Reflections: The Frontline of Wisconsin Recall

June 18, 2012

I recently had the Privilege to co-lead a Team in Wausau Wisconsin with Julia Hodges, Executive Director of the MS Tea Party, for Tea Party Patriots. It was truly an amazing learning and growing experience. Wisconsin is a beautiful state with warm, welcoming people, endless miles of beautiful farmland, Rustic Barns and homes, and the most amazing Cheese I have ever tasted. (Side note, If you have never tasted, tried or heard of cheese curds, they are an amazing delicacy . My family says I am obsessed but I seriously digress.) Masked behind the serenity and peace of the country side was political chaos. As in all political races, signs dotted the highways and yards but as you talked to the people of the state you began to see the real toll the months of uncertainty had delivered. I watched the protests on TV, followed the story closely over the months but being on the ground and seeing it play out in real life, made the importance of the outcome clear and the anger palpable.

I have never seen a State so divided and seemingly held hostage by the agenda of a powerful special interest group that represents a few but has unprecedented power and influence. It appeared to me after talking to residents that Public Unions supported by Private Unions were the driving force behind the recall. We encountered neighbor against neighbor, and this is no exaggeration. We witnessed neighbors literally curse and yell at each other in their front yards. There were wars of Yard Signs in Neighborhoods in which Yard Signs were forbidden and the argument always centered around public unions. Businesses took bold stands against the Recall and posted Signs in or in front of businesses, an act unheard of prior to the Recall Election, because Unionized Shops stood for the Recall. We had doors slammed in our faces, we were cursed out, chased, by pro-recallers and had a couple stop to express loudly and explicitly their displeasure with our being opposed to the Recall. We had Anti-Recall Supporters wave, give us thumbs up, stop and thank us, and while a some from our group were sign waving at intersections, a lady stopped and gave them a big box of doughnut holes accompanied with a big thank you.

Many people on both sides talked at length about the toll the Recall, divisiveness and political Chaos was taking on their state. Many people who voted against Walker in the First election planned to vote for him in the Recall, simply because they felt Walker did nothing to merit being recalled. Traditionally, Recalls are reserved for Officials that have committed Crimes or Misdemeanors. Repeatedly the discussion surrounded the single most important point, Is is appropriate to launch a recall and spend tens of millions of Tax dollars on the process SIMPLY because a special Interest group does not like policies of an Official who Ran on Reform and did exactly what he promised in his election campaign.

In a 1937 Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Patron Saint of the Labor Movement, issued this warning to president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, Roosevelt reasoned:

“… Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the government. All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations … The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for officials to bind the employer. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives …

“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees. Upon employees in the federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people. This obligation is paramount. A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent to prevent or obstruct Government. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government is unthinkable and intolerable.”.

It seems Unions and our Elected Officials across the Country have done “We the people” a great disservice. They forgot or ignored the warning of FDR and have been encouraging, facilitating and creating crisis in Cities and States across the Country. Wisconsin became ground zero and a symbol of the fight we as a nation face to rein in the power, influence and control the Public Sector Unions have over our elected officials in States Nationally. The significant of the election was NOT lost on the people of Wisconsin. Bumper Stickers and Yard signs were seen across the state that reflected this process. My favorite signs were “Recall Santa, I did not get what I wanted for Christmas” and “Scott Walker represents all of Wisconsin, not just a spoiled few”. I think these signs adequately relay the anger surrounding this action. The ill will against force Unionization and the use of Union due to support political candidates and issues with which many members oppose can be seen in the sharp decrease in Union Numbers since Gov. Walker’s reforms became law. Douglas Belkin and Kris Maher outlined the exodus from Public Unions in the Wall Street Journal that Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—the state’s second-largest public-sector union fell from 62,818 in February from 28,745 in March 2011. 7,000 of AFT’s 17,000 member has also quit since the Reforms. Prior to reforms, The State was REQUIRED to withdraw dues from the pay of State Employees. Now Employees actually can choose to continue being a member. For lower salaried employees, the 300+ Union due is now additional income to provide for family needs. The National Educators Ass refused to comment on losses if any.

I have been asked how Tea Party Patriots (TPP) became involved in the Recall. Tea Party Patriots were requested by Wisconsin Tea Party Leaders to come and and help fight the recall process. At the time of the request, it appeared that Scott Walker was in serious jeopardy of losing the Governorship via the Recall. TPP does not endorse candidates, but stand for causes that support our Mission to restore America’s founding principles and return our Government to a Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets. The Wisconsin Battle was a perfect example of goals we are working to achieve. Wisconsin Taxpayers and their Government were held hostage by Special Interests Unions using threats of strike, Funding of Political Candidates, Nationwide Recalls, and using the children in their classrooms as PR tools against parents to advance an agenda that was not in the best interest of the children or State as a whole.

