Even for a legislator from one of the most politically conservative districts in Wisconsin, state Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, has an impressive appetite for provocation.

Few lawmakers, even those from the solidly Democratic districts in Madison and Milwaukee, are as seemingly addicted to bashing opponents as the second-term senator, whose district, which includes parts of Washington, Ozaukee, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan and Calumet counties, is the most solidly Republican of the 33 state Senate districts in Wisconsin.

He attributes almost any economic problem to either affirmative action, welfare or both and has said that the United States' very existence is threatened by a "war on white men."

In similar fashion, he put out a statement last week denouncing a bill proposed by U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is running for U.S. Senate, that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to collect data on the sexual orientation and gender identity of people enrolled in public health programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid.

“Even if Tammy Baldwin succeeds in ramming her radical agenda through Washington, Wisconsin cannot let its doctors and patients be pushed around. I am sure most doctors in my area would be appalled at the federal government ordering them to ask such questions to their patients,” Grothman said in the statement.

Baldwin's bill, which was introduced in 2010 and remains in committee, does not refer to doctors. It refers to surveys that those participating or applying for federal medical programs fill out. HHS uses a variety of surveys to evaluate public health and recognize trends. Her intention behind the bill is help track health disparities and gather more information on LGBT health.

Significantly, the bill sponsored by Baldwin also specifies that providing sexual orientation and gender identity would be voluntary.

Nevertheless, it is increasingly standard practice for physicians to ask adult and adolescent patients about their sexual activity and sexual orientation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association both urge physicians to discuss sexual orientation with patients frankly, citing the unique challenges and risks that face particular groups. Gay men are at increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, for instance, and transgender individuals are often more vulnerable to cardiovascular issues because of the hormone treatment they sometimes undergo.

Indeed, I remember being asked such questions at physicals as a teen. It was usually followed by similarly blunt inquiries about drug and alcohol use and suicidal thoughts.

"You must have had a weird doctor," opined Grothman in a phone interview. "I'm not sure what you do with that information. I think it's a strange question for a doctor to ask an adolescent."

The senator concedes his knowledge of Western medicine might be slightly outdated.

"I usually avoid doctors," he says.

Grothman says he hopes to introduce legislation that would prevent Wisconsin from being subject to such mandates as Baldwin proposed, assuming they one day materialize. His bill would furthermore criminalize the distribution by a federal official of a form that "requires a minor to identify (his or her) sexual orientation."

Again, Baldwin's legislation would do no such thing. Grothman nevertheless says the federal government has "no business" creating such mandates, and that he would like the state to more often challenge the concept in court.

Given these antics, it is easy to see why Grothman has become a reliable bogeyman for Wisconsin progressives. In fact, two weeks ago, at Fighting Bob Fest, few stickers were more ubiquitous than those for Tanya Lohr, Grothman's Democratic opponent this fall. While few of the attendees hailed from Grothman's district, there were few causes to which they were more enthusiastic to lend their support than his defeat.

Lohr, a high school teacher in West Bend, says she only became politically active in the wake of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union agenda. She led an unsuccessful effort to prompt a recall election of Grothman (the group fell short of the necessary signatures in the conservative district) and was active in the effort to recall Walker.

When I first met Lohr at the state Democratic convention in June, her brochure included a list of Grothman's most inflammatory comments. Which one does she believe has most offended his constituents, I ask in a phone interview on Saturday.

"The most alarming one was his saying money is more important to men than women," she says. "That's not just offensive to women. That's offensive to men."

Lohr, who acknowledges she is running in a very conservative area, emphasizes her commitment to listening to constituents and compromising.

"The number one concern (people have) is jobs, but the number two concern is 'getting along,'" she says. "People want to be able to go to family reunions and weddings and Thanksgiving dinners and not worry about fighting."

Of the nine races for Assembly and Senate that Grothman has run in, this is the first in which he will face a Democratic opponent. Thus, even if Lohr, whose chances of winning are probably somewhat comparable to the Badgers' chances of winning the national championship, gets handily defeated, she will have made history.

Correction: This article was corrected to reflect the fact that Sen. Glenn Grothman does not represent "all" of Washington and Ozaukee counties, as was reported. Sen. Alberta Darling represents portions of those counties as well.

Jack Craver is the Capital Times political reporter, focusing on elections, candidates and campaign finance.

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(31) comments

Aprilcomma

www.lohrforsenate.com is running against Grothman. Tanya Lohr believes in medical science, biology and a fact-based reality. In other words, a refreshing change from Grothman.

madisonreader1

Grothman's district does not include all of Ozaukee County and Washington County. Have you heard of Alberta Darling and District 8?

witness2012

Grothman's district is very republican, but republican used to also mean moderate republican, like Mary Panzer, who held the seat before Glenn. As a senator, Panzer was a reliable conservative, but she did work with people across the aisle.

I have to think a moderate republican would serve that district better than senator Grothman. He come late to committee meetings- if he comes at all- and then leaves early and the statements he make don't reflect careful thought and study, but stereotypes and misconceptions.

