|Groups gear up for Walker recall|
|Groups gear up for Walker recall|
|Written by Dan Plutchak|
|Wednesday, 16 November 2011 09:31|
From the left, Cathy Myers of the Rock County Democrats collects recall signatures from Tim Brikowski, Karla Brikowski and Jake Bailey during a Scott Walker recall kickoff rally Tuesday in the parking lot of the Rock County Job Center in Janesville. Dan Plutchak/staff
JANESVILLE — The recall Scott Walker effort kicked off statewide Wednesday as organizers race to collect the required 540,000 signatures in 60 days.
In Janesville, supporters of the recall took part in a rally in the parking lot of the Rock County Job Center on Center Avenue.
The crowd of about 100 was dominated by union members who signed recall papers, listened to speeches and shared a general displeasure for the governor.
“I think people are fed up,” said a woman who identified herself only as Chris. “He’s taken us 50 years backwards.”
A member of the United Auto Workers, she has been out of work since 2009 when Newell Rubbermaid Inc. moved its operations overseas from the Parker Pen plant in Janesville.
Whether or not the recall effort ultimately will be successful is unknown, but Walker is taking it seriously as well.
In an interview on Milwaukee’s WTMJ radio earlier in the day, Walker admitted he probably didn’t do a good enough job explaining his reasoning for the controversial budget repair bill before introducing it.
The bill, called Act 10, affects most public employees in the state. The law shifts 50 percent of retirement contributions from the employer to the employee, boosts health care contributions and eliminates nearly all provisions of collective bargaining.
Even so, Walker said there likely wasn’t much he could have done differently to avoid a recall.
He pointed out that a recall Walker website name was registered even before he took office nearly a year ago, so his opponents were planning his recall even before he introduced the bill.
The budget repair bill remains at the heart of union members' discontent with the governor, however.
Among those at the rally was a contingent of Beloit School District employees. One first-year teacher told the crowd that he lamented what he saw as a dwindling respect for teachers. “We’re rich, apparently,” he shouted though a bullhorn.
Throughout the rally, Ted Lewis, a Wisconsin Education Assoiation Council teachers union member, fired up the crowed with chants of “recall walker, recall walker.”
“I was impressed with the turnout,” Lewis said.
A similar rally is planned for today on the University of Wisconsin-Rock County campus, however Walker’s supporters didn’t plan to remain idle.
Supporters of the governor are expected to be on hand at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Thursday for a counter rally to an event called Occupy Whitewater.
Three student groups are planning the Occupy Whitewater event that included two days of rallies and education, according to a news release.
Organizers expected state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, Rep. Peter Barca and Rep. Andy Jorgenson to speak.
The American Dream movement, along with three UW-Whitewater student groups, including Forward Whitewater, the Peace Group and the College Dems, are sponsoring the event on the UW-Whitewater’s South Library Mall. Organizers are hoping for a significant number of campers to stay overnight.
In response, the UW-Whitewater College Republicans are expected to sponsor a counter rally to show that university students stand with Walker.
“For too long conservatives have ignored college campuses and allowed one point of view to dominate. No longer on our campus. In a peaceful, respectful, clear and concise way we will show our solidarity with Governor Walker and conservative reforms,” read a posting on the group’s Facebook page.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 09:50|