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Commentary from Kimberly Warner: Evers’ failed leadership burned Kenosha

Commentary from Kimberly Warner: Evers’ failed leadership burned Kenosha

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It was always my dream to own a small business with a mission to empower women. That dream became reality when I was able to open my boutique gift store, Authentique, in Kenosha four years ago. My dream of seeking out and empowering female artisans and business owners could now take flight.

Just as I was growing in the community, the pandemic hit and our business struggled, but that didn’t stop me from continuing to operate my business. I was determined to keep my dream alive.

As I watched the rioting and looting on TV last summer, I felt safe in our small town of Kenosha. Yet last year, my business was one of over 100 to be targeted by violent rioters who sought to wreak havoc on our peaceful community. Make no mistake — this was a direct result of Tony Evers’ failure to protect public safety.

I will never forget watching in horror as the rioters vandalized my storefront with spray paint and even tried to break in with a crowbar. I was fortunate enough to still have a business after the rioters and looters finished sowing chaos, but many of my neighbors’ livelihoods were destroyed with nothing but ashes left behind.

As our city burned, I expected our elected officials to protect us — but instead, Gov. Tony Evers chose to fan the flames.

When our community needed him most, Gov. Evers chose to appease liberal politicians and the rioters and looters destroying our town by refusing to condemn the violence. Instead, he told protestors to “wear masks and social distance” and made inflammatory comments on social media. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes tweeted in support of the rioters, saying that leaders “have an obligation to hear (their) demands.”

Rioters and looters took to the streets of Kenosha on Monday night, setting fires while vandalizing and stealing from multiple businesses throughout the area.

It is unbelievable that law enforcement organizations had to ask our state’s governor and lieutenant governor to stop making public statements that were threatening public safety.

I was even more baffled when Gov. Evers refused President Trump’s offer to lend support from the Department of Homeland Security in order to keep the public safe. When local leaders requested 1,500 National Guard troops to help save our community, Gov. Evers sent just 500. Local leaders like State Senator Van Wanggaard, State Representative Samantha Kerkman, and Congressman Bryan Steil consistently stressed the need for more aid, but Gov. Evers didn’t listen. Instead, he chose to make protecting our community political — refusing federal assistance in order to avoid working with President Trump to keep us safe.

As a proud member of our small business community, I expect my governor to stand with those of us who love Kenosha and want to contribute — not violent rioters causing tens of millions of dollars in destruction to our community in order to appear “woke.”

Wisconsinites deserve better than a governor who plays politics with our lives. As Congressman Steil said in the Kenosha News, we will never know what would have happened had our governor stepped up to the plate to curb the violence, but we do know the results of his refusal to lead — a town burned, over 100 businesses wrecked, and a community rocked to its core.

Gov. Evers’ weak, ineffectual, and failed leadership cost dozens of Wisconsinites in our community their livelihoods. Despite the governor’s best efforts to rewrite history and silence people like me from speaking our truth about his disastrous leadership that left our community burned, our truth deserves to be heard, and our stories will never be forgotten.