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December 5, 2020

11/3/2020 10:16:00 AM
Novak leads on Water Quality

Dear Editor;
Water quality is important to me - as it is to all of us that depends on a clean and plentiful water supply.  Southwest Wisconsin has been a leader on this issue on many fronts.  The most recent being the commissioning of the Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater and Geology Study (SWIGG).  Our vulnerable geography combined with a multitude of private wells and strong agriculture industry require a deliberate and scientific-based approach to water quality.  This study is the necessary first step.
Both Kriss Marion and I serve on our respective County Land Conservation Committees and are both involved in the ongoing SWIGG study.  However, this is where our similarities end.  Since the study began, Kriss Marion has had the wrong approach. When preliminary results were released last year, Marion quickly reverted to partisan politics.  She used the results to place blame at the feet of our farmers instead of bringing them to the table for productive problem-solving.  To her, our water quality challenges are an opportunity to point fingers and gain political points, not to work together, gather data, build consensus, and make progress.
Our Representative, Todd Novak, took a different approach.  Upon learning of the preliminary results, he called on the Speaker of the Assembly to create a bipartisan Water Quality Task Force.  Soon after, he was named chair and tasked with brining stakeholders and members of the public to the table to address the issue.  He is quoted saying many times that this is not a Democrat or a Republican issue, it is a Wisconsin issue.
This mindset is a true testament to what Todd wants to achieve, and his work alongside the task force vice-chair, Democratic State Representative Katrina Shankland, puts these words into action.  The task force relied on scientists, academics, and several state departments to advise them, and when the task force presented their recommendations to the Assembly, nearly all the legislation received unanimous bipartisan supports.  For this, I credit Mr. Novak.
Novak's work in the Assembly has shown that he can work across party lines and align the priorities of a diverse stakeholder group on a difficult issue.  Meanwhile, his opponent tirelessly criticizes the work of the task force and downplays the impressive consensus they achieved. Her negativity towards this bipartisan cohort of legislators only damages her credibility as a changemaker on this topic.
I thank Todd Novak for refusing to play politics with our water and finding solutions.  Not playing political games, that is what Todd Novak is about.
David Gollon, Dodgeville, WI

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