Apr 25, 201407:00 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Verona moderates, independents regroup
(page 1 of 2)
It was “a perfect storm,” remembers former alderman Nancy Bartlett of the progressive takeover of Verona. It started with the furor over Walker’s Act 10 collective bargaining reforms in 2011. Helping mix that cauldron was one Erika Hotchkiss, a professionally trained political operative who turned her newly purchased coffeehouse into Verona’s Walker Recall Central. She would strike the first blow, upending an eight-year incumbent for County Board in 2012.
Four of the five progressives who would take over the City Council in 2013 had lived in town less than 12 months. Young though they were, all but one were seasoned political operatives. Turned out they just didn’t know anything about actual governing.
“Verona was running well, Verona didn’t have any major problems so they felt they could come in and make it more like Madison,” Bartlett told Right Wisconsin. “We’re one of the closer suburbs.”
Bartlett would become one of the organizers of the citizens group that helped take their city back from the progressive interlopers. The nonpartisan group called itself Together for Verona.
Bartlett and others in the community began talking right after the five-seat progressive sweep of the City Council last spring. By August, the group had attracted local businesspeople and leaders from the city, town, and school district. They put up a website and a Facebook page. “In an iota of a second, the liberals realized it,” Bartlett recalls.
“Our group just started to grow. We had a lot of current and former leaders in the city who had been on city or town board or school board — leaders who knew a lot of people.”
The group met every two weeks. There were no dues. “We could be more effective if we did not take in or give out any money,” Bartlett explained. “We did discuss issues and candidates and how we can organize to fight the progressives. Our candidates worked hard.”