Democrats have been working hard over the past two weeks to reach their recall signature goal for Waupaca County.
Chair of the Waupaca County Democratic Party Pat DuChene of Iola said it has been exciting to see people step up on their own to make a difference in state politics.
DuChene described the Recall Walker petition drive as being a grassroots movement.
“There are many ways the petitions are being signed,” DuChene said. “Many people are going online to download petitions and take them out on their own, to their bowling league, etc.”
DuChene said she was surprised at how quickly volunteers have been able to collect signatures to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
“We did use our database from the Olsen recall attempt to contact those who signed,” she said, noting that volunteers had great success with this tool.
DuChene said Waupaca County volunteers learned a lot from the Olsen experience.
“I remember we had a group on Fulton Street in Waupaca and the police stopped and kindly informed us that we couldn’t be quite as enthusiastic with our effort,” DuChene said.
Volunteers now receive a short training on how to collect signatures.
Petitioners are allowed on city-owned property, including green spaces and sidewalks. While on the roadsides and city streets, volunteers are instructed to stand a fair distance from the curb or roadway. They must not be waving arms or actively jumping up and down, as to distract drivers. They are instructed not to engage in arguments and not to antagonize passersby.
Supporters from both political parties were hesitant to have their name published in the newspaper. One man returned an email, saying that until he retires, he had to stay quiet. Another said if he wanted to remain married to his wife, he couldn’t go on record.
A Democrat who wishes to remain anonymous, but who was out on the street in Waupaca, said he was sent there by the local union. He said the experience was exhilarating and he gathered 100 signatures. Many told him that they had family members or friends who were being impacted by Walker’s decisions.
He also noted that among those signing the recall petitions were a few citizens who voted for Walker, noting that they didn’t know Walker planned to destroy collective bargaining.
Ron Reynolds of the Republican Party is unhappy with the Waupaca County Democrats for wasting a “ton of money” for the state.
“In my opinion,” he said, “people should be more logical about the process. A recall should be for nothing less than malfeasance.”
Reynolds said he does not mean to be negative, but wishes the Democrats would allow Walker the four years he was elected for.
Another Republican from Waupaca who wished to remain anonymous said that when she saw the petitioners last week she thought of all the things Walker did in Milwaukee to turn around their budget, and that Democrats she had discussions with felt Walker misled them during his campaign for governor.
“He made some promises that some people didn’t take seriously, I guess because other politicians don’t usually follow their platforms once they are voted in. I give Walker credit for standing up to the pressure,” she said.
When asked how the Republicans will fight the recall, Reynolds responded, “We’ll be getting out our yard signs and bumper stickers, too. I write a lot of letters to the newspaper and they appear on the editorial page.”
Statewide, recall organizers said they collected more than 300,000 signatures during the first 12 days of the campaign. Citizens must gather 540,000 signatures within 60 days to have an election.