Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

June 7, 2012

We Cannot Be Deterred

Filed under: Recall,Right Wing Agenda,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 10:34 am

Larry Miller

Big Money had a victory and democracy was set back on June 5th. But how we respond will define our character and our children’s future. This cannot immobilize us or deter us. New battles are looming.

 We Are Not Going Away

Walker’s Republican campaign outspent Barrett’s Democratic campaign by $30.5 million to $4 million — that’s a 7.5 to 1 advantage. Another way of saying this is that of the $34.5 million spent on their campaigns, Walker spent 88% of the money.

Walker beat Barrett by 1,334,450 votes to 1,162,785 votes — 53% to 46% (with 1% going to an independent candidate).

Here’s another way of saying that: Walker spent $23 for each vote he received, while Barrett spent only $3.47 per vote. Scott Walker Spent 88% of the Money to Get 53% of the Vote.*

As Peter Dreier* stated it in his 6/6/12 Huffington Post blog, “But the reality is even worse than this, because the $34.5 million figure does not include so-called independent expenditures and issue ads paid for primarily by out-of-state billionaires (like the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and Joe Ricketts), business groups, and the National Rifle Association, which were skewed even more heavily toward Walker. Once all this additional spending is calculated, we’ll see that total spending in this race could be more than double the $34.5 million number, that Walker and his business allies outspent Barrett by an even wider margin, and that he had to spend even more than $23 for each vote.”

This is a defeat for democracy. But the last 16 months has been a victory for what can be. There are one million, one hundred and sixty two thousand, seven hundred and eighty five Wisconsinites who are not fooled by the lies and tricks of  the right-wing.

On Election Day I gave rides to the polls and saw turnout beyond belief. Communities were mobilized, networks of organizers established and the demand for justice clear.

The New York Time editorial today described Wisconsin as a “laboratory” for the right-wing saying, “… from the beginning, the money behind Governor Walker was intended to turn a once-reliable blue state into a laboratory for Republican ideas, where business could grow free of union fetters, taxes could be cut and thousands of people could be removed from Medicaid rolls.

That’s why David Koch, the billionaire industrialist whose family money was crucial to Mr. Walker’s election in 2010, gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association this year, which, in turn, ran ads supporting Mr. Walker. Mr. Koch said Mr. Walker’s fight against public unions was ‘critically important.’

The future of Wisconsin depends on our efforts on the ground and in communities to show our fellow Wisconsinites the betrayal of Walker’s policies. Voting rights are being decimated. Health care for the poor and elderly is being slashed. Women’s rights are under attack. Privatization is pervading public education. And where are the “Walker jobs?”

We must turn the Wisconsin “laboratory” into a haven for democracy. Keep up the fight!

Reverend King said, “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

(more…)

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June 5, 2012

Milwaukee Voter Turnout Huge

Filed under: Recall,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 12:44 pm

I was at the old Douglas building, 3600 N 18th St, this morning and 625 people had  voted by 11 AM with a constant line of 50 waiting to register and to vote. Awesome!
Extra poll workers were sent to polling places at Becher Terrace, Bradley Tech High School, Keenan Health Center, Morse Middle School, Rufus King International School Middle Years Campus and Cass Street, 53rd Street, Grantosa and Parkview schools, said Sue Edman, the election commission’s executive director.

May 21, 2012

Milwaukee: You Can Vote Now to Get Scott Walker Out of Office!

Filed under: Recall,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 8:31 pm

End the vile right-wing agenda. Set an example to the America and the world.

Vote Now.

*Hours of Operation for City of Milwaukee below:

In-person dates and times:

  • Monday, May 21 – Friday, May 25, 8:30 am – 7:00 pm;
  • Saturday, May 26, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm;
  • Sunday, May 27, 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm;
  • MEMORIAL DAY Monday, May 28, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon;
  • Tuesday, May 29 – Thursday, May 31, 8:30 am – 7:00 pm;
  • Friday, June 1, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.
  • Location: Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway, Room 102
  • Request a ballot by mail: May 31, 2012, 5:00 pm is the deadline for electors to request absentee ballots by mail for the Recall Election.
  • *For other municipalities please call them directly for hours of operation.

