The number one issue, to paraphrase Vice President Joe Biden's gaffe while on the campaign trail last October, is "a three-letter word: jobs. J-O-B-S.”
No matter how you spell it, J-O-B-S should be at the top of each of our eleven candidates' to-do lists. Not crime, not solar power, not KRM, not diversity, not firewood, not doggie parks, not the Root River, not gas-powered buses, not...
For proof, just look at the latest unemployment rates released by the state Department of Workforce Development.
Racine County joblessness hit 10.2% in February, up from 8.9% just one month ago. Last year, the figure was 6%.
Unemployment within the city of Racine hit 15.6% in February, up from 13.6% a month earlier, and 9.1% one year ago.
No, those aren't the worst in the state: The city is in second place, behind Beloit's 16.9%; the county is "only" 30th worst out of 72.
As a whole, the state's unemployment rate is 7.7%, compared to the nation's 8.1%. During the Great Depression, unemployment hit 25%, so we're nowhere near that level; try using that trivia factoid to cheer up any of your 241,000 jobless neighbors (up from 139,200 a year ago).
I'm not faulting the candidates for mentioning all those other issues at recent forums; they were simply responding to questions. Still, if anyone needs a primer on what's important, well, it's a three-letter word: J-O-B-S.