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We need Leadership Now more than Ever

Kirk Bangstad

Leadership. It’s an easy word to rally behind but one of the hardest to actually execute. We all know what happens when there’s a lack of leadership at any level: bickering, pointing fingers, excuses, failure. We all know that great leaders inspire us to work harder and accomplish more.

Leadership takes guts because you have to be both soft and hard. In the workplace, you need to both nurture and tell people what they often don’t want to hear. In politics, you need to both rally people behind an idea, but also be willing to call a spade a spade even though it could be unpopular.

We have a lack of political leadership at the national and state level. To deny that is to deny reality, regardless of your politics. I’ll focus on the state at this point, because I’m running for state office.

From my perspective, our governor, even though he’s in my party, was slow to move on a plan for Wisconsin to deal with the pandemic, but when he did move, his plan was logical and in-line with most states that have been successful in mitigating the spread of Covid-19. Now, after his hands have been tied, I believe he is purposefully laying low to let the Republican legislature rightly take the blame for what they’ve done, both to our economy and to our health. But however effective that may be politically, that’s not leadership. So for that, I’m giving him a C+.

On the Republican side, you can’t sue your governor to get more power and then when power is handed to you by a supreme court, not have a plan on what to do. Then, instead of working with the governor to develop a plan for Covid, recommend plans for going back to school, speeding up unemployment benefits, de-escalating racial tensions stemming from the death of George Floyd, coming up a with a plan to rebuild a broken economy, they don’t meet for over 100 days.

Read that again. The Republican-led legislature hasn’t met for over 3 months during the toughest time Wisconsinites have gone through in a century.

They’re doing this because they hope that come November, they win enough seats to be able to override any Evers veto. This is not leadership, this is a cynical power play. For that I give the Republican legislature an F.

What does Rob Swearingen, my opponent, have to do with any of this? He’s a rubber-stamper for Republican leaders Robin Vos and Scott Fitgzerald. Does this mean he’s diabolical? Not at all. But it does mean he is not a leader.

Leaders will go up to their bosses and tell them when something isn’t right. Leaders will talk to their constituents and admit when their party has made a mistake. Rob won’t do that, because he does what he is told to do. Does it make him a bad guy? No. Does it make him worthy of elected office? No.

Here is what leadership means to me:

Leadership is being the girl that turns in a group science project flawlessly to get the “A” grade even though the two jocks on her team didn’t do their part, but then figures out another team to work with on the next project.

Leadership is an owner of a restaurant washing dishes to show that no job is too small, and that every part of the team is important.

Leadership means figuring out how to change your restaurant in a week after being shut down by pandemic and listening to your team on how to best execute that vision.

Leadership is creating your own rules for restaurant safety in a pandemic by researching the rules in countries who have mitigated this pandemic WAY better than the U.S., and being ridiculed for those measures to keep patrons and employees safe.

Leadership is trying to convince a small town, many of whom don’t believe in global warming, that global warming has made our snowmobile season shorter and that in order for us all to survive, we’re going to have to figure out a way to build another winter economy.

Leadership is calling out the publisher of the local paper for bullying and misogyny when many people In town have seen his wrath come down on others and are afraid to speak out.

Leadership is bringing the community together to raise money to buy lunch for brave essential workers to show them we care.

Leadership is running for office to call out corruption and cronyism in a gerrymandered district almost impossible to win because somebody needs to do it.

Leadership is admitting when you’re wrong, then working harder to be a better leader in the future.

Those are my thoughts on what it means to be a leader. If you agree with me, and think we need at leadership change in our state legislature, hopefully you’ll vote for me in November and sign up for more campaign info at bangstadforwisconsin.com.

If you really agree with me, please help me spread my message by donating to my campaign here: https://secure.actblue.com/…/bangstad-for-wisconsin-assembl…

Written by Kirk Bangstad on 07/30/20

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