May 11, 2012

Walker’s Treachery Exposed Once Again

Filed under: Recall,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 9:12 am

(View Walker telling Beloit Billionaire that he will make Wisconsin a non-union state using “divide and conquer” tactics:

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/in-film-walker-talks-of-divide-and-conquer-strategy-with-unions-8o57h6f-151049555.html)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 5/11/12

Madison – A filmmaker released a video Thursday that shows Gov. Scott Walker saying he would use “divide and conquer” as a strategy against unions.

Walker made the comments to Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, who has since given $510,000 to the governor’s campaign – making her Walker’s single-largest donor and the largest known donor to a candidate in state history.

The filmmaker has done work on Democratic campaigns and gave $100 in 2010 to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker’s challenger in the June 5 recall election.

In the video shot on Jan. 18, 2011 – shortly before Walker’s controversial budget-repair bill was introduced and spawned mass protests – Hendricks asked the governor whether he could make Wisconsin a “completely red state, and work on these unions, and become a right-to-work” state. The Republican donor was referring to right-to-work laws, which prohibit private-sector unions from compelling workers to pay union dues if the workers choose not to belong to the union.

Walker replied that his “first step” would be “to divide and conquer” through his budget-adjustment bill, which curtailed most collective bargaining for most public employee unions.

Video for documentary

Documentary filmmaker Brad Lichtenstein, who says he captures both sides in his work, videotaped the conversation that Walker had with Hendricks and Mary Willmer-Sheedy, a community bank president for M&I Bank. The filmmaker was recording what Willmer-Sheedy and others in Janesville were doing to try to create jobs in an area hard hit by the shutdown of its General Motors plant and related businesses.

In the video, Hendricks told Walker she wanted to discuss “controversial” subjects away from reporters, asking him:

“Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions -”

“Oh, yeah,” Walker broke in.

“- and become a right-to-work?” Hendricks continued. “What can we do to help you?”

“Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill,” Walker said. “The first step is we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.”

The entire conversation was not released Thursday with a video trailer of the documentary, but Journal Sentinel reporters were allowed to view the raw footage.

“So for us,” the governor continues, “the base we get for that is the fact that we’ve got – budgetarily we can’t afford not to. If we have collective bargaining agreements in place, there’s no way not only the state but local governments can balance things out. . . . That opens the door once we do that. That’s your bigger problem right there.”

He goes on to talk about curbing liability lawsuits and government regulations.

Right-to-work issue

Walker co-sponsored right-to-work legislation in 1993 as a freshman in the state Assembly, but as governor has consistently downplayed seeking any restrictions on private unions in public statements.

“From our standpoint, it’s never going to get to me,” Walker said of right-to-work legislation in an interview with the Journal Sentinel on April 27. “Private sector unions are my partner in economic development.”

Walker, however, has repeatedly declined to say whether he would sign or veto a right-to-work bill if passed by the Legislature. Supporters say right-to-work bills give more freedom to workers and make it more attractive for companies to invest and hire employees in a state. Opponents say they undermine unions and workers’ wages and don’t help the economy.

In response to the documentary trailer, Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said Thursday that the governor’s position on right to work was clear.

“Governor Walker has made clear repeatedly that he does not have an interest in pushing right-to-work legislation,” Matthews said.

The taped conversation occurred at the Beloit headquarters of ABC Supply, the roofing wholesaler and siding distributor Hendricks founded with her husband, Ken, who died in a 2007 fall. Walker was there to attend a meeting of the economic development group Rock County 5.0, which Hendricks co-chairs.

Lichtenstein videotaped the conversation that Walker had with Hendricks and Rock County 5.0’s other co-chairwoman, Willmer-Sheedy.

Hendricks did not return phone messages seeking comment. In a brief email Thursday, Willmer-Sheedy said the conversation was a private one between Walker and Hendricks and that she had nothing to add to it.

Lichtenstein is now promoting his finished documentary, “As Goes Janesville,” which is expected to be shown at film festivals and on PBS stations this fall.

Lichtenstein was preparing to film a Rock County 5.0 meeting that Walker was to attend when Hendricks said she was going to greet Walker personally when he came in. Lichtenstein said he asked to join her and she agreed.

