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Wis. governor survives recall vote, defeating Dem, union antagonists



Published: Tue, June 5, 2012 @ 10:24 p.m.

MADISON, Wis.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall challenge Tuesday, winning both the right to finish his term and a voter endorsement of his strategy to curb state spending, which included the explosive measure that eliminated union rights for most public workers.

The rising Republican star becomes the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall attempt by defeating Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the union leaders who rallied for months against his agenda.

Democrats and organized labor spent millions to oust Walker, but found themselves hopelessly outspent by Republicans from across the country who donated record-setting sums to Walker. Republicans hope the victory carries over into November and that their get-out-the-vote effort can help Mitt Romney become the first GOP nominee to carry the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The recall was a rematch of the 2010 governor’s race. Throughout the campaign, Walker maintained his policies set the state on the right economic track. Defeat, he said, would keep other politicians from undertaking such bold moves in the future.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” Walker said many times. “We’re turning things around. We’re moving Wisconsin forward.”

Barrett repeatedly accused Walker of neglecting the needs of the state in the interests of furthering his own political career by making Wisconsin “the tea party capital of the country.” He said Walker had instigated a political civil war in Wisconsin that could be quelled only by a change in leadership.

“I will end this civil war,” Barrett promised in a debate. “That is something the people of this state want.”

Walker ascended into the national spotlight last year when he surprised the state and unveiled plans to plug a $3.6 billion budget shortfall in part by taking away the union rights of most public workers and requiring them to pay more for their health insurance and pension benefits. It was one of his first moves in office.

Democrats and labor leaders saw it as a political tactic designed to gut the power of his political opposition. State Senate Democrats left Wisconsin for three weeks in a sort of filibuster, as tens of thousands of teachers, state workers and others rallied at the Capitol in protest.

But the tea-party supported fiscal conservative remained steadfast: Walker believed his plan would help him control the state budget, and his opponents could not stop Republicans who control the state Legislature from approving his plans.

Walker went on to sign into law several other measures that fueled calls for a recall, including repealing a law giving discrimination victims more ways to sue for damages, making deep cuts to public schools and higher education, and requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Both sides mobilized thousands of people and millions of dollars to influence voters, whom polls showed were more divided than ever. Signs calling for Walker’s removal and those supporting the 44-year-old son of a minister dotted the state’s landscape all spring at a time normally devoid of political contests.

Turnout was strong across the state with few problems reported as some voters waited in line to cast their ballots.

“Typically we wait until 5 in the afternoon, but we were chomping at the bit to just get it over and done with because I think it has been an unjust campaign waged against the governor,” said Jeff Naunheim, a warranty analyst from St. Francis who voted for Walker first thing Tuesday.

Naunheim said the recall was a waste of money.

“I think the Wisconsin voters voted in 2010 to vote Walker in,” he said. “I don’t think he did anything illegal.”

Barrett supporter Lisa Switzer of Sun Prairie said Walker went too far.

“Even if it doesn’t turn out the way we want it to, it proves a point,” said Switzer, an occupational therapist and single mother on BadgerCare, the state’s health insurance program for the working poor. “People in Wisconsin aren’t just going to stand by and let a governor take over the state and cut social services.”


Comments

1georgejeanie(849 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Another great victory for a true conservative. When will Ytown wake up and see what the rest of the country is enjoying, the rebirth of the United States of America. Enough of the welfare state which is what President Obama and his administration want. He is a socialist and must be defeated in November.

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2howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

All this going on while Mitt Romney is raising big bucks in the home of a Texas billionaire who owns 2 paintings by Adolf Hitler and a autographed copy of "Mein Kampf" These items will be on display in the room where the fundraiser will take place.

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3Traveler(606 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Its funny unions need democrats in office to get government contracts but democrats nether care or need unions.

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4UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

The silent majority are just getting started. We the makers are sick and tired of giving to the takers while they multiply and demand more. The entitled of the inner city of Milwaukee, community organized their welfare class to beat the common folk, but the productive rural and suburban people have had it. We have watched as the subsidized hood rats continue to want more. We are disgusted with feeding the beast as they SUCK up more energy for free. "Long Live Free Enterprise!"

