From: Tom Bice
If you think politics is vicious on a state or national level, it is, and Trempealeau County is no exception. Last week, there was a letter to the editor in the local paper that made many accusations about me. People who don’t like what I stand for want me off the Trempealeau County Board. I would encourage all who are interested to read the legal minutes of that meeting or watch it on Trempealeau County Cable.
I detest bullies. I don’t bully anyone and won’t. I will defend myself and my position. The major issue in that meeting was the fact that I sent a letter to a State Senate hearing, encouraging the state to remove the oversight from small county committees that struggle to make good, fair, and appropriate decisions on the mining industry. It is a hard job; most committee people don’t have the time, ability, or knowledge to make these decisions. There are people on some committees who have a proven track record with bias against sand mining.
It seems that the people that disagree with me are strong believers in property rights, but they stress that property rights are not that of the property owner, but the rights of the neighbors.
The letter writer was correct on some things. I do have an agenda. When a landowner comes to the county for a legal property use, I do whatever I can to make it happen. I weigh the rights and inconvenience of the landowner and the neighbors. On mining issues, we have an ordinance; we have the DNR, EPA, OSHA, and other departments regulating these mines. If the landowner agrees to follow all the rules, I usually vote for it.
In general, I don’t believe that people should have to beg the government to use their land. At a Wisconsin State Senate Public Hearing, an 80-year-old man made his way to the front of the room. He took some notes out of his pocket and explained that he had received a citation for digging in a wetland area. He explained that all he did was make a wet land wetter, it was a very dry year and he went out with his rubber tired tractor and loader and just pushed back some soil so the ducks would have a better place to swim. He had no idea that this was illegal, and he would fill it back but he needed time for it to dry out to do it. A taxpaying landowner begging for mercy from the government, whom he had fought to defend. That man received a visit and a letter the following week, pardoning the infraction, with no need to restore the swamp.
The final sentence in that attack letter against me said that I may give someone’s rights away. In America, no one can take your rights away; your rights are guaranteed by the Constitution. You don’t get them from anyone, and no one can take them away, unless you lose them through criminal activity.
These are only a few things on my “bucket list.” One of the biggest is to defend your rights and mine and preserve what is left of this great country for our grandchildren. Government needs to work for the people, not against them.