As Wisconsin citizens prepare to vote June 5 on whether to recall Gov. Scott Walker, the latest polls show the race between Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is a statistical dead heat.
The vote is the culmination of a turbulent year and a half in which tens of thousands of Wisconsinites came together to oppose Walker's efforts to ram through legislation to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights. Voters recalled two of the governor's Republican allies in the state Senate who helped pass the anti-worker legislation, and Walker's opponents gathered a remarkable 1 million signatures to force the June 5 recall election. All along the way, AFT members and affiliates have played central roles in the movement to restore sanity and fairness to their state and its politics. They will be out in force all weekend and up until election day to finish the process of removing Walker from office.
While Barrett, who narrowly lost to Walker in the state's 2010 gubernatorial election, has run a strong campaign and closed the gap in polls that had shown him consistently behind, Walker is enjoying the generous support of wealthy allies around the country who have spent at least $30 million to keep him in office. Barrett doesn't have nearly as much money, but he has a strong and united collection of supporters from labor and the broader community who will be working hard to get out the vote. He also has been very effective at making the case for true leadership, rather than divisiveness, from the state's top official. (Barrett's debate performance against Walker has been roundly praised.)
The case against Walker extends far beyond his attacks on workers. It's a record of failed economic policies, cuts to education and healthcare, corruption and more. This link nicely summarizes "reasons to fire Walker."
While the Walker-Barrett race is getting the most attention, Walker's lieutenant governor and a number of state legislators also are facing recall. Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, is the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. [Dan Gursky, AFL-CIO/logo courtesy of Wisconsin AFL-CIO]
May 31, 2012