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Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor


Leadership failing us in pandemic

I’m Robbie, owner of Coulee Bicycle Company in Onalaska. At the beginning of the pandemic we partially closed for two weeks. Since then it’s been one of our busiest seasons ever as folks look for activities to enjoy solo. Biking outside is a good option, and for months now folks in the Driftless Region having been taking to the streets and the trails.

At the shop, we’ve take stringent steps to keep our staff and our community safe. All in-person customer interaction takes place outside, we encourage online sales, and we stopped serving coffee. We are committed to leading by example. Given the ongoing explosion in Covid-19 cases in the La Crosse area, it is important for all of us —owners, employees, residents —to do our part to get the virus under control.

I really feel for our Main Street friends including restaurants and small retailers. Even with curbside pickup many folks aren’t able to match their previous sales, and with lack of adequate testing and tracing many face the decision of whether they should close if a staff member exhibits any symptoms. This isn’t sustainable.

I am disappointed in the response to the coronavirus, including by President Trump and the Wisconsin State Legislature. Other countries are getting back to some semblance of normalcy while it seems like the worst is yet to come here. Our state and economy will be slow to rebound from this failure. We need new leadership in the White House and Senate.

Robbie Young

La Crosse

Reviewing Trump’s pandemic record

In response to Gerald Bonsack’s questions on pandemic:

What happened to the “Future Pandemic Action Report” for all presidents? Obama put together a 69-page playbook entitled, ““Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.. President Trump threw it out.

What happened to all of the PPE that was purchased to protect people from future pandemics? Shortages of medical equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile trace back to the budget wars of the Obama years, when Tea Party Republicans forced the White House to accept sweeping cuts to federal spending. Bottomline, Trump had 3.5 years to build supplies back up.

In 2018 Trump fired Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossart, whose job was to coordinate a global pandemics response. Not replaced.

In 2018 Dr. Luciana Borio, NSC director for medical and bio-defense preparedness, left the job. Not replaced.

In 2019 the NSC’s Senior Director for Global Health Security and bio-defense, Tim Ziemer, left the position. Not replaced.

Trump shut down the entire Global Health Security and Bio-defense agency.

Amid the virus outbreak Trump proposed a 19% cut to the budget of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention plus a 10% cut to Public Health Services and a 7% cut to Global Health Services. They all respond to public health threats.

In 2018, at Trump’s direction, the CDC stopped funding epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries including China.

Marion Peterson

La Crosse

Take time to vote

As the November 3 election approaches I am reminded of the responsibility we have in voting during these difficult times. We are in the middle of a pandemic with 200,000 plus people having died in our country. Our economy is struggling to say the least, with so many people unemployed, and small businesses barely surviving. So many people remain either uninsured or under insured, hungry, struggling with housing, paying their bills. We have seen hurricane’s, wildfires, floods that have increased in intensity.

As a nation we are in dire need of thoughtful governing for the good of all the people. Paul Wellstone ( 1944-2002), senator from MInnesota, once said: Significant social change comes from the bottom up, from an aroused opinion that forces our ruling institutions to do the right thing.

Please take the time to vote whether in person on November 3 or by mail, many communities have drop boxes for ballots. It is our civic duty to do so.

Cindy Innes

West Salem

Congressman Kind delivers for dairy farmers

Wisconsin dairy is the best in the world. We’re proud of our dairy industry and know the hard work, care and dedication that’s invested in every product labeled “Made in Wisconsin.”

That’s why it’s so important that Congress secure fair treatment for our dairy exports. As a dairy farmer for 35 years, I have experienced firsthand the trade obstacles facing Wisconsin’s dairy industry. I am grateful that Congressman Ron Kind understands the need to hold our trading partners accountable to their promises and helped lead the way to pass USMCA and secure improved trade rules for Wisconsin farmers in the agreement.

USMCA made important reforms to Canada’s unfair dairy policies that should open new doors for Wisconsin dairy farmers. Kind not only pushed for and supported USMCA’s passage, he fought for America’s entire dairy industry by ensuring that strong enforcement measures were included.

Following Congressional passage, Kind led a bipartisan effort to enforce the dairy rules in USMCA. He and his colleagues secured over 100 signatures on a letter to the U.S. government that recognized that USMCA’s trade promises are only good if Canada and Mexico uphold their commitments.

One day, I’d like to hand the farm over to the next generation, knowing that they have a vibrant future ahead in dairy farming and that they have a fair shot at new opportunities. I feel more confident in the future of Wisconsin dairy knowing that our farmers have a strong advocate on Capitol Hill in Congressman Kind.

Will Beitlich


Failing to lead through COVID-19

Our leaders have failed us! From the president to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to La Crosse leaders. Our governor tried to protect us, if the stay at home order had been kept in place we wouldn’t be in the situation we are now.

They streamed in from Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota to hit those bars, now the leaders in Madison are trying to take away the mask mandate, our La Crosse leaders all parroted we don’t have the power, no you are afraid.

Afraid of losing votes, afraid of angry constituents, you have all failed us. Afraid of angry constituents but not of sick or unfortunately the ones you have lost due to your arrogance and fear. Shame on you all!

Lois Banaszkiewicz

La Crosse

Trump fails leadership test

When one reflects on what it means to be a good leader, we tend to view those requirements through our own positive experiences. A supervisor who took time to provide constructive feedback. A coworker who led their team with equanimity, taking ownership of mistakes and spreading praise.

Regardless of our differing experiences, we all know what constitutes a good leader and the warning signs of one who clearly should not hold the authority they have been granted. One thing was clear to the country during the first presidential debate: Donald Trump lacks the ability to lead.