Volunteers from across the country volunteered and took time off from work and family to travel to Wisconsin to help fight the recall. Many volunteers ended up staying 2 weeks as conditions on the ground changed. During our door to door polling, phone banking and discussions with the people in the state, we discovered a people angry, frustrated and very determined. Over overwhelmingly, most people we encountered recognized that they were pawns in a high stakes political game being played by Public Sector Unions in Wisconsin. Repeatedly, people voiced frustration with the $20 Million in Tax Dollars spent on the recall, the entitlement mentality of those pushing the Recall and demanding benefits and perks that would bankrupt a business in the Private Sector. Even under the Walker reforms, Public employees in Wisconsin are still paid more than their private sector counterparts. The damage done to the state capital during the Siege on Capital during the Madison Union Protests was also a huge factor and concerns that the Public Sector Unions have influence with elected Officials and threat of strike, work stoppage enforcing that view. The March on Madison and damage that ensued validated these concerns. Over $1 Million in damage was done to the State’s Capital Building with historical artifacts damaged beyond repair. Damage to the Capital was a sore spot with the people of Wisconsin. The damage was viewed as the a symbol of the utter disrespect for the Taxpayers demonstrated by leaders pushing an agenda over common sense. This frustrated voiced repeatedly and was clearly demonstrated on election night.

Our Team was centered in Wausau Wisconsin, the Seat of the only open Senatorial Seat in the Recall. So it was a key area. We encounter voter fatigue in mass. In our Door to Door Polling we found 4 to 1 in favor of Walker so
as the election approached, and I heard poll numbers on the national news that showed the race in a dead heat, it was amusing because we were getting a vastly different response not just in Wausau, but at our other stations across the state. Election Night results proved vindication and jubilation! Our final numbers were right on the money with the outcome of the vote!

Living in Mississippi, a “Right to Work” State, seeing the impact of Forced Unionization policies was disturbing, but it is also a real issue for the people of Wisconsin. I met a women that was forced to pay union dues for 3 years but was never given membership into Union, never received benefits or protection under the Union for Collective bargaining. So what is the justification for taking her money money for 3 years without a service being provided? She called it State sponsored Extortion and it is stunning if you think about it. It reminds me of the Mafia movies I have seen where businesses or individuals are forced to pay “Protection” money weekly or monthly for protection from the very people providing the so-call protection. If I walked in and demanded money to “protect” you, you would laugh me out of the building and hopefully call the police. In forced Unionization states, they do not have this choice. The elected officials are facilitating the extortion. How is it that Unions have gained so much power among elected officials that Employees are forced to join a union against their will and forced to pay large chucks of their hard earned money to an organization even when they are not receiving the services/benefits? Public Unions represent a minority of the population but use political donations, heavy lobbying and the threat of interruption of vital services to negotiate contracts that would bankrupt a Private Business. Public sector negotiators bargain at “arms length” and usually do not directly benefit from the outcome of the contracts. In Public Union settings, the Negotiator sits on both sides on the table and directly benefits from the outcome of the contract. The trade off for unsustainable Union Contracts seem to donations and the full weight of the Union to get the Official Reelection thus comes the unholy alliance on the backs of the Taxpayers .

Another story gleaned from frustrated a Wisconsin was a Union Member that was paying almost $14,000 a year for his families’ insurance coverage through the Union. He planned to vote for Walker in opposition to the Recall because under the Walker reforms his Health Insurance premiums were going to be reduced from over $1200 a month to just $200 a month through competitive bidding. How you ask? The Union OWNS a Insurance Company and under their Contract, the State HAS to use that company for Employee Insurance. There is no bidding process or Cost Comparison for Better Rates etc. Under the Walker Reforms, the Bidding Process has been instituted and Cities and Employees of Public Unions are reaping the benefit. The stories like this are plentiful and I could go on and on. On election night, Local Citizens came by to watch the results with us. Upon declaration of the Walker win, one of the Gentlemen broke down in tears and called the past 2 years a hostage situation in which all Wisconsians were being held. He explained that the fear among the citizenry of a loss by Walker would spell doom for Wisconsin.

It is time for Conservatives across Mississippi and the Country to use the Strategy used in Wisconsin to reclaim our Cities, Counties, States and Nation. We can only stop the destructive polices being used to dismantle<a href=" our nation if we each do our part and going to the ballot box is simply not enough. Right now our country is economically and politically in free fall. The policies of “Pay to Play”, spend big and pay much later must come to an end. We must repeat the Wisconsin Action as the November election approaches in Swing States. It is time for Mississippians/Americans to step outside our comfort zones and get in the political trenches. It does not take a commitment of three weeks to make you mark. Volunteering for campaign on a National, State or Local level simply requires committing a few Saturdays to do door to door, a couple of hours to phone bank from the comfort of your home and GETTING INVOLVED IN YOUR LOCAL TEA PARTY AND ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL WITH TEA PARTY PATRIOTS! A singular voice has a limited range so add your voice to a unified roar of Millions and become the voice of REAL change.

Thank you to Jenny Beth Martin and Tea Party Patriots for the opportunity to make a difference in such a key race. The attempt to Recall Walker and the 6 Republican Senators was a clear attempt by the Left to intimidate and nullify the vote of the citizens of Wisconsin. The Slogan of the Wisconsin was “Save Wisconsin, Save the Country”. We saved Wisconsin from continued political chaos and the nation from a repeated Nationwide epidemic of Recall Campaigns against anyone with the courage to stand against the Progressive policies of destruction. After Wisconsin, I KNOW there is hope for our country! I have seen it in the stores, neighborhoods, playgrounds and faces of the people of Wisconsin.It is time to take this strategy to the swing states as the battle for the Heart and Soul of our Nation heats up!! We Saved Wisconsin, Now lets save the Country!




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