Not what any district needs in a representative.

aequalitas
aequalitas

Here is how Grothman explains the gender pay gap - why men are paid more than women for the same work:
QUOTE:
“You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be breadwinner someday, ay be a little more money-conscious. To attribute everything to so-called bias in the workplace is just not true.”
UNQUOTE

aequalitas
aequalitas

From the original story "(Grothman's) district....is the most solidly Republican of the 33 state Senate districts in Wisconsin.
UNQUOTE

And that "solid" Republican constituency is exactly why Grothman is so callous and obnoxious with his "IN YOU FACE!" tirades. He thinks he can not be defeated, and so he believes PURE Republican behavior is totally acceptable.

dk9s

Insurance companies require us to ask/document at clinic visits the same information that Grossman thinks are "weird questions". Another government employee who is so out of touch.....

PosterX
PosterX

Glenn "G spot" Grothman makes the ladies hawt!

Fartinthewind
Fartinthewind

Grothman is in need of immediate medical attention. He has a clear case of bitter white male syndrome. Maybe he should enter a 12 step program with Pat Buchanon.

geo_

As a blood donor, every time I donate blood I'm asked if I've had homosexual sex, or sex with a prostitute.

Blatant

Farming - Oh, you mean you eat Fox News! Not surprised. And politifact on Walker, Romney, Ryan and Thompson are more honest???

farming

Blatant - You asked for examples I provided. (Oh you mean you eat Fox news) how clever Blantant I did not see that coming.

Beingbucky
Beingbucky

This thread makes my head hurt, especially the admonition to keep our Iaws out of people's sex life. I am all for that--treat people fairly no matter what. So why all the right wing angst about gays in the military? Republican sponsored legislation about sex education? I just can't understand the logic, let alone the hate that goes along with the "reasoning."

Murf

Now wait: he said a war on white men? He has always been strange but now he may need to be hospitalized. If he said that, he has crossed into another dimension.

human

At his age, Grothman's "avoidance" of doctors is irresponsible. Men his age should go to the doctor fairly regularly for checkups and preventive care. He gets his health insurance from the state, so the taxpayers will be stuck for the bill if he has a stroke or develops stage 4 colon cancer.

Grothman is famous for inhaling popcorn while sitting at committee hearings. If that popcorn has butter (or transfat-rich fake butter, like the stuff Robin Vos sells), he (and we, the taxpayers) could be in trouble.

thedude25
thedude25

So the gov't asking people to VOLUNTARILY provide info is gov't run amuck??? Get a clue.

Renaissance Man
Renaissance Man

Nice bait and switch here (and super easy considering how much the Left hates Grothman) but the real issue here is Tammy Baldwin's bill. The government should stay out of our bedrooms no matter what the reasoning is. This is just yet another example of constant Democratic hypocrisy. Go stick your heads back in the sand Lefties.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

Read the article! there is NO bill as Grothman describes.... he's lying!

Blatant

Farming - Specifically? And no more "I know you are, but what am I". Please do your credibility a favor and show that you are thoughtful in your intellect and not simply a low information shill.

farming

Blatant - tammy today in Milwaukee j/s politifact - oboma terrorist attack in libya

Bobby P

I would be ashamed to live in a district that would cover for and actually elect someone as "nuts", and maybe even dangerous, as Grothman. I expect some vote for him just because of his entertainment value, but that isn't enough of an excuse to allow him a mic and the ability to vote on actual important issues. Even true red republicans should have enough sense and pride to get rid of this nut.

Blatant

Farming - A senator is lying and misinforming the public and you don't even care??? Hmpfh!

farming

Blatant - Tammy and Oboma lying and misinforming the public and you don't even care.

TheJudoon
TheJudoon

Grothman just can't help himself. He doesn't even know what he's talking about, yet people put a microphone in front of him and listen to his imagined rants. Anyone stupid enough to elect this guy deserves him.

Universalcare

It's kind of funny that Grothman wants to be protective of Doctors, but "avoids" them. It amazes me that even republicans can't find somebody to replace lunatic.

bosco

I distinctly like Grothman in general. After the name calling I agree with his thoughts on Baldwins bill.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

Hello..... There is NO bill mandating anything! Grothman made it up! or didn't you read the article.

Let me say that again, There is no bill mandating anything! Grothman made it up!

"Grothman says he hopes to introduce legislation that would prevent Wisconsin from being subject to such mandates as Baldwin proposed, assuming they one day materialize."

There is NO mandate Grothman made it up! He lied!

This is a very troubling pattern for him...... lying!

If we can't trust a sitting State Senator to tell us the truth, why would we re-elect him?

farming

Wis_taxpayer I am sure you are someone the lives off of the real taxpayers. Since you don't live in Washington Co you won't get a vote to re-elect Glen but I will because I live in Wash Co. By the way Wash Co voted 76% in favor of Scott Walker. Also in Wash Co we used the verify the recall to remove 5 school board member that were teacher union flunkys

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

You couldn't be more wrong.... I have already cast my vote against Grothman!

And I don't have to live in Washington County to be able to vote against Grothman.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

farming, everyone lives off the tax payers!

Aprilcomma

But it is clear he has not read it. Either that or he is intentionally lying about what it does.

Wis_taxpayer
Wis_taxpayer

The only thing appalling is that Grothman is still in office!

Grothman who has no problem with the Government making a woman have a transvaginal ultra sound, or dictating what kind of birth control they can use, or allowing employers to pay women less for the same work, is appalled at a made up scare tactic, that he made up!

This man clearly just crawled out of his cave and voters or Wisconsin deserve more than this Rush Limbaugh channeling, foul mouthed, lying State Senator.

Wisconsin can change that on November 6th!

Remember, Remember the 6th of November!

Let's give them a 6th of November that shall never be forgot!

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