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5republicanRick(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

A great night for American freedom!

Maybe now, cities and school districts can get the all-powerfull unions under control and bring prosperity and spending control back for the average American taxpayer.

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6republicanRick(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

theotherside -- good points, But, domineering big business AND domineering public unions are BOTH bad for the American public.

We live NOW in an age of overbearing and all-powerful public unions that are destroying cities and school districts with their greedy demands and onerous work rules.

We must fight the enemy in front of us -- and in today's world the public unions are the worst of the two.

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7JoeFromHubbard(1071 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

@ theotherside:

> > >realize that corporate America doesn't want to just be left alone to do business. They want to own everything, including you.< < <

No, they just want your business, for you to be their customer. People are beginning to realize that the "big bad" corporations are what drive our economy and give them jobs.

Walker's win says a lot about how the majority of people really feel about being financially drained by excessive government and union demands.

Fear not, the working standards sought and attained by organized labor of bygone years will largely remain in place. Some of the excesses will be trimmed but the basic principles will remain.

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8greene(167 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

The UnHoly trinity, Dems, Unions, the Vindy.

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9UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Education, you seem like a good person and are interested in the truth. With due respect, it is exactly the teachers,nurses,policemen and fireman too that are entitled. Many in my family are teachers and nurses, but I will with sadness in my heart say that they have become the problem inadvertently. You see the global economy has produced these same professionals in other countries and they are willing to out compete these same professionals for their jobs and this is what WE and America has exported to the world, free enterprise. If a doctor in Spain has the same qualifications as a doctor in the US and the the Spanish doctor is willing to work in the US for 40% less, this is what is happening. And no, protectionism was tried many times and failed. There is no monopoly anymore on teachers, police, etc. the Unions sadly demand wages at a higher value than the free market. This is why America without monopolies, is just another workplace. This is why corporations have vanished here. If you have a business and you must compete with the world, unless you are Facebook or the only company that makes cars, you will move to a country where you can compete.

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10republicanRick(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Educationvoter, thanks for being a teacher and yes you were underpaid 25 years ago.

But now it's different. You are in your late 50's with a guaranteed pension of $ 49,000 per year, cost of living increases, and paid up hospitalization.

I would need $ 1,700,000 in my retirement fund to match you...and I need to work longer (age 65)...and I never had summers off.

Yes, you made sacrifices in the past and had some rough patches...WE ALL DID. You have no idea what's going on in the private sector.

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11walter_sobchak(1928 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Education_Voter,
Really? You want to compare teaching with firemen and police? You go into burning buildings or walk down dark alleys to possibly get shot at? I don't see what being in a teacher's union has to do with being spit at or spending your free time to make sure students get what they need. You are paid on a contract basis to educate students during a specified period of time. Plus, you get to work a steady shift, weekends and holidays off, with plenty of vacation time.

So, when you decided to get into education, you didn't know the lay of the land? Doesn't seem fair to me that the person teaching advanced courses such as chemistry, physics, etc should be compensated the same as someone that teaches health class or physical education. All in all, for a career, teachers are now doing just fine. Put in your time, stay out of trouble, pass on your problems, and retire at a decent age. Oh, and maybe you can even do some double dipping at some point.

Remember, those that can, do; those that can't, teach; those that can't teach, teach gym. And, maybe that young idealistic worker that takes your place will be a man!

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12peacelover(791 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

walter, you are so full of it.
Education_Voter -- Right On.
The Right Wing is going to take education in this country back to the 1800s.
Here's a sample of what they're doing in Louisiana.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/a...

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13youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Education, first off, Walker left out police and fire from the collective bargaining reform in Wisconsin. If Kasich would have done that, SB5 would likely still be in place. The problem is not the unionizing in the traditional sense, but the corporatizing of labor unions to form "big labor." Big labor doesn't care about the teachers. If they did, they wouldn't advocate things which contribute to the destruction of inner-city schools for example. They are more interested in promoting the democratic agenda of LGBT rights, higher taxes, universal health care, etc. I read one of my mom's NEA pamphlets and there was more pertaining to that than education! Also, the workers' freedoms were being restricted by forcing them to pay dues to advocate these issues. Why are union workers voting against their own interests?? Because for many of them, they ARENT! Unions should advocate for things like working conditions/wages/etc, but that's it. Organized labor has gotten too big for its own good and this result will certainly humble them. Expect more union households to turn Republican as well, because the Obama-style leftist Democratic party is not built on a blue-collar/labor platform.