On Thursday, Barrett said Walker’s exchange with Hendricks shows the governor will say one thing to the public and another to his top-tier donors.

“This is another colossal bait and switch that goes directly to his honesty,” Barrett said. “What he claims he is not in favor of publicly, to the person who has made the largest contribution in state history, he says exactly the opposite. You can’t trust him.”

Barrett has been hammering Walker on right-to-work legislation for weeks, frequently using the phrase “divide and conquer.” Barrett said he used that term because he believed that was Walker’s strategy, but did not know until Thursday that Walker himself had used it.

Union manager troubled

In the 2010 campaign, Walker won the support of Operating Engineers Local 139, a union that represents about 9,000 heavy equipment operators in Wisconsin. The union is not endorsing anyone in this year’s recall election.

Terry McGowan, the union’s business manager, said the union gave its 2010 endorsement only after getting assurances Walker would not pursue right-to-work legislation. The union backed Walker because of his support for road building done by the group’s members, McGowan said.

He said Thursday he was troubled by the footage of Walker with Hendricks, but that he was continuing to take Walker at his word given his public statements and conversations he has had with him.

“You don’t hear him say, ‘Yes, I’m going to go after right-to-work legislation,’ ” McGowan said of the video.

But he added that divide and conquer is a phrase that is anathema to those in the labor movement.

“It means turning worker against worker,” he said.

Hendricks, whose net worth Forbes Magazine estimates to be $2.8 billion, has a strong history of supporting conservative causes and Republican candidates. Not including donations to Walker, Hendricks and her husband, Ken, since 1997 have contributed just over $500,000 to political candidates and committees in races ranging from the state Assembly to the presidency, with the overwhelming majority going to Republicans, according to federal data as well as state data compiled by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Between 2009 and 2011, Hendricks gave $19,100 to Walker. That included a $10,000 donation – the maximum at that time for a four-year election cycle – that was made on Feb. 1, 2011, about two weeks after the personal meeting with Walker.

Because Walker faces a recall, a quirk in state law allowed supporters such as Hendricks for a time to donate unlimited sums to the governor’s campaign for certain expenses. Last month, Hendricks contributed $500,000 to Walker, bringing her total donations to him to $519,100 and the donations by her and Ken to all candidates to more than $1 million.

On Feb. 16, 2011 – about one month after her meeting with Walker and five days after the governor unveiled his public union bill – Hendricks’ company, ABC Supply, gave $25,000 to the Republican Governors Association. The association has run ads in support of Walker.

Ben Poston, Bill Glauber and Steve Schultze of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this article.

 

May 4, 2012

State Rep. Tamara Grigsby Exposes Walker on Milwaukee Economic Development Plan for Poor Communities

Filed under: Recall,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 2:45 pm

May 3, 2012                                                                                  Rep. Tamara Grigsby at (608) 266-0645

Grigsby Questions Walker’s Milwaukee Initiative
Calls for Walker to revisit economic development opportunities

Madison – Today Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) expressed her hope that economic development efforts aimed at Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods are thoughtfully planned so as to take advantage of existing tools and investments.

Grigsby, a ranking member of the Joint Finance Committee, is reflecting on a plan that Governor Walker unveiled on Monday to provide $100 million dollars in loans, tax credits, and aid for housing, business development, and other central city projects. Secretary of the State Department of Workforce Development Reggie Newson says he hopes to find additional funding to complete a job skills survey and build a job training center in or near the 30th Street Corridor. However, some question whether money isn’t better spent welcoming companies that want to do business in Milwaukee rather than training people for jobs that don’t exist.

“I can only describe Governor Walker’s plan as strange and speculative. I’m looking at 70% black male unemployment in some of my wards in Milwaukee. First Walker rejected $810 million in funds that would join Milwaukee and Madison with high-speed rail. Then he effectively told a manufacturing company looking to expand and provide more high-quality jobs in the very area that the he cites as needing attention that we were not interested in its business,” said Grigsby.