Trump lacks the most basic impulse control to stay on topic and present his plan for America. His immediate reversion to personal attacks and screaming over both other gentlemen is the same story played on repeat for four years. Trump’s failure to present himself with dignity and grace has created a never-ending cycle of missteps and gasping recoveries which has left his presidency without any domestic policy achievements or foreign policy breakthroughs. Instead, he must constantly climb uphill against an avalanche of his own poorly chosen words and actions.

The result of Trump’s “leadership” is an empty resumé. The manufactured controversies a product of purposeful self-sabotage to hide his inability to function as president. He lacks any qualities of that helpful supervisor or proactive coworker. In the face of today’s challenges, he has clearly shown he is not fit to serve as the leader of this country.

Alex Boecher


Billings listens, cares and worksOver the years I have worked with many elected officials on a variety of projects and issues. I’ve also served on a number of committees and commissions participating in more meetings and hearings than I care to remember.

There are three attributes that I have learned are critical to an elected official serving their constituents versus special interests or their own self interests.

Do they:

  • truly listen, especially to those they may disagree with?
  • really care about the people, especially those who don’t have a voice?
  • do their homework so they actually understand the issues?

Rep.Jill Billings actually listens, and she truly cares. She is constantly educating herself on the issues that face the constituents of the 95th Assembly District, as well as the rest of the state.

She is as much a champion in Madison for our local businesses and institutions as she is for the victims of human trafficking. She fights as hard to preserve and protect our environment and quality of life as she does for improvements in our infrastructure and public services.

She has earned the respect of her colleagues in Madison and has the reputation as a Legislator that is there to find solutions in our complex modern world.

We all would be better served if more elected officials had the same attributes. Rep. Billings is more than worthy of re-election for the 95th Assembly District.

Charles Weeth

La Crosse

The case against Joe Biden

Fred Kurtz’s recent letter made some excellent points as to why Joe Biden is not qualified to be president. I want to expand upon it.

Biden has basically “sold his political soul” to the radical left wing of the Democratic Party, which is controlled by billionaire George Soros. He was compelled to pick Kamala Harris, a member of the Radical Left, as his VP running mate in order to get the nomination.

Biden denies that Antifa exists. He said as much in the Debate when he described it as an ideology and not an organized group of anarchists.

Biden’s age and health is another issue. It is conceivable that, if elected, at some point in time, he would resign the presidency for health reasons and turn control of our government over to Kamala Harris and the Radical Left wing of the Democratic Party.

Moreover, in his 47 years in politics, he has plagiarized the words of other political leaders and lied about his academic credentials, specifically his attending Delaware State and his law school achievements.

A vote for Biden will aid and abet in the destruction our Constitution and our Democracy. The police departments across the Nation will be defunded and Law and Order will be compromised.

Harry Turner


Jill Billings leads, listens to health experts

Jill Billings has provided a consistent voice for our community in her legislative work to promote the health and protection of vulnerable children and families. Her priorities are reflected in the committees she serves on (Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, co-chair of the Children’s Caucus, Children and Families Committee). Her legislative initiatives over the past nine years have included advocating for prevention of youth vaping/electronic cigarette use, improving support for child care providers, and developing a better response to child human trafficking victims. Jill recently received the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians “Friend of Family Medicine” 2020 award.

As a pediatrician, I continue to be alarmed by the lack of national leadership and disinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will eventually have an effective and safe vaccine. But until that time, wearing a mask is simple, and the most effective tool for infection control that we have. It should not be a political issue, but rather something that is done because we care about everyone in our community and want to prevent the spread of this virus.

Billings is a leader who listens to health experts and scientists. She advocates for mask use and following social distancing guidelines in order to prevent an overwhelming surge on our health facilities. She has been a consistent, compassionate leader who deserves our vote on November 3.

Dr. Lee Johnson

La Crosse

Vote for Kevin Hoyer for Assembly

A vote for Kevin Hoyer for State Assembly will be a vote for a very qualified and knowledgeable person. He was born in West Salem and raised on a dairy farm. He knows the meaning of honesty and hard work. He presently still works on the farm plus has a full time off the farm job.

He understands the struggles of the area and is willing to work hard for everyone. He supports our local law enforcement and is working with them on several issues. He has leadership skills and is very involved on the issues we are facing.

As a County Supervisor he was the only person on the board to vote against a 68% increase for the salaries of the board members. He is a very honest person and respects the importance of families. A vote for him would be a vote for keeping our community safe and will bring people together. He will listen to people and work hard for them.

Join me in voting for Kevin Hoyer.

Vicky Johnson


Cari Burmaster familiar with government

I wish to endorse Cari Burmaster for a seat on the common council of the city of Onalaska. i have known her for many years in her previous profession and also as our longtime city clerk. She is very familiar with our government, serving for years as our city clerk.

Her integrity , honesty, and knowledge of our government would be an asset for out community.

Jim Olson

Onalaska District 1


A vote for Cari Burmaster in Onalaska

Onalaska 3rd District voters, please cast your vote for Cari Burmaster on November 3.

As a member of the Common Council, I have had the pleasure of working with her while she served as Onalaska’s City Clerk and saw many first-hand examples of her strong integrity, work ethic and dedication to our City.

After 19 years, Burmaster recently retired as Onalaska City Clerk and I believe her substantial city government knowledge and years of experience, along with her dedication to our city, would truly benefit our Common Council.

Please vote for Cari Burmaster on November 3.

Tom Smith

Onalaska District 1 Alderperson


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