It was unusual to win.
We got a new governor in Wisconsin after many long years of having a Republican governor, Scott Walker, who was not good – not good for women, families, education, environment, the whole list. For years, I’ve stood incredulous as Walker was elected, then survived a recall, and then was re-elected. One wonders if one’s view of reality is completely off if so many people could either not care enough to vote or could vote for such a person. But he seemed a fixture in our political environment, impervious to complaint, bullet-proof, as they say.
But Walker lost last night, well, actually it was this morning at about 2:00 a.m. as the last ballots were counted and, happily, those votes were from Milwaukee where there had been an enormous effort to turn out voters – new voters, women voters, African American voters, Latinx voters. They made Democrat Tony Evers our new governor.
Tony Evers is a humble, sincere, very thin man who was Wisconsin’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. He is what my former husband would call an “auditorium host,” an appellation given to particularly nerdy people that could be trusted to show people to their seats for the school play. He could be your favorite teacher from middle school. That’s his vibe. Patient, gentle, willing to stay late to help you understand a difficult chapter, that’s Tony Evers’ aura.
I met him just once. It was at a fundraiser for his campaign for governor earlier this fall. I used the opportunity to talk about homelessness. I told him about the work of Street Angels. He listened to me, asked questions, conversed, never once looking over my shoulder for someone more important to talk to. If you know politicians, you know that is a unique thing, that level of genuineness, the absence of glad-handing. And it made me happy he’d won a primary against a bunch of challengers, each with more presumed charisma. His charisma, I discovered after meeting him, is his humility.
A rare bird, this one. And we are lucky to have him.