Grigsby is referring to Talgo Trains, which recently downsized its manufacturing facility in the 30th Street Corridor as a result of the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee’s decision to deny $2.5 million in funding for a permanent maintenance facility for the new train sets. Republican Representative Robin Vos reasoned it made more sense to put trains that had already been manufactured at an estimated cost of $71.8 million into storage rather than invest in a permanent maintenance facility. However, market data shows that that the upgraded train service, which is now on hold, would expand ridership and profitability of the Milwaukee-Chicago route.

“It is bad policy to snub whole job-producing industries. Furthermore, robust and reliable transportation to our economic centers, which expanded and upgraded train service would provide, is a crucial component of any long-term economic development plan. Experience and data show this; businesses and workers in Milwaukee know this,” said Grigsby. “Governor Walker and the Republican members of the Joint Finance Committee are wearing their ideological blinders, and this has resulted in squandered opportunities, fewer jobs, and a weak economy. I can’t help but think that this ‘new’ plan for Milwaukee is just another gimmick to improve Walker’s image.”

April 16, 2012

Democrats Running for Governor Need to Fully Support Public Education

Filed under: Elections,Public Education,Recall — millerlf @ 6:21 pm

Removing the Walker regime is within the grasp of Wisconsin voters. Walker’s policies, if allowed to continue, will make pain and suffering the order of the day for many people, while corporations and the wealthy will flourish.

As an advocate of public education, working for over 80,000 Milwaukee students, my goal is to steer education policy and funding away from privatization, and toward teaching all students with equity in funding and resources.

The past two years have seen education used as a political football to advance schemes that have nothing to do with improving the lives of all Wisconsin’s children. There was an attempt to take over Milwaukee Public Schools. With the new legislature coming to office in 2011, private school vouchers have been expanded, along with a move toward universal vouchers. The charter movement is working to flood the Milwaukee education market with so-called “miracle” schools.

Democrats should support public education at all levels because –

  1. An educated population is the cornerstone of democracy. This nation’s well-being depends on the decisions of its educated, informed citizens.
  2. Education reduces costs to taxpayers. For every dollar spent to keep a child in school, the future costs of welfare, prison, and intervention services are reduced. It can cost less to educate a child now than to support a teenage parent or a repeat offender in the future. Education monies help to secure the future of all citizens.
  3. Public schools are the only schools that must meet the needs of all students. They do not turn children or families away. Public schools serve children with physical, emotional, and mental disabilities, those who are extremely gifted and those who are learning challenged, right along with children without special needs.
  4.  Public schools foster interactions and understanding among people of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  5. “Education is the best provision for old age”– Aristotle. The future support of our aging population depends on strong public schools.
  6. More than 95 percent of our future jobs will require at least a high school education. There is no question about the need for an educated work force.
  7. The nation pays a high price for poorly educated workers. When retraining and remediation are needed to prepare a worker to do even simple tasks, the cost is paid by both employers and consumers.
  8. The cost of dropouts affects us all. This nation loses more than $240 billion per year in earnings and taxes that dropouts would have generated over their lifetimes. Well-supported public schools can engage all students in learning and graduate productive and competent citizens.
  9. Children are our nation’s future. Their development affects all of us. Good education is not cheap, but ignorance costs far more.
  10. Public education is a worthy investment for public funds. We can invest now, or we can pay later.

April 3, 2012

Why Scott Walker Is Avoiding Mitt Romney

Filed under: Recall,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 1:55 pm

John Nichols The Nation April 2, 2012

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker toured the state on the eve of Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary, he visited many of the same cities and regions where Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were campaigning.

But Walker scrupulously avoided visiting those communities at the same time as the candidates.

There’s a reason for the embattled governor’s avoidance of the Republicans who would be president. And there’s also a reason why they might want to avoid being seen with him.

The arrival of the Republican presidential campaign in Wisconsin serves to emphasize the governor’s rigid adherence to the dictates of the same corporate donors who have made the Romney, Santorum and Newt Gingrich campaigns possible. Indeed, the presidential candidates are going out of their way to remind voters that Scott Walker is the local embodiment of the “Wall Street first” ethos that defines the GOP these days.

