Independent candidate for governor makes Super Bowl splash

Screen capture of Hari Trevidi's Super Bowl ad.

Did you see it? Did you see the first ad by a challenger to Gov. Scott Walker in this year’s inevitable recall election?

It wasn’t from union-supported candidate Kathleen Falk or from recently announced candidate State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma). It was a simple ad from Independent candidate Dr. Hari Trivedi.

Trivedi, a kidney specialist at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Froedert Hospital, paid for the 30-second spot himself and caught the attention of political junkies and party-worn football fans with its homemade style.

Why such a bold and expensive introduction to the public?

“The time was right and I needed to do something highly visible,” Trivedi said. “I have never taken outside contributions until now and wanted to kick that off big.”

He understands today’s campaigns are not solely issue driven and the need for large sums of cash is necessary to get the message out to voters. That was his main reason for the ad.

“The reaction to it has been extremely positive,” he said. “Much better than I imagined.”

Trivedi also ran during the 2010 campaign, and his platform hasn’t changed much in two years. He sees the recall as an opportunity to re-introduce his vision for the state to the public.

“I believe in the recall because the problem in Wisconsin is the loss of jobs,” he said. “Nationally, jobs are growing slowly, but Wisconsin has been losing jobs for the last six months. If this was happening in a private corporation the CEO would lose his job.”

Trivedi’s overall plan for Wisconsin is to encourage the investment of external capital in the state.

“We must attract outside capital. We must encourage foreign investment and create an environment to encourage development,” he said.

His plan to bring capital to the state is to meet with business leaders and if necessary, travel to Brazil, India and China. In addition, he would work with legislators to create an incentive structure to attract dollars parked off shore into Wisconsin tied to investment and job creation.

One area Trivedi would focus on for economic growth is agriculture. He said Wisconsin has been remiss by not developing an agriculture plan. He cited the Ivory Coast as an example of a region with a specific vision and plan to use its agricultural resources for growth.

“They had a vision, doubled up on the production of cocoa and now they are the largest producer of cocoa,” Trivedi said.

He believes Wisconsin’s family and corporate farms should increase production of corn, soy beans and possibly spring wheat to spark economic growth and create jobs. When asked how he would incentivize increased agricultural activity, he said “by any means necessary.”

Trivedi also sees tourism as another area for economic growth. He believes the promotion of the state’s tourism has been lacking. Instead of the current promos, Trivedi would like to see more advertising on the scope and scale of the Branson, Missouri campaign. He believes aggressive tourism marketing will bring more people and money to the state, especially to Northern Wisconsin, which depends on the industry for jobs.

Along with bringing external dollars to the state, Trivedi said we need leaders who are aware of the evolving economic conditions in the state, nation and world and can adapt as necessary.

“These are not times when one can make a budget and then wait for the next budget year,” Trivedi said. “While things change such that the budgetary projections that were made are no longer valid, and all one can do is wring hands and sign layoff and furlough notices. In summary, state government executives should have the ability and foresight to foresee and be prepared for the unexpected.”

Being a doctor, Trivedi said changes to health care need to begin with reform of malpractice legislation to reduce the amount of claims being filed. He also said he would negotiate with providers to serve low income patients at reduced costs.

“Right now the sick come to the ERs, but it is better to negotiate to provide preventative care. We need a system of access with reduced costs and I will work to do that,” Trivedi said.

As for collective bargaining, the cornerstone issue for recall supporters, Trivedi said it is a “sticky and complex issue.” He believes there needs to be channels of communication between employers and employees and without it there can be corporate autocracy. While he recognizes the need for communication on both sides, Trivedi said unions need to recognize there is a problem and need to be reasonable in their demands.

“We have to find a middle of the road,” he said.




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