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Beauty and the Beast

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It's a classic tale ... with twists. The young ingenue faces off against a representative of the forces of evil. The attractive young woman held prisoner by the fire breathing, life-threatening beast. Sadly, however, this beast does not turn out to be a prince.

This beast is Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman. Check out some of his fire breathing, even flaming utterances. Women don't need equal pay because money is more important to men, Grothman argued, as he sponsored legislation to repeal Wisconsin's 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which would help victims of wage discrimination trying to legally redress such bias. The demise of the family, says Grothman, can be laid at the doorstep of women. "There's been a huge change over the last 30 years and a lot of that change has been the choice of women," Grothman warned. "We should educate women that this is a mistake." Further, Grothman advises that "the Left and the social welfare establishment want children born out of wedlock because they are far more likely to be dependent on the government."

Lately, Grothman has increased his attacks on the modern family, introducing Wisconsin Senate Bill 507. The Bill would require the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect. One-third of Wisconsin's parents are single parents. But the law was written to criminalize an even larger sector, as it applies to even non-married couples, including, of course, same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, Grothman has voted against sex education in the schools.

Grothman, the Senate Assistant Majority Leader and staunch ally of Governor Scott Walker, was a strong supporter of Walker's drastic austerity budget, which cut services, benefits, pensions and collective bargaining rights.

Like viewing a scary movie, Tanya Lohr, longtime social studies teacher at West Bend High School in Glenn Grothman's district, watched as her budget, her benefits and her family's health care was cut. Growing up in the small Wisconsin town of Marathon in a household where both of her parents were teachers, Lohr valued education as a calling and a way of life: "One of my most vivid memories growing up was people coming up to my parents in the grocery store or the post office to thank them for being their teacher. I knew they were making a difference in their community."

Following in their footsteps, she has taught for 16 years, 13 at West Bend High School where she met her husband Andy, a chemistry teacher. Despite being a social studies teacher her involvement in politics was minimal. She had always assumed that "we'd elect some Democrats and some Republicans and they'd hash out the issues to come up with a compromise that everyone could live with. ... I believed that as long as I read about politics and always voted, that I was politically engaged."

So it was with shock and fear that Lohr watched the Walker agenda. His budget decimated support for public education and directly attacked government workers, including teachers. Her family considered leaving, but decided to stay and fight.

Tanya organized locally to recall Scott Walker and his extremist colleagues, including her State Senator Glenn Grothman. She became a coordinator of the Recall campaign and then Chair of the Washington County Democratic Party. And this November, Tanya Lohr will challenge Glenn Grothman for Wisconsin's 20th District Senate Seat.

Will this beauty and the beast tale have a storybook ending? Grothman has been in the Wisconsin State Legislature for 20 years, running virtually unopposed to victories of 99 percent and 80 percent in the strongly Republican district. But, as Lohr points out, this was before the extremist Walker budget with its anti-woman and anti-family bents. Grothman, the live-at-home, never-been-married, never-had-kids crusader for someone else's idea of family versus Lohr the mother of four, school teacher. It would be an amazing upset, should she win --something on the order of a fairy tale!

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