That’s a problem for the governor, who wants to appeal to moderate and independent voters in the June 5 recall election that could remove him from office. But that won’t shut up Romney, Santorum and Gingrich. Unlike Ron Paul, who is appealing to independent voters and has not talked much about Walker, Romney and Santorum have talked about almost nothing but Walker as they have appealed to the narrow base of Republican die-hards who will participate in what’s likely to be a low-turnout April 3 primary.

Romney and Santorum think that the way to win Wisconsin’s Republican primary on April 3 is to position themselves as big backers of Governor Scott Walker’s anti-labor agenda.

Romney’s major appearance in the vicinity of the state’s second largest city, Madison, was on Saturday at a suburban call center where Walker backers are trying—in  preparation for the recall race—to identify supporters of the governor. Romney used the event, as he has others across the state, to hail Walker as a “hero.”

Santorum, who actually made calls at a Walker office last week, has been even more effusive in his praise of the embattled governor, telling crowds they have to work to prevent the recalls of Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. “Please continue to lead and defend these two great public officials,” he told the crowd in Waukesha County.

But you won’t hear Walker thanking the presidential candidates for their support. Even when the governor is in the vicinity of the GOP contenders—at party functions, for instance—he leaves a good distance between himself and Romney and Santorum. And as the primary approaches, Walker is scheduling himself away from the candidates.

Why? Because the governor recognizes that he is in the fight of his political life, and the last thing he wants is to reemphasize why that fight has developed by appearing with Republican presidential candidates who are highlighting precisely the policies that got Walker in political hot water.

Republican operatives quietly acknowledge that the governor would prefer that the GOP contenders talk about anything but fights with unions—and assaults on collective bargaining rights.

But the candidates are going there—aggressively.

Romney poured money into buying automated “robo-calls,” which are going into the homes of Republican, independent and even Democratic homes with anti-union messages. “As you know the fight against big labor led by Gov. Walker isn’t over, here in Wisconsin,” say the Romney calls. “I was shocked to find out that Rick Santorum repeatedly supported big labor and joined with liberal Democrats in voting against right-to-work legislation during his time in Washington.”

In the “am-too, am-not” debate that characterizes the Republican race, Santorum replies: “Calling Rick Santorum a friend of labor is like calling Mitt Romney a conservative. Neither are true.”

There’s a reason why the GOP contenders are stumbling over one another to out-Walker Walker. “Let’s face it, this presidential primary is different from any other because it’s taking the backseat politically to the recall, and it’s completely different,” says former state Senator Ted Kanavas, a key Romney backer. “It’s the only state in the union, I can guarantee you, where presidential politics isn’t as important as something else. The recall’s all people are talking about politically.”

So the candidates are trying to tap into the energy among conservatives who are focused on the recall race.

To that end, Romney has cut new television advertisements that align his message with that of Walker’s austerity agenda, closing with the former Massachusetts governor declaring: “It’s high time to bring those principles of fiscal responsibility to Washington, D.C.”

Santorum came into Wisconsin sounding the same theme. “Of course I’m looking forward to doing whatever I can (to aid Walker),” he says. “I think we’re going to maybe try to swing by throughout the week one of the call centers here to try to help the governor and his effort. As someone who understands tough political fights and someone who stood up to the establishment as this governor has done, we want to give every bit of support we can to someone who has the courage to confront the tough issues. And it shows you we’re willing to do the same kind of thing in Washington, D.C.”

In a sense, Gingrich is going his opponents one better. When I interviewed Gingrich about Walker, he said he’d be glad to come campaign for the governor—or to stay away, if that would be more helpful. “Scott Walker’s fight in Wisconsin has made him a national leader on issues important to Republicans. Of course I would campaign for him,” the former speaker said. “But I would only do that if he asked me. If he didn’t want supporters coming in from outside the state, I’d respect that.”

For all his bombast, Gingrich is actually the smartest of the Republican contenders—as his comment illustrates.

Walker is in trouble in Wisconsin for a lot of reasons. But above all, there is a sense that he has governed not as a servant of the people of Wisconsin but as an errand boy for billionaire conservative donors such as David and Charles Koch and the national movements they fund. Instead of developing ideas that respond to the ideals and demands of Wisconsinites, Walker’s always rushing off to Washington or New York or Texas or Arizona or Florida to consult with right-wing “think tanks”—and, of course, to collect checks for a campaign that, according to its latest report, took in 61 percent of its money from out of state.

