Colleagues and Candidates: Mutual Respect Transcends Differences
It’s not uncommon to spot information that amounts to half-truths or even outright lies during the throes of election season. But when one St. Norbert staffer was lambasted by an out-of-town special-interest group during his run for a state assembly seat, it was a campus colleague – and political opponent – who spoke out for civil discourse.
Scott Crevier (Information Technology Services) could not support the state assembly campaign of Dan Robinson M.T.S. ’06 (Mission & Student Affairs), but nonetheless found he could not keep silent when his colleague fell afoul of an orchestrated attack based on false claims. In a blog post that drew widespread attention, Crevier picked apart the political attack ads funded by Jobs First Coalition.
“They claim that the creation of jobs is their focus,” he wrote. “Granted, they might view one candidate as being better for job creation in Wisconsin than the other, but putting out lies like these to discredit a candidate and get someone elected is wrong. And even though it seems they would support candidates of my political party, I strongly urge you to not support them in their efforts.”
Attacks prompt bipartisan outcry
As former colleagues on the De Pere City Council, Robinson and Crevier had worked together on local issues for the city and its people before Robinson moved on to serve on the Brown County Board of Supervisors. Most recently, Robinson ran as the Democratic candidate for the 88th District Assembly seat to represent a larger district at the state level.
As time went on, it became clear to Crevier – a Republican supporter – that the two didn’t necessarily see eye to eye on political matters, and he took the chance to tell Robinson that he wouldn’t be able to support his candidacy. “Simply put, as he’s taking on larger issues, our philosophical and political differences are much clearer than when we addressed things like trash-collection fees for the City of De Pere a few years ago,” Crevier wrote on his personal blog in an entry dated Oct. 29.
In his post, he went on to discredit the various attacks that came out against Robinson during election season. “They are the epitome of negative ads that are written to distort the truth, and in this case, they contain flat-out lies,” he wrote.
“I was sitting right there with Dan when he made the decisions he was being chastised for in those ads,” Crevier explains, “so I felt an obligation to try to set the record straight.”
His act was part of a larger outcry by Republicans and Democrats alike that garnered local media coverage as the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported on Oct. 31 that mailings from a Milwaukee-area group called the Jobs First Coalition made false claims about Robinson and his voting history.
In addition to highlighting Crevier’s blog post, the article cites comments from Brown County Republican chairman Mark Becker and Republican John Macco (who defeated Robinson in the election) calling for clean campaigns that allow candidates to run based on their merits.
Robinson notes that Crevier’s decision to speak up on his behalf was a courageous one that helped mitigate the sense of divisiveness these types of attacks attempt to drum up, and the fact that it was a colleague at St. Norbert who stepped forward did not come as a surprise.
“I don’t know that I would say it is a coincidence that it was an employee of St. Norbert College that did this because I think that’s the kind of people that we try to have as a part of our community here, and I think that’s a reflection of the community at some level,” he says. “I have found people here – students, faculty, staff, administration – to be, by and large, people who are open-minded, who are supportive of each other, and who care about the world around them.”
Dec. 2, 2014