In January 2011, Joe Heim, a political scientist with the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse stated about Scott Walker’s campaign promises, “It’s a pretty ambitious agenda, a clear shift in direction for the state. Achievements rarely rise to the level of expectations…. We are not electing a dictator so they can’t get everything they want.”
Little did he know how close he had described Walker’s first term in office.
During this year, Walker has passed legislation that has set Wisconsin back decades. Much of the legislation has been passed with a minimum of discussion or public input. Fifty-one bills were signed on the night of Thursday, April 5, and were publicized on Good Friday.
The Budget Repair Bill, which included the elimination of most collective bargaining rights for government workers was passed by the Assembly at 1 a.m. on Feb. 25. Despite strong opposition from Wisconsin residents, debate was cut off and with a hurried vote, lasting only 10-15 seconds, the bill was passed. Worthy legislation ought to be able to stand the light of day and be done in the open.
Besides taking away collective bargaining from government employees, Walker quietly signed a bill repealing the law which made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court.
Walker has proposed cuts in BadgerCare and wants to cut thousands of women, children and families off of BadgerCare. He eliminated state funds for Planned Parenthood, reducing access to vital heath care for Wisconsin women. He supports “parenthood” legislation which would ban all abortions, contraception and in-vitro fertilization in Wisconsin.
Continuing his war on women and families, Walker signed a bill to require schools teach that abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases if they teach sex education. He has also signed anti-choice bills that assume women cannot or should not make choices about their own health. He has further criminalized actions by doctors who disagree with this legislation. Insurance plans offered in Wisconsin are prohibited from covering some abortions.
Walker turned down government money for high speed rail in Wisconsin, only to change his mind later and request money to upgrade rail in Milwaukee. The money he turned down went to Illinois and several other states. The $810,000 could have been creating jobs in Wisconsin.
The voter ID law was signed, although statistics show that no significant voter fraud has occurred on the part of voters. The law is currently under review and a decision will not be issued until after the recall election in June. Voter suppression may be a promise that Walker will not be able to obtain for his friends at ALEC.
Concealed Carry legislation and what the NRA calls the Castle Doctrine, but what is more widely known as Stand Your Ground bills have been signed by Walker. I felt much safer before those laws were enacted. Frankly, the thought of being accidentally shot by someone carrying concealed or being caught in the cross-fire of angry concealed carriers, scares me.
Walker established a program that has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in merit raises and bonuses to some state workers. We reduced government workers rights and pay so he could give it out at will to his friends.
Walker signed a contentious bill recently that helps developers win wetland construction permits, achieving one of Republican lawmakers’ key goals for this legislative session. This opens the doors to loss of vital wetlands and will likely disturb the fragile ecosystem.
An executive order, once again attacking teachers unions, would restructure the formula by which teachers are paid. Now cost-of-living adjustments would be figured not on the teacher’s last year’s wage, but on the base wage for the district. This would result in a significant reduction of wages for experienced teachers and those with higher degrees. It leaves little incentive for furthering their education and is a disincentive for future teachers. Dedication is admirable, but a teacher must also eat.
Walker boasted that he would create jobs in Wisconsin. After a year, Wisconsin is dead last in jobs and 12,000 jobs have been lost. He has taken our rights and taken us backwards.
Walker’s legislation has greatly reduced morale and quality of life for Wisconsin families. He has stripped the rights of workers in favor of enriching his business friends and contributors. For these reasons, I will be voting to recall him from office on June 6. Please join me and nearly 1.7 million signers of the recall petitions, in removing Walker and his cronies from office.