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14republicanRick(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Maybe the Vindicator could actually do some investigative reporting and tell us --

How much have pension payments by the city of Youngstown risen in the past 10 years?

Same for Mahoning County; how much have their pension payments gone up in past 10 years?

And finally, Mill Creek Metro Parks?

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15republicanRick(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the architect of big government, was AGAINST labor unions for government employees. Even he saw that this was a conflict of interest and would lead to problems.

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16walter_sobchak(1928 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

peacelover,
Please tell me how I'm "full of it" and what "it" is. If we are going to pay teachers more because they have a Master in Education, then the minimum requirement should be M.Ed (which I believe it should be). Teaching is a pretty good gig nowadays and I encouraged my kids to become teachers and one will become one in the next year or two. But, as I told him, it will be unfortunate that he will have to pay someone for the ability to work since he will have to be a member of a union. But, the pendulum is swinging back the other way and maybe Ohio will become a right-to-work state. In any event, professionals should not be unionized like a steelworker.

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17peacelover(791 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

walter,
I'll let you take a wild guess what I mean when I say you are "full of it", you are highly educated so you love to tell us, so you can figure it out.
I am so tired of hearing people whine about how teachers make too much money. I bet you make a nice salary as an engineer. I can respect that. Why can't you respect what a teacher does? Why is educating kids worth so little in your opinion? I notice you like to make snarky comments about how easy teachers have it and how easy it is to become one. Do you have any idea what it's like to teach today's kids? Maybe you tried it once and decided it wasn't worth the money. (lots of people do that). My husband retired from teaching 31 years in the Yo. City schools, has a master's degree, and the highest salary he ever made, one year, was $46,000. For most of his career it was in the low to mid 30's.You think that's too much? What do you think a teacher like that should make? I'll tell you I have 3 kids in college right now and none of them wants to go into teaching because, as they put it,"they don't want to be poor". Now mind you, I'm not complaining. We have done OK on that salary.We live frugally. (I quit my job and became a stay at home mom after my first son was born). I hardly think a teacher's salary is a king's ransom the way some people think it is. Why do you think professionals shouldn't unionize?

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18thinkthentalk(266 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

All this proves is that an election can be bought. $31 million. And what will these donors get in return? Are you naive enough to think they spent that kind of money to help the middle class? Google and you will find a line in the walker budget to sell off state assets. In return, Kock industries can purchase Wisconsin state owned power plants for pennies on the dollar.
Congratulations neo-cons. You fell for the union busting charade hook line and sinker.

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19UticaShale(854 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Free enterprise, it's what made America great...once.

Thank the stars, the Mahoning Valley has a second chance once again to be prosperous as was its history with steel. Energy by way of capitalism will bring prosperity anew. The entitled, they will be dragged kicking and screaming to work in a free market or they will not eat.

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20VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

What everyone is overlooking is the real story...our States are broke. Our National Government is broke. The reason we are broke is simple. We are spending more than is coming in. With the slump in our economy and millions of people not working, the tax revenue stream our government depends on for income is greatly reduced. But yet, we still have to pay out the same amount of money to pay our bills. Something has to give.

If we cannot get government workers to accepts some concessions, then do the right thing...follow the union contract and lay - 'em off. Keep laying off and cutting back until our spending matches our income. If you want to sell off assets to keep workers employed, fine. Do it. That is how a business is run. Businesses don't keep employees for charity purposes and neither should our goverment.

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21VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

That is why concessions are needed. But greedy workers would rather let the government and the economy collapse than accept any concessions.

I ran into an old friend who recently retired as a school teacher. She said she got out just in time and only pays $18.00 per month for her health Insurance. Her husband is also retired and on Social Security. Oh, and btw, she and her husband just got back from vacation out west and are now leaving for their condo on the ocean in Florida. They have been renting it out during the tourist season. They also said not to worry, Obama will get re-elected because he will lower gas prices even further during this summer. Isn't it good to see the poor economy doesn't affect everyone?

