Dear residents in a foreign land,
“I’m Pastor Fritsch and I approve this message.” Oh, no, Pastor. Not you too!
Sorry, but we’ve been hearing that phrase for so long now I thought every time anyone has something to say they must say it.
Anyway, since the elections are just a couple weeks away and we won’t be seeing political ads again for a least a month until the next go-round (Lord, give us strength!), I was curious about who served Wisconsin as governor since the state began in 1848. In the state’s history, 46 men have been elected governor—12 Democrat, 1 Whig, 31 Republican, and 2 Progressive. Forty-five of the forty-six actually took the oath of office (more about that later).
The first elected governor of Wisconsin was Nelson Dewey in 1848. He was a Democrat. Leonard Farwell, elected in 1852, was a Whig. The first Republican governor was Coles Bashford in 1856. Philip La Follette was elected in 1935 representing the Wisconsin Progressive Party. Interestingly, he was earlier elected as a Republican in 1931. The only other Progressive to be elected as governor was Orland Loomis in 1943. Sadly, he died of a heart attack a month before taking the oath of office. So, while he was elected, he never served.
Originally, the state constitution set the term of service for governor at two years. It wasn’t until 1967 that the state constitution was amended to have a four-year term of office for governor.
It caught my attention that in my lifetime we have had six Democrat governors and five Republican. Why did that catch my attention?
Well, the back-and-forth election of Democrats and Republicans says to me that no one party, and certainly no one Governor, has all the answers to all the challenges of governing our state. It seems that when one governor is elected to do certain things, it creates other problems in other things. Then, when another governor is elected to address those issues, still others crop up, and on and on. But, it also seems to me, what a blessing it is that we live in a state and country where we have opportunities to elect different leadership if we are so inclined. Many foreign countries don’t give their citizens such a voice.
This is why the approved message of Scripture is so helpful to us citizens of one kingdom living in another. Psalm 146:3 says, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” As we live in this kingdom of the world, we do not put our faith in human beings—politicians, social elites, or any other individual—to save either us or our society. Nevertheless, God is at work in the kingdom of the world. He uses fallible governors, senators, and presidents. He uses laws and statutes and programs. He uses peace and turmoil, prosperity and poverty to lead sinners to His eternal kingdom of grace through the church. This is where true salvation lies—in God alone, who made the earth and all its people; who establishes governments and order; who gave His Son to save all fallible human beings by His grace.
So, come election day, if you haven’t already voted early, take time to vote for those whom you feel will be good representatives of our state whom God wants to use to do His work and thank Him we have the freedom to vote!
In His service and yours,