Chairman's Corner

with Jeff Kitchen


 February 03, 2006
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The WRA Board of Directors and REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) Trustees voted on January 20, 2006 to support incumbent Peg Lautenschlager for attorney general in the Democratic primary this September. The WRA Directors urge all REALTORS® who are voting on the Democratic ticket in the September 12 primary to vote for Peg Lautenschlager over challenger Kathleen Falk.
After the primary the WRA Board will revisit this race and make a recommendation for the November general election.

I know this announcement is coming to you early this year, but the WRA Board wanted to make this decision known to you so you have ample time to digest this endorsement and closely watch the race unfold between now and the September primary election.

The WRA Board is announcing this decision because the office of attorney general is important. The Wisconsin attorney general can initiate investigations and lawsuits. And the attorney general represents state agencies in court reviews of their administrative decisions. As you know we’ve had, and will no doubt continue to have, major differences with several administrative decisions by any number of state agencies. The office of attorney general can impact our business directly and indirectly in many ways. 
So why are we supporting Peg Lautenschlager in the Democratic primary for attorney general? This is not an all-inclusive list, but here are a few of the reasons why:

  • As a state representative from Fond du Lac, Peg Lautenschlager supported the WRA on the vast majority of real estate issues important to our industry. Lautenschlager received an 80 percent rating in her last term in the state assembly.
  • When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their controversial decision in the “Kelo” case, a ruling that dramatically expanded the application of eminent domain laws, Lautenschlager immediately made it known that she had “serious concerns about the implications for homeowners.” Lautenschlager went on to say, “I share Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s concerns that the specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.’” Peg Lautenschlager, along with a number of state legislators, wants to protect homeowners with state legislation to address eminent domain laws in light of the Kelo decision.
  • When the WRA was working with the Wisconsin Legislature and the Department of Regulation and Licensing to pass our new agency law, Attorney General Lautenschlager reviewed the bill to ensure it was “consumer friendly,” and supported the bill in writing as it moved through both houses of the Legislature. Having the attorney general support our bill and affirm our contention that the legislation protects consumers was very important to many legislators of both parties who struggled to fully understand this complex piece of legislation.

While it’s important to understand why we support Peg Lautenschlager, it’s equally important to understand why we oppose Kathleen Falk.

County Executive Falk is a long-time advocate for very restrictive land use polices. When the WRA and other organizations were working to allow for new septic technology to ensure a cleaner environment and sensible rural development options, Kathleen Falk and other extreme environmental interests lobbied against this new technology and fought us every step of the way. Fortunately common sense prevailed. County Executive Falk’s land use philosophy is further illustrated by regular vetoes of rezonings to accommodate rural subdivisions in Dane County.

As we get closer to the September 12 primary election, the WRA’s political staff will provide far more detail on the differences between Peg Lautenschlager and Kathleen Falk.

It’s important to reiterate that this decision regarding the Democratic primary does not commit the WRA to any specific candidate or course of action in the general election. We will review these options following the September 12 primary election. For those of you voting in the Republican primary in September, our support for Peg Lautenschlager doesn’t make a difference. But for those of you voting in the Democratic primary, we encourage you to support Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager.

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