Wisconsin governor: Rival failed to act on teacher with porn

September 6, 2018

MADISON Gov. Scott Walker's first attack ad of the Wisconsin gubernatorial race released Wednesday refers to a sex act while accusing Democratic candidate Tony Evers of not doing enough to revoke the license of a teacher who viewed pornographic images on a school computer.

Walker and his Republican allies have said for more than a year that Evers, the state superintendent, didn't do all he could to remove Middleton middle school teacher Andrew Harris from the classroom. It's been a central issue of the tight governor race. Evers argues Walker is just trying to distract from his failure to address problems facing the state in the past eight years.

Evers has consistently said he didn't then have the legal authority to revoke the teacher's license. He later worked with the Legislature to pass a bill, which Walker signed, expanding the circumstances that warrant revocation.

Republican legislative leaders said Wednesday that Evers hadn't been a leader on the proposal, noting that it had no Democratic co-sponsors and Evers did not personally testify for it, although a representative of the education department did.

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed it unanimously.

Evers' campaign manager, Maggie Gau, accused Walker of making "disgusting, dishonest and increasingly desperate attacks" that reveal his desperation as polls show the race is about even.

"The people of Wisconsin know Tony has spent his lifetime doing what is best for our kids," Gau said, adding that Evers "worked with both parties to toughen the law."

School boards in Wisconsin have the authority to fire teachers. The decision to revoke a teacher's license rests with the state education department that Evers runs. The Legislature changed the law in 2011 to allow for license revocation in cases where teachers view pornography in the classroom, even if students were not exposed to it.

The law in place at the time of the Harris case required students to be endangered by the teacher's "immoral conduct" in order to revoke the teaching license. Evers has cited that as the reason why he couldn't revoke Harris's license because no students viewed the material in question.

The Walker ad quotes from a Middleton-Cross Plains School District report from 2010 that found Harris had suggested to one student that she "brush up on her sex skills because that's all she'll be good at later in life." Wording from the report referring to oral sex is shown on the screen.

The ad also shows stock footage of young women talking, but not their faces, while the narrator says the teacher "commented on the chest sizes of middle school girls."

The school investigation into Harris began in 2009 when the district received a complaint from a female teacher about emails containing nudity, crude jokes and other inappropriate material that Harris was viewing and sending to other school employees.

Harris was fired in 2010, but an arbitrator determined he should have been suspended so that his punishment would be on par with those given to other teachers who looked at explicit materials or emails while at work.

A circuit court judge and state appeals court upheld the arbitrator's ruling and Harris returned to work in 2014 which the ad notes with a closing line: "The teacher is still in the classroom with young girls."

Biden endorses Kohl in 6th District race against Grothman

GRAFTON Former Vice President Joe Biden is endorsing Democrat Dan Kohl in his bid to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman.

Kohl's campaign announced the endorsement Wednesday. Biden says in a statement that Kohl is an "independent voice" who can "create an economy that works for every Wisconsin family."

Kohl, the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, is challenging Grothman in Wisconsin's 6th Congressional District. It covers all or portions of 10 east-central Wisconsin counties.

Grothman is seeking a third term. He previously served in the Wisconsin state Senate, where he was assistant majority leader. He served in the state Assembly before that.

The 6th District contest is expected to be one of the more competitive races in the state in November.

The Latest: Democrat Evers supports standing for anthem

MADISON, Wis. The Latest on where candidates for governor stand on the national anthem (all times local):

2 p.m.

Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers says he is "proud to stand for the national anthem," but he also respects the rights of people to peacefully protest.

His comments came Thursday after Republican Gov. Scott Walker asked on Twitter whether Evers backed NFL players who kneel in protest during the anthem. Walker tweeted that he believes all players should stand.

Evers says in a statement in response that Walker "wants to distract and divide us--anything to avoid talking about his record."

Walker urges standing, not kneeling, during national anthem

MADISON, Wis.  Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took a page out of President Donald Trump's playbook Thursday, calling on all NFL players to stand during the national anthem.

Walker's tweets elicited a quick comeback from the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate, who questioned Walker's patriotism and asked why he never served in the military.

The back-and-forth played out in a series of tweets that came hours before the Thursday night kickoff of the NFL season. Walker, a Republican seeking a third term, punctuated one message with a cartoon image of himself known as a bitmoji in front of an American flag, hand on heart.

In another tweet, Walker asked whether Democratic candidate for governor Tony Evers supports "NFL players blatantly disrespecting our flag and the Wisconsin men and women in uniform? If he wants to be the leader of our state, he owes them an answer."

Walker retweeted a January message from Evers' running mate Mandela Barnes where Barnes posted "Take a knee" in reaction to a story about whether Trump knew the words to the national anthem.

Barnes, who is African American, issued a stinging response, saying that "your president should learn the words" and "you just don't get it."

"Also, you could have served in THREE wars, why didn't you stand up then?" Barnes tweeted to Walker.

Walker, 50, has been in elected office since 1993 when he was 25 years old.

Walker's campaign had no immediate response. Evers' campaign also did not immediately respond to questions about whether Evers supports players who kneel during the anthem.

GOP Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch did weigh in, tweeting that "neighbors have told me" Barnes kneels during the national anthem. Barnes responded by calling Kleefisch a liar.

Barnes also posted an image of himself wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback began a wave of protests by NFL players two seasons ago, first sitting on the bench and then kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

The protests have grown into one of the most polarizing issues in sports, with Trump loudly urging the league to suspend or fire players who demonstrate during the anthem.

Walker first weighed in publicly on the national anthem debate in October, sending a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith that said he believes kneeling players are showing disrespect for the flag and veterans.

Associated Press