Janesville senator who left fold welcomed at fair
JANESVILLE State Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, shook hands and exchanged smiles and stories Thursday at the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds.
The politicking would have been unremarkable except for the fact that two days earlier, he had abandoned the Senate Democratic Party Caucus in a huff, saying his leadership had snubbed him.
Cullen’s complaint was that Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller declined to give him a significant committee leadership position, making him the only senator in that situation.
Cullen said he gave Miller plenty of opportunity to make things right before he went public with his complaint.
Cullen was welcomed at the county party’s tent, and he heard “hang in there” and “attaboy” from several people as he greeted them under the hot sun at the fairgrounds.
“Mr. Cullen, please don’t leave us!” said Sue Sheldon of Janesville.
“Nothing I believe changes,” Cullen said to her. The situation could be fixed if caucus members want it fixed.
“Maybe we’ll resolve it and maybe we won’t,” Cullen said.
“I hope so because we’re counting on it,” Sheldon said.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Cullen said.
“Good,” she said.
Working in the Democratic tent was Mary Morris, a member of the UW-Whitewater College Democrats. She was eager to have her picture taken with Cullen.
“I like old, wise men, and I think he’s an old, wise man,” Morris said.
But Morris was circumspect when asked about the controversy.
“I’m hoping the issues can be resolved, because I think it’s important for people who work together to get along, inside the party and outside the party,” Morris said.
One man waved at Cullen as he passed and encouraged Cullen to do what he has threatened to do: Leave the party and become an independent.
“Neither party is worth a
d—-,” the man said.
Political parties are not very popular these days, Cullen said.
Cullen has said he would take days or even a few weeks to decide whether to go independent.
Cullen said other Democratic senators have urged him to reconsider, and he has responded that they should talk to Miller, as he is the one who can set things right.
The senators apparently did so, because Cullen has a meeting this morning with Miller and caucus chairwoman Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point.
Cullen was still smarting Thursday from what he has said was an insult to himself and his constituents.
He said he would attend the meeting with Miller and Lassa, but he said a meeting with Miller alone would have been pointless.