Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
During last weekend’s broadcast of InterCHANGE on Milwaukee Public Television, one of the topics was about the new chief of the Wisconsin Capitol Police who promised to aggressively go after protesters in the Capitol building, a marked departure from his predecessor who let anything go the past 20 months when angry mobs and hooligans took over and damaged that beautiful structure. In so doing, they obstructed average citizens who wanted to conduct legitimate business.
As we discussed this item on television, I noted it was about time we had a police chief who actually enforced the law, that during the chaos in the Capitol, my colleagues were hit with death and sexual assault threats. The liberals on the other side of the studio, Joel McNally and Denise Callaway, the supposedly warm and caring folks, shrugged it off. Denise scoffed and Joel literally laughed, laughed at me. I immediately scolded them that threats to kill and rape are nothing to laugh about.
One assumes because they don’t see the video every night on the 10:00 news of protesters that everything has quieted down in Madison. That’s not the case. Scumballs continue to harass people working in the building.
Last week, new Capitol Police Chief David Erwin wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller that read in part:
“One issue that has been brought to my attention by a number of legislative staff, but has not been openly discussed, is the harassment by several regular protestors. Legislative staff have pulled me aside to share their personal stories of having individuals go behind the desk of female employees in a threatening manner, screaming in the face of those who work in the Capitol, and following women out of the building as they try to leave while screaming profanities. My officers have heard the same complaints, yet people are hesitant to come forward because they don't want to be perceived as anti-freedom of speech.
“This type of harassment has also been directed at members of the Capitol press corps, as many recently confirmed when I met with them for ‘get to know the chief’ interviews on August 27. We have received information that a regular protester has walked past the office of the Capitol press corps yelling such things as ‘yellow journalism’ and ‘Wisconsin State urinal.’
“The taunting reached a low point when a protestor began to sing songs about the passing of a reporter's loved one outside the office. The song focused on being glad that their father had passed, and was heard by members of the press corps. The harassment has risen to the level that this individual has left the State Capitol Building. This news organization (the Wheeler Report) has been part of the press corps for 40 years, and it seems unfortunate that the harassment has risen to a level where they can no longer conduct routine business in the Capitol. This incident will be moving through the legal system in the near future, and I expect you will hear more about the case once it has been filed.
“We would both agree that screaming at someone, coming behind their desk, and yelling profanities while following someone to their car is not free speech. Instead, it's behavior that anyone in any setting would find threatening in their workplace. The Capitol is a place to freely express our opinion and petition the government, but it also is a place of business. No mother, daughter, sister, son, brother or husband should be treated in this manner at their workplace. It is harassment and it will be cited.”
In the above section highlighted in red, the chief is referring to Dick Wheeler and his daughter Gwen Guenther. Wheeler was a beloved icon at the Capitol who died last November.
On Tuesday's program, Newstalk 1130 WISN's Mark Belling discussed a Wisconsin Capitol Police Incident Report that outlined the harassment Guenther has been subjected to. I knew Dick Wheeler and I know his daughter, both good, decent people.
Here's hoping the persistent lawbreakers, with a new sheriff in town, are arrested, prosecuted, and punished swiftly. Let's return the state Capitol to its rightful place as a safe, harassment-free building to conduct the people's business.