Frank Lasee was a Republican state representative from Wisconsin. He represented Wisconsin's Second Assembly District for fourteen years from 1994 to 2008. In a recent interview, he hinted that he might run for the House seat in Wisconsin's Eighth Congressional District.
Rep. Lasee is no stranger to controversy, and is not shy about expressing opinions that many commentators consider outrageous.
In October of 2006, Lasee proposed that teachers in public schools be armed, this after a number of teachers and students died in three separate gunfire incidents in Wisconsin, Colorado, and Pennsylvania in the two weeks preceding his proposal. Although school officials disputed the need for such a step, the article also described the arrest, only one week prior, of a 15-year-old student who had shot a school principal to death. The outraged reaction was swift and arguably predictable. Mr. Lasee, in response, said this:
|“|| What I said was, in light of the fact that we had an incident in Green Bay; we'd had a murder in a Wisconsin school where a principal was shot, and to suggest that people in our schools who have the training, or would want to get the training, and would pass safety classes to have access to a weapon to confront someone who's got a gun in our school, I don't think that's unreasonable.
I'd much rather someone in our school confront a gunman than to allow that gunman free rein to kill people until the police show up, often 20 minutes to a half-hour later. And my understanding is that protocol is not for police to rush the building, but to nail down the outside and figure out what's going on.
Lasee's position on this issue was misrepresented as part of the successful liberal campaign to oust him in 2008.
Lasee on another occasion remarked that a removal of State funding from the University of Wisconsin School of Law might be a way to continue funding the Marquette Dental School without raising taxes. Somehow a rumor began to circulate to the effect that Mr. Lasee wanted to close down the School of Law. Here again is Lasee's response to this controversy:
|“|| We have more attorneys in the United States than virtually any other country. We are accelerating graduating attorneys across the country. More attorneys are having trouble getting jobs in their field; they are looking for work — that causes issues.
What I suggested was not to close it down, but to remove the state funding. When you have too much of something — and this is when you get into the subsidy game that the government is into in a big way — you end up subsidizing things well after the point of needing subsidy.
Our law school enjoys the second-lowest tuition rates in the Big Ten. It would be the third-lowest if they made up the loss in general purpose revenue from the state.
Unfortunately, those facts never really got out in the paper and were never really talked about. They aren't that fun and exciting. In a multibillion-dollar budget, looking for waste and putting money into the best uses are very important.
Where this idea came from for me, contrary to what has been spun in the media, is that we have a shortage of dentists, we subsidize the Marquette Dental School, and I was looking for funding for that without raising taxes. And I thought, gee, if you have too many attorneys and not enough dentists, wouldn't you put the state tax dollars that you're spending on attorneys into the dental school?
- Bluhm, Warren. "Rep. Frank Lasee talks about his political choices." Green Bay Press-Gazette, October 14, 2007. Retrieved October 22, 2007.
- For example, see Soglin, Paul, "Frank Lasee Hates Wisconsin," Paul Soglin: Waxing America, August 31, 2006, retrieved October 22, 2007. See also Paul Soglin's description of his own site: "A candid examination of right-wing policies and the Democrats who play along and the horrid liberal policies designed to assuage the moderates but end up irritating everyone. And other stuff."
- Authors unknown. "Wisconsin lawmaker urges arming teachers." Associated Press, October 5, 2006. Retrieved October 22, 2007, from USA Today.
- See, for example, Soglin, Paul, "Frank Lasee Exploits School Violence," Paul Soglin: Waxing America, October 5, 2006. Retrieved October 22, 2007.