“Putting people first cannot be accomplished unless the decisions that affect people and our local communities are made by the people who live in the local community. I trust local elected officials. I trust local voters.”
–Kathleen Vinehout


Local control of local decisions by local officials has deep roots in American history. The arbitrary rules imposed on the colonies by the English king motivated the New England patriots to take arms starting the Revolutionary War.

There has always been resistance to the centralization of power. People instinctively know that when decisions are made in faraway places, their interests will not be well served.

Back in December, 2016, just before Christmas, Governor Walker wrote to then president-elect Trump. “Too often states have become mere administrative provinces of an all-powerful federal government … forcing states to accept policies and priorities that do not meet the needs of taxpayers, and do not reflect local needs, conditions or values.”

I repeat those same words loud and clear to the Governor and our Republican legislative leaders: stop forcing local communities to accept policies and priorities that DO NOT REFLECT LOCAL NEEDS, CONDITIONS OR VALUES.

Since 2010, the Republican controlled legislature has passed and Governor Walker has signed more than 128 measures to limit or take away local control. Local control of certain commercial activities, wages, environmental standards, zoning restrictions, building codes, consumer protections, and even local referenda has been taken away.

Many of these changes benefit outside private interests at the expense of local residents. The ability of people to determine what kind of community they want has been diminished.

Fundamental to my vision of putting People First is the principle that local community decisions must be made by local residents.


Read More About This Topic in Kathleen's Columns


2008-03-12 When a Bill is on the Fast Track - Watch Out

2013-03-25 Sand Mines in Our Communities: Your Right to Know

2010-02-10 Farmers Making a Difference

2013-09-23 Who is a Renter Going to Call?

2011-07-06 Budget Nixes Cooperation Between Counties

2013-10-29 Locals Plead to Lawmakers: Do Not Roll Back Local Protections

2012-01-26 Citizens Need to Know About Proposed Sand Mines

2014-03-03 Sand Mine Bill Strips Local Powers, Community's Ability to Say "No"

2013-10-23 Lose Local Government and You Will Lose America

2017-09-13 When “Up” is “Down” – Trying to understand last minute deals taking away local powers