Last day of petition recall drives in Wisconsin marked by protests
By Greg Janetka and Geoff Pallay
MADISON, Wisconsin: With recall petition drives in their last days, protesters returned to Madison last weekend for another round of rallies. Meanwhile allegations continue to swirl that Republicans are working to push their agenda through the legislature before the recalls occur.
The deadline for recall petitions came Monday with a failed attempt targeting Democratic state Senator Julie Lassa. An organizer for the campaign said that they were only able to collect about one-third of the signatures necessary to force a recall election. The final number for senators facing potential recall stands at 9 - 3 Democrats and 6 Republicans. Recall petition drives were started against all 16 senators who could be recalled this year, but the other seven fell short.
On Saturday, thousands gathered at the Capitol for “The Fight is Not Over Rally.” The demonstration, which was organized by We Are Wisconsin and Wisconsin Wave, was an effort to show that many are still angry over Gov. Scott Walker’s agenda, most notably his efforts to restrict collective bargaining by public employees.
A flyer for the rally declared, "We've stopped Governor Walker's plan to take away workers rights for three months -- but he is not done. He has expanded his attack to seniors, college students, local schools and more. And he is still intent on ending collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin." These sentiments were echoed by speakers at the rally, which included Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, Democratic Senator Jon Erpenbach, and former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.
Meanwhile, Democrats are criticizing Republicans for attempting to pushing specific legislation through the legislature prior to the recall elections, which, if approved by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, will most likely take place July 12. Issues on the agenda include legalizing concealed carry, telecom deregulation, requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls, and expanding the school voucher program. Republican Rep. Gary Tauchen was upfront about it, stating, “Everything’s been accelerated. We’ve got a lot of big bills we’re trying to get done.”
Shelly Moore, who recently declared herself a candidate in the recall against incumbent Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, held a conference call criticizing the Republican move. She stated, in part, “we're racing through a bunch of bills with no input whatsoever or minimal input from any members of the public, which makes you question the nature of the piece of legislation and the nature of the radical politics that are really being rushed through.”
On Monday, Rich Langan dropped his bid to replace incumbent Republican Robert Cowles in his recall race. Langan had declared his candidacy just six days earlier, but said he had to withdraw due to "an unexpected family situation." Former Brown County board member Nancy Nusbaum announced she would be replacing Langan on the Democratic ticket.
- ‘’Gazette Xtra, “Last recall drive targeting Wis. senator fails,” May 16, 2011
- ‘’Wisconsin State Journal, “Thousands gather at Capitol to ‘keep the pressure on’ Walker,” May 14, 2011
- South Central Federation of Labor, “The Fight is Not Over poster,” accessed May 16, 2011
- ‘’Lakeland Times, “Concealed carry bills roll through Legislature,” May 13, 2011
- ‘’Duluth News Tribune, “Wisconsin Legislature passes telecom deregulation,” May 12, 2011 (dead link)
- ‘’Reuters, “Wisconsin Assembly passes GOP backed voter ID bill,” May 12, 2011
- ‘’Education Week, “Wis. Assembly passes voucher expansion,” May 10, 2011 (dead link)
- ‘’Daily Caller, “Wisconsin Republicans rush agenda before recalls
- Hudson Patch, "Shelly Moore Criticizes Wisconsin Republicans for Pushing Through Agenda Before Recall Elections," May 11, 2011
- WBAY, "Rich Langan Out for Recall Bid Against Sen. Cowles... Nancy Nusbaum In?," May 16, 2011
- FOX 11, "Nusbaum to challenge Cowles in recall," May 16, 2011