Now that LT Governor Barnes has been in office for more than six months we are learning more about him, his character and his integrity; and it is probably time that the citizens of Wisconsin consider some appropriate action. In Wisconsin, the primary responsibility of the LT Governor is to be ready to assume the Governorship if the Governor is unavailable or otherwise unable to perform the duties of Governor. This means that LT Governor Barnes is “a heartbeat away” from becoming Governor! So what has LT Governor Barnes done to cause questioning of his behavior?
In mid-May it was reported that LT Governor Barnes had in just two months racked up almost 900 hours of state patrol time shuffling Barnes back and forth to official, personal, and political events at a cost of $36,662! This compares to the previous LT Governor who only used this service for 95.5 hours for the entire year at a cost of $4,370. In early June the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that a Milwaukee judge suspended Barnes’ vehicle registration for failure to pay a series of traffic citations. So, without a registered vehicle, the LT Governor has been abusing the State Patrol as a personal Uber service. Rather than a security issue it seems it might be an integrity and intelligence issue.
Then in mid-June the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that LT. Governor Barnes was delinquent on property taxes in Milwaukee. The amount due was listed as $2,225 for property taxes, interest, and penalties. Barnes claimed he was paying on an installment plan but the Milwaukee City Treasurer’s office said he failed to make the first installment payment. There is also tax due from when he purchased the property in 2017 and the entire amount owed the city is delinquent. Later in June the LT Governor reportedly stormed out of a news interview when asked about the delinquent taxes.
If his unpaid traffic citations are strike one and his unpaid property taxes are strike two, strike three seems to be his lies about graduating from college! The concern isn’t whether or not he has a degree as former Governor Scott Walker didn’t finish college either, but rather the issue is Barnes’ lying about it. Apparently this lie has been around and repeated for some time, but Barnes has only recently admitted that he never finished college or received a degree.
Now the question is “What should we do about LT Governor Barnes?” Wisconsin voters have recent experience with a recall election, but this is about the LT Governor and a recall would include both the Governor and LT Governor. The favorite word of the majority party in The House of Representatives seems to be impeachment, but I am not sure if unpaid traffic violations, improper use of the State Patrol, unpaid property taxes to include penalties and fees, and lying about a college degree justify an impeachable violation of the public trust. Maybe LT Governor Barnes should just quietly resign for the good of the citizens of Wisconsin and save the citizens the turmoil of recall or impeachment?
I suspect his local Democratic teammates of Rep Ron Kind (D- 3rd, WI), Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-32nd), Rep Steve Doyle (D-94th) and Rep Jill Billings, D-95th) might be happier without LT Governor Barnes’ character and integrity being a campaign issue! In the meanwhile, pray for Governor Evers’ health and safety!