Walker is mounting a multimillion-dollar advertising blitz—funded with all that out-of-state money—to foster the fantasy that he is trying to do right by Wisconsin. The last thing he needs is a bunch of Republican presidential candidates reminding Wisconsinites that their governor is not thinking for himself; he’s parroting the same right-wing groupthink as the GOP presidential candidates. Polls suggest most Americans—including a good many Republicans—recognize that agenda as a sellout to corporate CEOs and Wall Street speculators.

Walker will be a very happy man when the Republicans who would be president exit the state on April 3. And he won’t be inviting any of them—not even Newt Gingrich—back before the recall election.

After the recall election, of course, it will be different. Walker could well have all the time in the world to spend with Romney, Santorum and Gingrich. By that point, however, the Republican contenders might not be that interested in being seen with Walker. It’s not just that governors who are recalled tend to lose a lot of their appeal as political “heroes.” It’s also that Walker, in addition to a reelection campaign fund, also has a legal defense fund.

The governor recently hired a pair of top criminal-defense lawyers to help him respond to an investigation that has already yielded multiple felony charges against his aides and campaign contributors, might be carrying a lot more baggage than an election defeat by the time the Republican National Convention rolls around.

John Nichols’s new book on protests and politics is Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, just out from Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

 

December 4, 2011

Recall Argument That Makes Real Sense

Filed under: Recall,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 1:26 pm

A recall effort to preserve rights

Wisconsin residents fervently want their government to do what’s best for the state. But many disagree on what that is.
By Peggy Williams Dec. 1, 2011 |(310) Comments MJS

There has been much debate in the media as to whether there should be a recall of Gov. Scott Walker. Here is why I want to see a recall.

It’s not because the governor is slashing the education budget; other governors before him have done the same, even Democratic ones. It’s not because he is cutting health care for many in the state who need it; this country has long denied the poorest of its citizenry access to basic health care.

It’s not because he’s supposedly balancing the budget on the backs of teachers and other public employees by requiring them to pay more for their health care and pensions, thus eroding their take-home pay. None of those are the reasons I want to recall this governor.

There is something bigger going on in our country, something insidious that is undermining the very fabric of our democracy nationwide. And Walker, whether purposefully or because he is an unwitting puppet, is part of it.

The Republicans thought they had finally attained Karl Rove’s vision of a “permanent Republican majority” when George W. Bush was handed the presidency by the Supreme Court in the 2000 election. Imagine their surprise when Democrat Barack Obama was elected in 2008.

So, the behind-the-scenes power brokers and the political action committees with big corporate money geared up and in 2010 helped states elect a large group of governors and state legislators who would take their marching orders. Those marching orders include legislation to end collective bargaining state by state and, thus, to quell one powerful voice of the people. Those marching orders also include legislation to make it more difficult for people who tend to vote for Democrats to vote at all.

Around the country, Republican-led legislatures began redrawing district boundaries to keep Republicans in power. In Arizona, where the people chose (via referendum) to have a bipartisan commission draw their lines, the Republican governor moved to have the chairwoman of the commission removed because she didn’t like the way they were drawing the lines (the court overruled that governor).

The Republican governor of Michigan signed a law giving him the right to declare a municipality or city to be in “financial crisis” and then to appoint a private-sector manager who would take over that municipality. The manager could dismiss elected officials!

There is an egregious takeover of our democracy by people who hold economic power. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision gave corporations the ability to buy elections. One individual, Grover Norquist, has somehow gotten a significant number of Republican legislators (both state and federal) to sign his pledge to do what he demands, rather than what is right for constituents. He apparently holds the purse strings to their re-elections, and somehow that is legal. And no one seems to be able to do anything about it.

So, why do I want to recall Walker? Because I can. Because my rights as an individual elector in our grand, 200-year-old experiment in democracy are being systematically and systemically eroded. If I don’t do something now to preserve our democracy, I will lose the ability to effect any change in the future.

