- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Mellencamp unhappy with Wisconsin Gov. Walker

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Liberal rocker John Mellencamp wants conservative Republican Gov. Scott Walker to know he supports union rights and says Walker should think about that before using his songs on the campaign trail.

Politicians for years have been using rock songs at campaign events, and Mellencamp has found himself crossways with Walker and other candidates before.

Two years ago, Mellencamp chided Walker, who effectively ended collective bargaining for most public workers in Wisconsin, for playing his song “Small Town” at campaign rallies.

Walker was targeted for recall in 2012 by those angered over the union law, which passed despite massive protests that elicited support from other liberal musicians, including Pete Seeger, Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello, Peter Yarrow and Billy Bragg.

When Mellencamp caught wind of Walker playing “Small Town” during the recall campaign, his publicist sent Walker an email letting him know that Mellencamp supports collective bargaining and union rights.

Mellencamp took the same approach in 2008 when Republican presidential hopeful John McCain played “Our Country” on the campaign trail. Mellencamp’s publicist wrote McCain’s camp a letter explaining Mellencamp’s liberal leanings and said he was supporting Democrat John Edwards.

In 2010, when the National Organization for Marriage played “Pink Houses” at events opposing same-sex marriage, Mellencamp also had his publicist notify the group saying he was opposed to its agenda and suggested it pick a different song to play that is more in tune with its views.


Deputy shot and paralyzed in 1991 has died

ST. CROIX FALLS, Wis. (AP) - A western Wisconsin sheriff’s deputy who was paralyzed after being shot by a suspect in 1991 has died, and he will be buried with full law enforcement honors during a funeral expected to draw officers from several states, according to the Polk County sheriff.

Polk County Deputy Michael Seversen was shot and Burnett County Deputy Allen Albee was killed when they confronted a shooting suspect on the run from Minnesota’s Chisago County. The suspect, Robert Reineccius, was killed by officers.

Seversen had recently been suffering from severe medical issues, and he died Monday at his home in St. Croix Falls, said Polk County Sheriff Peter Johnson. Seversen was 50 years old.

Despite requiring a mechanically operated “sip and puff” wheelchair for the rest of his life, Seversen lived independently and remained active in the sheriff’s office, Johnson said. He used a voice-activated computer to open doors, and run the lights, TV and stereo in his home.

“We just couldn’t believe he accepted what happened,” said Seversen’s brother, Mark. “Obviously, it was horrible, but he embraced what it meant to live paralyzed and kept caring for people and enjoying life.”

Story Continues →