impeachment.

By Zac Schultz | Here & Now

March 21, 2023 • Southeast Region

FacebookRedditGoogle ClassroomEmail

Zac Schultz:
One of the other issues you brought up that I want to touch on is the 22nd vote and the possibility of Republicans in the Senate getting impeachment powers. And there's legitimate questions about how far those powers extend, whether they could go all the way to an attorney general or a constitutional officer like the governor, or if it's more for cabinet-level or board-level appointed people and removing them. Do you think that this would just end up in lawsuits anyway if they tried to go after someone like Governor Evers or Josh Kaul, or is it more, I mean, can people really grasp ahold of those powers since there's so many other top line issues for people to focus on when it comes to who they're gonna vote for?

Jodi Habush Sinykin:
I don't know. As long as I've lived here, I've never seen that play out. As you're suggesting, it is a mystery. Will it just get tied up in courts or will it be something that actually interferes with the balance of powers and the separation of powers as our constitution requires? I don't know, but what I do know is that it's another distraction, that the legislature, this extremist, at that point, it would be a supermajority legislature. It would be like certain other states where there is nothing holding them back from extremism. And we've already seen what that extreme politics is doing for Wisconsin. We are falling behind our neighboring states. We are having more difficulty getting workers here and young people here to fill the jobs that we desperately need. I was just reading about it. Something like a 200,000 person shortfall of open jobs. We need people in Wisconsin. And those type of shenanigans, those political games of impeachment, whether they're tied up in court or not, it's not what we need in Wisconsin. We need legislators who are different than those who have been in power. If people vote for the same legislators like Dan Knodl, for example, who has been in power since 2009, and vote them back in again and again and expect different results? It's just not gonna happen. We're gonna get more of the same, perhaps even at a more intense degree to put Wisconsin further behind on education, on economic opportunities, for our children's futures, and the wellbeing of our communities. So I just think it's just a big distraction and I hope it doesn't happen.

Zac Schultz:
Tying this all back around, your opponent said one of the people that he would like to see impeached with that power is John Chisholm because he thinks he hasn't done enough on crime in Milwaukee. What are your thoughts on whether that particular person, who is a constitutional officer and is elected and there's a recall process there if voters wanted to remove him, about him being a potential target with these powers?

Jodi Habush Sinykin:
It goes back to an earlier answer to one of your questions. It's a classic move to point to an individual, a representative trying to keep our community safe, and blame them for the very things that their policies are causing. He is having difficulty having enough space in jails to keep people off the streets. He's having difficulties, as I understand it, hiring enough police officers, literally just bodies on the ground who are qualified, and trained, and capable of addressing these crimes, many of which involve illegal guns, and only further complicated with other legislative policies. But by focusing on him, they're not owning up to what they have done to contribute, I would say even to cause the problem. The lack of resources is what is causing the crime that we're seeing. It should come as no coincidence to people that crime has been rising over the last 10 years, over the last five years. The more extreme the legislators in Madison, the more out of touch with the best interest of our district of Milwaukee, of this southeastern Wisconsin, the worse crime is getting. Why? We don't have enough resources 'cause they are holding onto those shared revenues and choking us off from progress.

Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read the full statement.