June 26, 2020
Dear Governor Evers,
I want to first thank you for your phone call and your time yesterday to discuss the riots in Madison and what I have been hearing from my constituents in the Northwoods.
As I shared with you on our call, my constituents have expressed to me that they are afraid to visit their state’s Capitol because of the continued and unchecked unrest in Madison. They are afraid to send their children back to UW-Madison in the fall because the city and the state cannot guarantee their safety.
You indicated to me that it is not your job to protect Madison, and that the responsibility for that lies with Dane County and the City of Madison. I agree with you that both local governments should be greatly concerned about the ongoing destruction of our capital and the long-lasting effects it will have. Unfortunately, if they are unwilling to act with continued, clear purpose and determination, it is incumbent upon you as our state’s Commander-in-Chief and elected leader to step up and unequivocally say “Enough is enough.” Not “enough for today” or “enough for this week.” Enough for good. Whether you intend for it to or not, your wavering indifference is seen as a silent nod to all those that have and will continue to thrust their rage upon the city if they are allowed.
I want to thank you for activating the National Guard on Wednesday after Tuesday night’s violence. I believe it was the right move. However, you also shared with me that you believe it is not the duty of the National Guard to be present on the Capitol grounds to prevent violence. Wis. Stat. 321.39 allow for the governor of the state of Wisconsin to order members of the Wisconsin National Guard into active duty in case of “riot … or resistance to the execution of the laws of the state of Wisconsin.” A full list of circumstances for when you can call the National Guard into active duty can be found here. I am concerned about your views on what the National Guard’s role could and should be. The presence of the National Guard on Capitol grounds is a deterrent to violence in and of itself. You also told me that National Guardsmembers have full-time jobs, and you can’t activate them forever. While I understand the sentiment, activating the Guard to protect the capital, its people, its businesses, and its heritage is exactly what they signed up for and what you will have to do if the rioting, destruction, and violence continue.
I have said and I will continue to say that I support and encourage non-violent protesting. Unfortunately, the unacceptable and horrific violent transgressions of a few are effectively all-but-completely drowning out the peaceful call for action of many more. Wisconsin cannot afford for you to continue standing idly by.
I hope that you will take this opportunity to be proactive in the coming days and weeks, instead of continuing to be reactive in the twelfth hour of a preventable tragedy.
Thank you again for your time,
Mary Felzkowski State Representative Assembly District 35
Mary Felzkowski is the Wisconsin Assembly Assistant Majority leader.