• WisPolitics


Friday, September 3, 2010

 8:31 AM 

Hesselbein mailer draws criticism in 77th

Dane Co. Exec Kathleen Falk and two environmental activists took shots Thursday at Assembly candidate Diane Hesselbein, calling one of her campaign mailers "deceptive."

The Dem primary race for retiring Rep. Spencer Black's west Madison seat has attracted a lot of interest from candidates and politicos.

Hesselbein, a Dane Co. board member, said the criticism was surprising.

One side of the mailer shows Hesselbein speaking with members of the RTA Board and a caption that says she's discussing her support of the RTA with the three, who have endorsed her. Another picture shows her and her family at the Pheasant Branch Conservancy in Middleton, "an area that she helped to protect from development," while the third picture shows her visiting the Ice Age Trail and says her "leadership conserved this land and saved taxpayers $582,000 to be used to conserve other land."

Falk, former DNR Secretary George Meyer and former Sierra Club state director Caryl Terrell -- all of whom have endorsed Hesselbein rival and former Sierra Club activist Brett Hulsey -- complained Hesselbein actually voted against the RTA. Meyer also said the land for the Ice Age Trail hasn't been conserved and that rejection of an initial offer for the land put the project in jeopardy. Falk also complained that Hesselbein voted for a subdivision that wasn't sewered, promoting sprawl.

"In 35 years of working for the environment, I've seen a lot," Falk said. "But this campaign piece is really deceptive. I want someone in the Legislature whose word I can trust."

Hesselbein said she voted against the RTA because she preferred a version with a referendum, but is now comfortable with the plan and supports it. She said she voted for the subdivision because the town plan matched the Dane County comprehensive plan and said there's a deal in place for the Ice Age property that's up for a vote and her work on the proposal will help save taxpayers money.

"They have been out the gate for Brett Hulsey for a long time, and they have been supporting him," she said. "I’m rather surprised that they’re doing this."

-- By JR Ross

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