Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Polly Williams, R.I.P.

An renown and unlikely champion for school choice
from your proud Peasant's hometown of Milwaukee
passed away in November of the old year. I say this
for reasons which will be manifest as I relate the
story to you, my fantastic readers.

Annette "Polly" Williams, veteran Democrat and
member of the Wisconsin Assembly for over 30
years, making her the longest-serving woman in
the state legislature, died on November 8. She was
77. Current Milwaukee Mayor Thomas Barrett,
who served with Williams in the legislature for
a time in the '80s, praised her thus:

"She was a fierce fighter and did what she believed
was right for African-American kids living in poverty
and was relentless in her fight on the education front.
She didn't care if she were fighting Republicans or
Democrats, she was going to do what she thought was

In taking this tack, Williams, a staunch liberal, caused
people in her party and allies of same to scratch their
heads and ask "What gives with her? Whose side is
she on?" Williams was on the side of her constituents,
and certainly for the children encumbered by the
shadow of poverty. The teacher's union was not
pleased, nor were at least some of her party's leadership
in both chambers of the legislature, but Williams was
undeterred. Some accused her of selling out to
conservatives; Williams denied the allegations, stating
that she just wanted to give poor children an opportunity
to get a quality education that would help lift them
out of poverty and into good careers and better lives,
bucking the selfish interests of those who profited (and,
sadly, still profit) from the children being bogged down
in an unresponsive, intransigent public school system,
also giving poor parents some measure of say in their
children's education.

Annette Williams may have had her political preferences,
but she knew that her loyalties and her service were to be
for her constituents, even when it meant going against her
party and its powerful allies; she was a true public servant
and was recognized and honored for same by members of
both political parties in the legislature and throughout the
state. I deeply regret that I never had the opportunity to
meet Williams and express my admiration for her, so this
tribute here on this blog will have to suffice.

God rest you, Annette "Polly" Williams. R.I.P.


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