Fond du Lac County Democrats and Republicans team up
FOND DU LAC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -At a time when the political climate is so divisive, Fond du Lac County democrats and republicans are coming together. The two sides are putting up a united front as they deal with the same issue.
The 2020 Presidential election is polarizing.
“This election is going to be really close in Wisconsin and I think passions are just high on both sides,” says Rohn Bishop, Chairman of the Fond du Lac County Republican Party.
Tom Kitchen from the Fond du Lac County Democratic Party adds, “This is a very intense election, obviously, and both sides basically have very strong opinions.”
And that’s lead to both Fond du Lac County democrats, as well as county republicans to see a large number of Donald Trump and Joe Biden campaign signs go missing.
“People have the right, this is a country, it’s not a banana republic where you go out and destroy, attempt to thwart other people’s, attempt to get votes through vandalism, this shouldn’t happen,” says Kitchen.
That’s why Kitchen the democrat invited Rohn Bishop the republican to his home to talk about the issue. The two agreeing to release a bipartisan statement condemning the vandalism, theft, and destruction of campaign signs.
"As Chairs of the Fond du Lac County Democratic and Republican Parties, we join together to condemn the vandalism, theft and destruction to yard signs that is going on this year. Destruction of political signs is not only wrong it is against the law. The right of people to express themselves is embedded in our Constitution. A political yard sign expresses an opinion and that needs to be respected. No one has the right to go onto private property to take or vandalize signs. Candidates and campaign volunteers put money, time and effort into our democratic process during an election cycle. People need to respect that effort and leave the yard signs alone.
We have contacted the Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney and he issued this statement: "Freedom of speech is crucial to our democracy and it is imperative that we support and defend one's right to support political candidates, even when we disagree. Any vandalism or theft of political signs will be reviewed on a case by case basis for a potential ordinance violation or criminal charge. If charged as a crime, the maximum penalty could be up to 9 months in jail and a $10,000 fine."
Trail cams and security cameras will record vandalism in action and we will report thefts and vandalism to local law enforcement and encourage that charges be filed.
We urge people to channel their enthusiasm to candidates in a positive way by donating and volunteering to their party and those that they support. Democracy rests upon participation and free expression, it should not be interfered with by the lawless actions of some"
Bishop says, “When Tom came up with the idea I immediately said yes, why don’t we do this. Maybe it will just bring some awareness to people to leave the signs alone, you are committing a crime or at least an ordinance violation.”
Fond du Lac County District Attorney, Eric Toney, commended both sides for coming together on this issue, saying his office does get complaints about such incidents.
According to Toney, “When we get those referrals they’re looked at on a case-by-case basis for possible ordinance citations or potentially a criminal charge which could be up to nine months in jail or a $10,000 fine. That would be a very unlikely outcome but nonetheless a possibility.”
Both democrats and republican understand people are passionate about their candidate, but defacing and stealing the opponents campaign signs is the wrong way to show support.
“If you’re in favor of a candiate this is not a way to conduct yourself. It has to be done through a decent system where you advocate what you’re for not destroy what you’re against,” says Kitchen.
Bishop adds, “Try to be positive. You can come in the office and get your own sign, for your own candidate and you can volunteer and you can donate. There’s a lot of things you can do that don’t require stealing someone elses property.”
Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.