Gary George (Wisconsin politician)

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Gary George
Member of the Wisconsin State Senate from the 6th District
In office
1981–2003
Preceded by Monroe Swan
Succeeded by Spencer Coggs
Personal details
Born (1954-03-08) March 8, 1954 (age 60)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) married, 1 son
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison, and University of Michigan

Gary George (born March 8, 1954) was a Wisconsin Democrat legislator and politician.[1]

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, George graduated from Marquette University High School, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison and received his law degree from University of Michigan in 1979.[2] George ran against Republican James Barrington in the general election that won him his first Senate seat.[3] In 1981, George started serving in the Wisconsin State Senate.[4]He was reelected in 1984 and held the Senate office until 2003.[5] He ran uncontested in the 1992 general election.[6] He ran unopposed in almost all of his senatorial elections.[7] However, in November 2003, George was recalled from office,[8] because of corruption charges.[9]

Political career[edit]

George served in many leadership positions during his terms in office, including: Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee,[10] Co-Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee,[11] and Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee (a position he held for four years).[12]

George ran for governor in 2002.[12] However, he never made it past the Democratic primaries.[13] The Election Board Commissioners were required to remove him from the ballot due to falsified nomination signatures; 221 signatures were falsified. Also, campaign workers were accused of illegal actions that affected the validity of George's nomination.[14]

In 2003, George broke party lines and helped pass a Republican budget bill. The bill was introduced by Republicans at 2:55 in the morning on June 19, 2003. Although many legislators were not able to thoroughly analyze the bill, it was passed due to George's deciding vote. George justified his vote by saying that it was based on the bill's amendments. These amendments set aside 24 million dollars for the state budget. The passed bill underwent some controversy, because of the fast pace in which it was introduced and voted upon,[15] and that it "cut funding for municipalities." All Democratic amendments to the bill were rejected.[16] George's action angered his fellow Democrats and negatively affected his political career.[12]

Recall[edit]

A recall was launched against Senator Gary George in 1986. Earlier that year George had supported Republican President Ronald Reagan. Democrats were angered by his support and launched a recall against him.[17] George challenged the recall nomination signatures of his opponent. Successfully winning his case against his opponent, the recall effort did not move forward.[18][19]

Seventeen years later, another recall petition was started against Senator Gary George after he voted against a bill sponsored by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle. The bill supported gambling expansion at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee.[20][21] The recall was partly led by Jerrel Jones, a past supporter of George. Jones was enraged over George's vote because, The Potawatomi Bingo Casino positively affects the black community in Milwaukee by creating jobs and donating substantial amounts of money. Jones argued that George did not represent his voters when he opposed gambling expansion.[22]

Over 15,000 signatures appeared on the 2003 recall petition to oust Senator Gary George (only 8,071 signatures were needed from citizens of Wisconsin District Six in order to initiate the recall election[23]). Jerrel Jones paid individuals circulating the petition a dollar for each name collected. Owner of the WNOV-AM radio station, and the Milwaukee Courier publisher, Jones was a mutual ally with George. Their political relationship ended after an unpleasant discussion regarding the Potawatomi Bingo Casino gambling bill.[24] George contested the petition signatures all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled against Gary George so the signatures remained valid.[25]

Many other Milwaukee residents pursued the recall due to their displeasure in Senator George's arrogant behavior and suburban residency.[26] Gary George rented an apartment inside his district, however, his opponents believed that his primary residence was in the Town of Grafton outside his district limits.[27][28] The recall effort was successful and Senator Gary George was removed from office in 2003.[29] Democratic Representative Spencer Coggs opposed Democratic Senator Gary George in the special primary elections held on October 21, 2003. Representative Coggs won the special primary election and was the only candidate on the special general election ballot of November 18, 2003.[30][31][32] Spencer Coggs became a senator of Wisconsin as a result of this recall election.[33]

Attempted comeback[edit]

