By Ruth Conniff on January 16, 2014

Several sources close to Wisconsin State Senator Kathleen Vinehout told The Progressive on Thursday that she has decided against making a run for governor.

Vinehout, who has been recovering from a car accident and resulting surgery on a fractured arm, will hold a press conference on Friday to announce her decision.

Some progressives and Wisconsin labor leaders had been encouraging Vinehout's exploration of a possible run against millionaire businesswoman and former Commerce secretary Mary Burke, the only announced Democratic candidate in the race.

Vinehout hired a campaign staffer, and had begun travelling the state and meeting with voters, when she was temporarily derailed by the crash and her resulting hospitalization on December 8.

Vinehout was one of 14 state senators who left Wisconsin to delay Governor Scott Walker's union-busting Act 10, which ended most collective bargaining rights for many public employees.

She is more closely tied to the Wisconsin protests over Walker's union-busting and budget-cutting than Burke, sits on the senate budget committee, and has produced alternative budgets that contrast with Walker's spending decisions, producing balanced budgets that reflect true progressive values.

A dairy farmer from Alma, in the northwest part of the state, Vinehout also sits on the senate education committee and is a strong advocate for public schools and against school privatization efforts being advanced by Republicans.

Burke, who says she supports collective bargaining rights but takes the same position as Walker on negotiating employee contributions to pensions and benefits, did not take a prominent role in the Wisconsin protests.

Instead, she has focused on Walker's poor job-creation record, and is running on restoring economic health and civility to the state.

Early endorsements from Planned Parenthood and EMILY's List, as well as significant personal assets to contribute to her campaign, helped Burke build a formiddable fundraising machine.

Her early release of first-quarter fundraising numbers showed that she had managed to raise $1.8 million in the first three months of the race -- a number virtually identical to what Walker raised in that same time period during his first campaign for governor in 2009.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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