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22walter_sobchak(1928 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

peacelover,
Yes, I, too have a Master's in Engineering and receive a decent salary. Actually, I am more or less on par with teachers of my age. I, like most engineers, also live frugally because we know the highs and lows of the business cycles. I'm tired of the whining that I hear from teachers that it is somehow an abomination that they should not receive pay and benefit increases and possibly should take decreases. The benefits that teachers accrue under the state system are fabulous but can't be sustained. And, yes, a degree in education is one of the easier degrees to obtain. When I was in college years ago, those students that couldn't make it in the more rigorous fields always ended up trying to get education degrees. This is unfortunate since there are some people who are blessed with the patience and determination to be fine educators. But, in any school, there are only a handful and the UNIONS protect the bozos. You and your kids are wrong. They don't want to go into teaching because "they don't want to be poor". If they go into teaching, they just won't become rich! There is a huge difference. Professionals should be made to stand on the body of their work and be compensated commensurately. Those that can't meet the requirements are told to move on and try something different. Teachers that can't produce just skate by and push their problems off on to someone else.

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231loaf(100 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

Why is it I didn't hear this out spending nonsense when Mr Obama and his minnions were buying votes by the bucket full. It is only objectionable if your side losses. Also the union bosses brought dues money from across the country to Wisconsin and spent a heck of a lot more than 4million. Hopefully folks in Ohio will wake up and smell the freedom of right to work.

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24taxme(343 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

It just amazes me that the only profession that nobody picks on is a huge part of the problem in our country. Doctors need to sacrifice $$$$$$$$$$ to bring health care cost down along with opening the boarders for health insurance.

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25FifthAve(169 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

All this election proved is that 39M bought this election by people OUTSIDE this state!

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26BabaGhanoush(106 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

takemymoneyplease:
" Doctors need to sacrifice $$$$$$$$$$ to bring health care cost down along with opening the boarders(sic) for health insurance."

Typical misunderstanding of why costs are so high.
Do you or anyone here know what is in their insurance policy and why it is there?

Here's a link that will explain why we're in the mess we are in:

http://macpamedia.org/media/downloads...

Mandates come from lobbyists colluding with the state insurance commissioner to ensure that certain things are mandatory.

If you're a man why should you pay for maternity benefits?
If you are a teetotaler why should you pay for alcohol treatment?
If you're a woman why should you pay for prostate surgery?

And it goes on:
Tattoo removal, aromatherapy, acupunture, smoking cessation or hair plugs.

Why are you not in favor of Health Savings Accounts, eh?
So you can save up when you are healthy and put that money for treatments not covered.

How about being able to take your policy when you leave a job or leave the state?

Why shouldn't you be able to keep your very own doctor if they truly know you? The bureaucracy certainly won't.

Your doctor's job is hard enough treating you in the first place, why make it harder for him by cutting his fees?

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27BabaGhanoush(106 comments)posted 2 years, 4 months ago

takemymoneyplease:
" Doctors need to sacrifice $$$$$$$$$$ to bring health care cost down along with opening the boarders(sic) for health insurance."

Typical misunderstanding of why costs are so high.
Do you or anyone here know what is in their insurance policy and why it is there?

Here's a link that will explain why we're in the mess we are in:

http://macpamedia.org/media/downloads...

Mandates come from lobbyists colluding with the state insurance commissioner to ensure that certain things are mandatory.

If you're a man why should you pay for maternity benefits?
If you are a teetotaler why should you pay for alcohol treatment?
If you're a woman why should you pay for prostate surgery?

Health insurance should be like your car insurance, you pay for the coverage that YOU choose and not what some paper shuffler thinks you should have.

And it goes on:
Tattoo removal, aromatherapy, acupunture, smoking cessation or hair plugs.

Why are you not in favor of Health Savings Accounts, eh?
So you can save up when you are healthy and put that money for treatments not covered.

How about being able to take your policy when you leave a job or leave the state?

Why shouldn't you be able to keep your very own doctor if they truly know you? The bureaucracy certainly won't.

Your doctor's job is hard enough treating you in the first place, why make it harder for him by cutting his fees?

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