In June 2014, Gary George filed nomination papers to run against Congresswoman Gwen Moore in the Democratic primary, claiming that he was running "in response to citizen demands for stronger leadership from Milwaukee's political community."[34]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/george.html
  2. ^ Richmond, Todd (7 August 2004). "THE RISE AND FALL OF GARY GEORGE ; A BRILLIANT CAREER, IN ASHES". Madison Capital Times. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "WI State Senate 06". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  4. ^ http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/dictionary/index.asp?action=view&term_id=2824&search_term=george
  5. ^ "Term: George, Gary R. 1954". Dictionary of Wisconsin History. Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "WI State Senate 06". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Spivak and Bice, Cary and Dan (30 April 2003). "Recall group set to file 15000 signatures". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  8. ^ http://www.legis.state.wi.us/LRB/gw/gw_13.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.legis.state.wi.us/LRB/pubs/im/09im2.pdf
  10. ^ Sappenfield and Shannon, Senior Staff Attorneys, Anne and Pam. "WISCONSIN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE". Wisconsin State Legislature. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  11. ^ State of Wisconsin (February 15, 2001). 2001 ASSEMBLY BILL 126. State of Wisconsin 2001-2002 Legislature. p. 1. 
  12. ^ a b c Richmond, Todd (7 August 2004). "THE RISE AND FALL OF GARY GEORGE ; A BRILLIANT CAREER, IN ASHES". Madison Capital Times. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  13. ^ Marley, Patrick (4 October 2011). "State took years before demanding back taxes from former Sen. Gary George". Milwaukee Wisconsin Sentinel. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  14. ^ McBRIDE and SPICE, JESSICA and LINDA (2 August 2002). "Board removes (Gary) George from primary ballot (Wisconsin)". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. 
  15. ^ "Shameful GOP Attempts to Silence Debate on Senate Floor Disgrace Republicans". In the News Press Release. June 23, 2003. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  16. ^ Carpenter, Tim. "I N T H E N E W S Press Release". letter. Wisconsin State Senate Tim Carpenter. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Richmond, Todd (22 October 2003). "Wisconsin state Sen. Gary George removed from office in recall election". Ludington Daily News. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  18. ^ Richmond, Todd (7 August 2004). "The Rise and Fall of Gary George; A Brilliant Career, in Ashes". Madison Capital Times. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  19. ^ Richmond, Todd (22 October 2003). "Revolt ousts Senator George". The Chippewa Herald. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  20. ^ Spivak, Cary (21 March 2003). "Papers rip George over casino stance". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "Gary George Beaten By Coggs In Recall Election". News article. Hearst Stations Inc. on behalf of WISN-TV. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  22. ^ Spivak, Cary (21 March 2003). "Papers rip George over casino stance". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  23. ^ Spivak and Bice, Cary and Dan (21 March 2003). "Papers rip George over casino stance". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  24. ^ Spivak and Bice, Cary and Dan (30 April 2003). "Recall group set to file 15000 signatures". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  25. ^ "Gary George Beaten By Coggs In Recall Election". Wisconsin News. 20 October 2003. Retrieved 5 December 2011. 
  26. ^ Full text below "THE RISE AND FALL OF GARY GEORGE ; A BRILLIANT CAREER, IN ASHES". Madison Capitol Times. 7 August 2004. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  27. ^ Murphy, Bruce (25 May 2003). "George's distance a flash point". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  28. ^ "Gary George Beaten By Coggs In Recall Election". News article. Hearst Stations Inc. on behalf of WISN-TV. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  29. ^ "Gary George Beaten By Coggs In Recall Election". News article. Hearst Stations Inc. on behalf of WISN-TV. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  30. ^ "Wisconsin State Elections Board Candidates On Ballot Special Primary Election - 10/21/2003". Document. Wisconsin State Elections Board. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  31. ^ "Wisconsin State Elections Board Candidates On Ballot Special General Election - 11/18/2003". Document. Wisconsin State Elections Board. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  32. ^ "Gary George Beaten By Coggs In Recall Election". News article. Hearst Stations Inc. on behalf of WISN-TV. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  33. ^ "Spencer Coggs". Biography. Wisconsin State Legislature. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  34. ^ Anderson, Mike. "Gary George files papers to run for Congress; Recalled senator convicted in 2004 of felony fraud" WISN.com June 3, 2014