Dear Editor: That was a beautiful tribute John Nichols wrote honoring Dick Cates.
I would like to add a grace note that should be part of Dick’s history. He served only one term in the state Assembly, but that was his choice. He had gotten to the Assembly by defeating the incumbent Carroll Metzner. Metzner was the author of the famous “Metzner bill,” which had the effect of temporarily banning construction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Monona Terrace, and that accounted for Metzner’s loss.
Cates was immediately placed on the Joint Finance Committee, a rare honor for a freshman, and that was where we got acquainted. In those days all Joint Finance meetings were in executive session (no reporters allowed), so a lot of things were said that never made the papers.
I remember vividly the day, well into the session, when Dick referred to the inconsequential subjects that were being discussed. He said, “You know, I don’t mind working on things that are important, but this stuff is just baloney.”
I don’t remember what happened after that, but I do remember that Dick did not run for re-election. I believe that was the day he made the decision.
former Republican state senator