By Richard L. Costerisan
At 5:00 a.m. today I received a call from my son-in-law Jamie Keach that both pierced my heart and made me extremely proud of my daughter Jenifer. As Jamie read to me the Gazette's endorsement for Rock County Coroner, I heard the most pathetic journalistic attack on a Democrat in my lifetime. Their vindictive assault assured me that Jenifer has threatened to expose the very core of the Republican machine that seeks to regain control of the county. She is knocking on the door of the conspiracy and corruption seething beneath the surface of the prairie farmlands and concrete industry that I called home for over sixty years. In an unheard of assault, the Gazette made a preemptive strike in fear at what they perceive is the greatest political threat to the Republican agenda for Rock County - Jenifer Keach.
Over the years we have all watched as Democrats have turned Rock County away from the Republican backroom politics that we grew up with and into a progressive community that welcomed people from all walks of life. Janesville, and Rock County became a place that we were all proud to call our home. During that time, the Gazette and Republicans became less influential and more brazenly conservative, trying to preserve their power base. Now, with the resurgence of the conservative movement sweeping our national political scene, local Republicans and their cronies at the Gazette are seizing the moment to attack the most competent Democrat to serve our citizens in recent memory. As the Republican Party puppet, the Gazette has spent whatever credibility they have left to smear Jenifer Keach with the worst piece of yellow-dog journalism to be inked on their pages in over a century. Who would have imagined that a coroner would garner so much attention from the Republican political machine? Jenifer has struck fear in deep places and touched buttons that have brought the Gazette to print the most blatant personal attacks imaginable.
For the past several years we have watched the Gazette attack the coroner and the office at every opportunity to discredit it while supporting the Republican call on the county board to switch to a Medical Examiner. Why? They are still reeling from the embarrassment the former Republican coroner left on the office. Republicans are insanely jealous that a home-grown Democrat could raise the bar of an obscure office to such heights. They are extremely disappointed that every effort to assign the former coroners illegal behavior to Jenifer did not stick. They have done their best to encourage dissention in her office and have failed to support her when blatant political accusations were leveled at the coroner. Instead, unfounded allegations were funneled to the Gazette by county administrators under the direction of certain Republican board members. The Gazette dutifully printed these baseless claims every chance they had. Eventually, the charges were revealed to be unwarranted and the Gazette was forced to recognize the state of excellence that Jenifer Keach brought to the county coroner's office. In several recent articles they have publicly recognized her success in building a team of professionals to serve the voters of Rock County at the highest level.
Now, just four days before the election, the Gazette editorial staff suddenly meets and decides to make an unprecedented recommendation in a Democratic primary for a coroner. Just two days before the election they smear Jenifer Keach and apologize for a pathetic endorsement of an unqualified and totally planted carpetbagger who worked with a financially motivated and egotistical forensic pathologist in Madison. What caused this change of events? Why this sudden interest in an endorsement for such a low-level elected office? Why has the Gazette withheld the latest politically charged allegations from two more employees that they have been sitting on for a week? The answer is simple - an independent investigation. The crony Gazette and their puppet masters are no longer in control of the investigation and for the first time a report will be generated that reveals the political ties that have been lurking below the county political scene for decades. And guess who is exposing it? Jenifer Keach. That is what has taken the Gazette to their lowest level of conduct in the history of the paper. The stakes are that high.
As Democrats we must not let the Gazette meddle in our election for coroner. They would love to dissuade you from voting at all or better yet, get you to vote for an unqualified candidate that will support their efforts to switch the office to a Medical Examiner. Don't let them steal your vote. Don't let them smear the best candidate. None of their charges are true and they know it. Keep the faith and vote Democrat and vote for Jenifer Keach for Rock County Coroner.