Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Rock County Coroner Resigns
I remember like it was just yesterday when Jenifer Keach was appointed to the county coroner's office by Gov. Jim Doyle. She was appointed to replace former coroner Karen Gilbertson, a Republican, who was removed from office after a scandal broke that she was taking drugs from the scenes of death investigations.
Because Rock County offices are partisan offices, it was like Doyle committed an unforgivable political sin by appointing a democratic replacement. As Keach's first campaign for coroner entered it's election year, local GOP operatives including the Janesville Gazette and a handful of partisan Rock County Board members went on a vicious personal revenge and hate campaign against her.
In what first began with politically motivated complaints to discredit the coroner, the campaign of false accusations grew into a misinformation media circus conspiracy designed to defraud county voters out of their right to elect their own coroner. Despite running for election during the tea party wave of 2010 that saw Republicans win several local legislative offices, Keach rode to victory winning the coroner's office on her own merit. After election results were tallied in the primary, the sour grapes Gazette and hyper-partisan county board members almost went berserk.
In hindsight, their baseless accusations about Keach using the county office on the taxpayer's dime for political campaign work gets even more disturbingly petty when compared to the high-driving secret router political campaign work Scott Walker directed while MKE county executive. Walker eventually stated that co-mingling political campaign schedules and discussions with county staff was not doing anything improper. In fact, he said "it's routine." Suddenly, the Gazette and their tools don't have much to say about that. But they wanted Keach out for far, far less, even if they had to destroy the coroner's office to do it.
Or, how about the time when they primaried Keach with a "fake" candidate in their efforts to push her off the general ballot? Who knew that their cheap shot dirty tactics would portend for an army of fake candidates running primaries against democrats during the recalls? I know the world isn't that small, but it almost seems like everything that's happening in Wisconsin since Scott Walker was elected governor had roots or a practice run right here in little old Rock County. The GOP's fingerprints are all over it.
So now we enter Monday where Jenifer Keach tendered her resignation about one year before her time in office comes officially to an end. Remember, the county board stripped voters of their right to choose their coroner and will be going with a medical examiner appointed by a panel of special people. So it seems, if they can't destroy the person - destroy the office, is their motto.
This I also know. Coroner Keach fought the good fight and won. She did not turn bitter during the struggle that I've blogged extensively about a few years ago and I'm glad she chose to move forward while at the top and on her own terms. Keach said she accepted a job to continue her career in nursing. Her last day on the job will be November 16th.
RNR (Sept. 8, 2010) - Media Circus Monopolizes Politics Around Coroner's Office
RNR (Sept. 22, 2010) - Newspaper Wants To Kill Wisconsin's Primaries!
RNR (Oct. 20, 2010) - Vote "NO" To Keep Your Right To Vote For County Office
RNR (Jan. 28, 2011) - Board OKs Accountability, Control And Efficiency But For Only One County Office
Posted by Lou Kaye at 12:35 AM