Connelly for the 53rd
The Wisconsin Assembly needs Independent voices... especially now!
Why I'm running
For as long as my children have been alive, Wisconsin's state government has increasingly become an embarrassment. Our state is gerrymandered to the extreme, the parties can't be bothered to cooperate even in the face of an imminent health emergency, and our highest court is shamefully political. I think Wisconsin politics needs people that aren't beholden to either the Democratic or Republican parties and that are willing to serve the broad interests of everyone, across party lines. I also want to see a return to decorum and respect for colleagues and the views they represent that too many of our politicians seem to have forgotten.
My new year's resolution for 2020 was to stop complaining about things I wasn't willing to do something about. I find myself unable to keep quiet about what's going on presently. So it's time for me to do something about it.
Who I am
My name is Joseph Connelly, and I have lived in the Town of Algoma or Oshkosh since the 3rd grade. I graduated as a valedictorian from Oshkosh West in 2000 and shortly after joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 1157th Transportation Company out of Oshkosh. I served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, leading our company operations section while supporting operations around Baghdad during the height of the insurgency in 2006 and 2007. Over the course of my nearly 9 years of service, I also earned a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education. I spent 2010-2017 in the classroom as a teacher of Physics and Chemistry before starting my own business and going on to earn a Master's Degree in Data Science. Today, I continue to grow my business while also working for an area school district as a Data and Assessment Specialist.
I met my wife, Victoria, in the National Guard, and we served in Iraq together. We have two school age sons, and I've enjoyed coaching soccer for them and watching them grow in one of the most amazing public schools I can imagine. As they continue to grow and learn, I want them to see me as a person who is willing to work for our own success and for the opportunity of others. I measure myself not by what I think should be done, but by what I, myself, am willing to do. That's why I put on the uniform after leaving high school. That's why I went into teaching after seeing the effect of education on the streets in Kabul, Afghanistan, and it's why I've decided to throw my name in the hat for the 53rd at this moment in time.
What I stand for
Here are the principles that will guide my decision making if I'm elected to office:
Our democracy needs protecting.
I fought for it in uniform when it was threatened from abroad, and I'll fight for it now as its threatened from within.
Even if I don't always agree with everyone, I value everyone and want a government that serves all of us.
Gerrymandering is a serious threat to democracy. Don't believe it? Take a look at the Wisconsin Dells district map highlighted below. You'll seeing gerrymandering down to the single apartment complexes. It's truly abhorrent. While gerrmandering might benefit a party today, it might not tomorrow. These maps have resulted in a near supermajority in both chambers for a party that earned nowhere near that amount of votes in those races. That's not what democracy looks like. I'll always be a voice against this undemocratic tactic, no matter which party is trying to use it.
Decisions should be both pragmatic and principled.
I don't know as much as experts, and we'd do well to heed their advice.
Science is a great source of evidence because it invites refutation. Sadly, current political discourse does not. This needs to change.
A political decision or vote shouldn't be a foregone conclusion based on party
People largely agree about a lot of things. The need for health care reform and the preservation of our rights come to mind. But sadly, just mentioning those things is fraught with political peril. It shouldn't be that way, and I'm not going to let party politics keep me from being reasonable about them.
I will represent all of the people of the 53rd, and not just the "majority of the majority party" of the 53rd.
Elected officials are representatives of their constituents and should be allowed to exercise their authority and have their voices heard.
Too many politicians dismiss or actively try to undermine other elected officials. We've grown accustomed to thinking of this as political infighting. But it's much more insidious. It's a form of negating the will of the people.
There is a time and place to fight tyranny. Believe me, I know. I've served our country in uniform. But undermining the will of the electorate isn't fighting tyranny. It's undermining democracy. And we need to always be mindful of that.
The media isn't the enemy. The other party isn't the enemy. We're not enemies.
There are responsible and irresponsible voices on both sides.
We need to consider and appreciate the responsible voices from both sides.
We're in this together. I'm surprised I have to say that.
A history of answering the call for things big and small:
as a Soldier serving in Iraq and Afghanistan
as a teacher of Physics and Chemistry
as a coach for youth soccer
as a Big Brothers / Big Sisters mentor
as a small business owner
and now as a candidate for his State Assembly district
Democracy is at stake
Gerrymandering like this ensures that races are not competitive. That is a form of voter suppression. When politicians pick their voters, democracy is lost. We need to fix this, and I'll always be a voice against this practice.
I'll stand against any practice which undercuts democracy and champion ideas, rules, regulations, and laws that strengthen the ability of the people to democratically govern themselves.