The people of Wisconsin spoke last spring when they rallied week after week. They said they want our democracy preserved. It begins by preserving our right to collectively bargain. Because without that right, we have no voice.

Those rallies emboldened the Wisconsin electorate to recall two Republican state senators this past summer. The recall of those senators emboldened the people of Ohio to overturn an anti-collective bargaining law in November, as well the people of Michigan to recall one senator, the people of Mississippi to reject a “personhood referendum” and the people of Maine to demand that same-day voter registration be allowed in defiance of their governor’s signed law to repeal it. The people are choosing to take back their democracy.

Yes, the recall here will be expensive. Democracy does not come cheap. Yes, Walker was voted in by the people a year ago. But that was under false pretenses funded by corporate denizens. And, no, we cannot wait until his term is over in 2014. If we wait that long, this governor and the people who bought his election will have further eroded our democracy and the ability of the people to have a say in how we are governed.

If we are successful in changing who sits in the governor’s seat in Wisconsin, that – added to what Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi, Maine and other states are doing – will send a clear message to the corporatists that we will not accept their form of government. And it will embolden other citizens to take action.

Democracy is precious to me. It is why I am proud to be an American. I have a voice today. If I do not exercise that voice now, I may lose the ability to exercise it tomorrow. This is why I am working to recall Walker. I am working to preserve our democracy.

Peggy Williams of Madison is a public school teacher and a freelance writer.

August 12, 2011

What Do the Senate Recall Results Mean for Recalling Walker?

Filed under: Recall — millerlf @ 9:07 am

Conclusion: Onward to Recall Walker!

The Wisconsin  recalls of Republican senators were held in 5 Republican dominated districts and 1 district evenly split between parties.

There was a 7% swing from Republican support to Democrat support in those districts.

200,000 signatures were collected in those 6 districts alone. 540,206 signatures are needed to recall Walker.

At this time one of the groups leading the recall effort, United Wisconsin, has 193,713 pledges from citizens to work for the recall. (Visit their website at http://www.unitedwisconsin.com/united-wisconsin-frequently-asked-questions )

A recall referendum in which the whole state would vote could have a completely different outcome.

Milwaukee, Madison and LaCrosse, if mobilized, could be the difference in removing Walker.

If the Democrats offer a viable candidate like Russ Feingold, victory is within our grasp.

Following is an article from Politico.com.

Walker recall expected to proceed

By DAVID CATANESE | 8/10/11 Politico

MADISON, Wis. — Democrats are forging ahead with efforts to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next year, one day after losing four of six recall elections to oust GOP state senators.

The Tuesday night losses left Democrats a single seat short of overturning GOP control of the state’s upper chamber, though Democratic officials and operatives on the ground insisted Wednesday that their two wins in Republican-leaning areas exposed Walker’s weaknesses.

“If we can do all of this against entrenched Republicans on their own turf, imagine our success … when all of Wisconsin can have its voice heard on Gov. Walker’s extreme, divisive agenda,” Wisconsin state party chairman Mike Tate wrote in a memo to reporters Wednesday.

“The historic gains made tonight to restore balance and accountability to our state, and restore Wisconsin values, will continue when the entire state weighs in on the November 2012 elections – and with the recall of Scott Walker himself,” Tate said.

Standing before a cheering crowd of partisans on the Majestic Theatre stage late Tuesday — when it was still uncertain whether Democrats would flip control of the Senate — an animated Tate was even more defiant: “We will not stop, we will not rest, until we recall Scott Walker from the state of Wisconsin.”

Both of the districts in which Democrats prevailed Tuesday Walker carried in 2010 — though in Senate District 32, where Democrat Jennifer Shilling easily unseated incumbent Dan Kapanke, Walker’s margin was a single point.

In the remaining four races, the first-term Republican governor notched between 54 and 58 percent. GOP incumbents matched or bested Walker’s performance in three of the four districts they defended.

Despite the Democratic losses, Madison-based Democratic pollster Nathan Henry calculates that the party achieved a 7 percent swing in its direction.

