RHS teacher running for state office
Losch looks to ‘heal the rift’ in politics
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
Rhinelander High School AP Government teacher Wil Losch expects he may be busy over the summer. Losch is running to be Wisconsin’s next lieutenant governor as an independent with gubernatorial candidate Margaret “Maggie” Turnbull, an Antigo native who is an astronomer. The two met through common friends, and Losch said after Turnbull put out the intention to run for governor, they “talked more specifically about the ‘why’” and realized they were “aligned enough” and he joined the ticket.
This isn’t Losch’s first entry into state politics. In 2010 he ran for the 34th Assembly District as a third-party candidate. One of the issues that inspired him to run eight years ago was the school funding formula. It remains an important talking point for Losch.
“We’re seeing more and more it affects rural Wisconsin, in the southwest, northwest and northeast and even more than in 2010 it continues to be a broken system,” Losch said. “So if I can have a platform to speak to that a little bit louder, that’s one of the issues that certainly motivated me.”
“Healing the rift caused by the two-party system,” Losch said, is the reason he and Turnbull are running as independents. “I believe there are ideas from both sides, but we’re so tribal right now in our politics,” which he said leads to a win-at-all-costs mentality.
“Ultimately, I think when it becomes win at all costs, for either party but I think especially with the Republican Party we’ve seen that, that none of us win.”
Instead, Losch said he and Turnbull want to focus on the notion of the Wisconsin Idea that brings multiple viewpoints to the table and creates a plan to move everyone forward. He described election cycles as a pendulum that swings from one direction to the other every four years.
“Forty-eight percent of the people don’t get a seat at the table until the next election, potentially,” Losch said. “We would like a culture where everybody has a seat at the table. We buy into that notion where if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu. I think there are enough people in Wisconsin who feel that way as it is, they shouldn’t have to feel that way politically.”
One way to increase the number of seats at the table, Losch said, is to get more independent candidates. One way to get more independents to run for elected office is to change the way elections work, by instituting rank order balloting that several cities and states are considering. With rank order balloting, instead of selecting just one candidate, voters rank their choices in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority of first-place votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and whoever their voters chose as their second choice is added to the tally of the remaining candidates. That process continues until there is a winner.
Though the Turnbull-Losch ticket’s platform may still be developing, Losch said their ideas will resonate with all Wisconsinites. He said clean water, strong public schools, environmental restoration, private property rights and economic growth are issues of importance.
In addition to “shining light” on the need for more voices at the table and furthering discussion about school funding and rank order balloting, Losch said the ultimate goal is to raise enough interest and awareness in the platform to get Turnbull on a gubernatorial debate or forum.
The campaign must collect 2,000 signatures before June 1 to be officially in the race.