Empower Wisconsin | Nov. 18, 2019
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON —Amid allegations that she is politicizing her agency, state Tourism Secretary-designee Sara Meaney last week doubled down on partisan politics — asking taxpayers to pick up part of the tab for a marketing campaign tied to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) quickly disabused Meaney of the notion that any money will be coming from state coffers to pay for the Democratic Party’s nominating party set for next July in Milwaukee.
“The legislature won’t be allocating any dollars to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee,” Vos told Empower Wisconsin in an email. “I don’t support state tax dollars going to assist a political convention. Milwaukee has already rolled out the red carpet and area businesses are stepping up.”
Meaney isn’t saying how much money she wants to promote state tourism ahead of the DNC, but she told the Cap Times it would cost about $1 million to create some large, Wisconsin-branded “hospitality” space during the four-day convention.
Lawmakers already approved an additional $1.6 million for tourism marketing in the latest two-year budget. The cash was not budgeted for promoting politics.
Milwaukee will play host to the candidate coronation of a party that has veered so far left it’s driving in circles. The crowded field of presidential candidates, from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, is a taxpayer money-eating machine, hungry for all kinds of costly social welfare and environmental programs.
And lest we forget, many of the Democratic candidates have clearly expressed their disdain for conservatives, particularly those who support President Donald Trump.
Is it any wonder that state Democrats have no compunction about asking taxpayers to fund marketing campaigns featuring the DNC?
Meaney’s comments come amid allegations that she is pushing Gov. Tony Evers’ liberal agenda at the apolitical state Department of Tourism.
State Sen. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) recently said he is concerned that Meaney’s criteria for future council appointees “are primarily weighted toward ethnic and cultural diversity, especially as tourism stakeholders outside of Madison and Milwaukee have repeatedly indicated anxiety that tourism investments will increasingly shift to those two largest urban areas of our state.”
“The job of the Department of Tourism is to promote the State of Wisconsin, not to promote a political agenda — checking a racially-based box should not come before qualifications,” Jacque wrote.
Now, the secretary-designee, who faces an uphill battle for confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate, wants to use taxpayer money to help sell Wisconsin through the lens of Democratic Party’s biggest political event.