“For the most part, these are districts where Walker and other Republicans need to run up huge margins to win statewide, and what we saw last night was a pretty dramatic shift toward Democrats. I think most folks see what happened yesterday as simply the first shots in a much longer battle,” Henry said.

The best example of a Democrat exceeding traditional performance was in Senate District 14, a mostly rural district where Rep. Fred Clark came within 4 points of 16-year GOP incumbent Luther Olsen.

In 2010, Walker won the sprawling area — which stretches from Baraboo northeast toward the Green Bay suburbs — with 57 percent. Last night, Olsen escaped with just 52 percent.

Forcing Walker to run in a presidential year and to defend his record in more urban, liberal areas like Milwaukee, Madison and La Crosse would change the calculus, Democrats argue.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0811/61029.html#ixzz1Ue0vMmQ6

To read Craig Gilberts summary of the election in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel go to:

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/127456963.html

May 5, 2011

La Crosse Assembly Result Means a Fight for GOP Senator

Filed under: Recall,Scott Walker — millerlf @ 7:18 am

Seat won by Democrat is 1 of 3 in Kapanke’s district

By Patrick Marley of the Journal Sentinel May 4, 2011
Madison — The Democratic victory Tuesday in a special election for a La Crosse-area Assembly seat is the latest sign of trouble for Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke as opponents try to recall him.

La Crosse County Board Chairman Steve Doyle was elected Tuesday to the Assembly, defeating home builder John Lautz to take a seat that had been in Republican hands since 1994. The special election was held after Republican Gov. Scott Walker tapped Rep. Mike Huebsch to run the state Department of Administration and serve as his chief adviser.

It is one of three Assembly districts within Kapanke’s Senate district. One of the other districts is represented by Democratic Rep. Jennifer Shilling, who plans to run against Kapanke if a recall election is held. Both Kapanke and Shilling are from La Crosse.

Kapanke is one of nine senators – six Republicans and three Democrats – who are under threat of recall.

Two more candidates emerged Wednesday to run against incumbents. Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) plans to run against Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and will formally announce that this week, sources said.

Pasch could not be reached for comment. Former Rep. Sheldon Wasserman, who unsuccessfully ran against Darling in 2008, has considered running. On Wednesday, he wouldn’t say if he’d run or not, but he said he and Pasch would both talk at a news conference Friday in Whitefish Bay, which is her hometown.

Meanwhile, in the race against Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Conover), recall organizer Kim Simac released a statement saying she’d run against Holperin.

The recall attempts took root after the Republican-run Legislature approved Walker’s plan to limit collective bargaining for public workers and Senate Democrats left the state for three weeks to try to prevent action on it. The legislation is now tied up in court.

The state Government Accountability Board will determine in the coming weeks whether petitions were properly filed to recall the senators. Barring legal challenges, most of the elections would be held July 12.

Kapanke is considered one of the most vulnerable senators, and Democrats seized on Doyle’s win as a sign they had momentum.

“It signals that people are having a pretty negative reaction to what’s happening in Madison,” said Gillian Morris, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party.

Shilling said the victory was a “strong momentum builder” for her campaign against Kapanke, but she added, “I’m not taking anything for granted.”

Kapanke said he’s always had tough races and expects to again this time. Outside special interest money also will likely pour into the race, both he and Shilling said.

“I expect this to be a close race and that there’ll be third-party participation, and I expect to work as hard as ever,” Kapanke said.

Bill Feehan, chairman of the La Crosse County Republican Party and a La Crosse County supervisor, attributed the loss of the Assembly seat to Doyle’s better name recognition, which helped particularly in a short campaign.

Democrats also benefited from their efforts to get their base to the polls, he said.

“The political pendulum swings back and forth. Right now their party is more active than ours is,” he said.

But he said the parallels to Kapanke’s recall election are limited.

“This isn’t a political newcomer taking on a political veteran,” Feehan said. “I think it’s going to be a very different race. I think it’s going to be very close.”

Joe Heim, a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse political scientist, said Doyle’s win is a sign that Shilling has a slight edge in the race against Kapanke. He said Doyle’s victory also can be seen as a sign that Democrats in other recall contests have an advantage because of the support they are getting from labor groups.

“It appears to me right now the forces of labor have good memories,” he said.

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