(Madison, WI) The battle against Common Core in Wisconsin has been intense with packed hearings. Several Republican lawmakers are receiving backlash from grassroots activists in their party because of their support of the Common Core State Standards. In particular State Senator Luther Olson (R-Ripon) who chairs the Senate Education Committee and State Representative Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake) who chairs the Assembly Education Committee.
Activists in the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s caucuses in the 2nd, 4th and 6th Congressional districts passed resolutions declaring “no confidence” and “no support” of Olsen and Kestell. Both men represent portions of Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District.
“These resolutions are not binding resolutions; nobody is going to fire them from GOP,” Michael Murphy, vice chairman of the Republican Party’s 4th Congressional District told Ryan Ekvall of the Wisconsin Reporter. “It does show the party does not support what they are doing. It’s more of a public flogging, if you will, from our delegation.”
Both Olson and Kestell both stonewalled Common Core hearings that were required by the state budget until Governor Scott Walker’s public comments supporting them. They also worked against a bill, as described by Ekvall, would “create an academic standards board that could over time adopt new standards and periodically review them.” The bill would have removed power from Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers who currently has the sole authority to set standards.
Today State Representative Kestell has decided not to run for reelection. Below is the text of his statement released earlier today.
At the close of the 2013-2014 legislative session and following discussions with my family, I have decided to not seek re-election to the State Assembly in 2014.
I am extremely grateful to have had the honor of serving the citizens of this great state, and I will be forever thankful to the voters of the 27th Assembly District for their support over the years. I want to thank my family for their continuous encouragement, and my wonderful wife LuAnne for being my rock and best cheerleader. Throughout my time in office, I’ve been fortunate to have worked with wonderful staff who have dedicated themselves to serving the people of the 27th Assembly District, and for that I am extremely grateful.
During my years in the state legislature, I’ve worked every day to uphold the belief that elected officials should strive to do the right thing, for the right reason, and in the right way.
I am proud of what we’ve accomplished together, and I look forward to new challenges as the future unfolds.
It is speculated that Kestell made this decision based on the resolutions that recently passed. All three caucuses required, as part of the resolution, that the resolution and the vote to be delivered to Governor Scott Walker and all legislators within 10 days.
The Common Core is being touted as a potent election issue for parents and we may see more casualties along the way.