For Immediate Release
March 10, 2011
Contact: Senator Jauch
I have deeply respected the mature, responsible and thoughtful manner in which hundreds of thousands of citizens have politely exercised free speech in protesting Governor Walker’s proposal to end 52 years of collective bargaining. People who represent different political views and who come from all walks of life in Wisconsin have united in the effort to fight against this assault on workers rights. The Governor’s proposal has given the citizens their voice back and they have been passionately expressing that voice in an attempt to urge a compromise on the bill.
Had the Senate Democrats not left the state this bill would have been passed in five days, disenfranchising the hundreds of thousands who have protested throughout our state and who have contacted their legislators urging compromise on this bill. I have received from constituents 4,822 email contacts in opposition to the bill and 770 in support of the Governor’s proposal. The simple fact is that these citizens would not have had the opportunity to express their views because the bill would have been passed two weeks ago.
Our decision to leave the state strengthened democracy by enabling citizens to be more personally engaged in their government. Last night’s swift and possibly illegal vote turned the lights out on democracy in Wisconsin. Today Governor Walker had the gall to suggest that he “wanted a civil debate that would respect the rights of others.” His comments are an insult to all citizens who understand that his legislation was specifically designed to eliminate the rights of workers.
Citizens have a right to feel duped and frustrated that their voices fell on the deaf ears of the Governor and the extremist control of the legislative republicans. I call upon all citizens to rise above the pathetic behavior of some of these elected officials and politely, respectfully and diligently apply their energy to engage in the political process to recall legislators who so blindly ignored the will of the people.
March 10, 2011
Contact: Senator Jauch
Statement from Senator Bob Jauch
It is a dark moment in Wisconsin history. Senate Republican swift and possibly illegal action to end collective bargaining was political thuggery in its worst form. The moment will be recorded as the time the lights went out on democracy in Wisconsin.
The manner in which they so quickly rammed the bill through without explanation was more like a political coup that you would see in a third world country than in the Wisconsin statehouse long revered throughout our great state. They brought shame upon the institution and exposed the Governor and Republican lawmakers as frauds.
The dramatic parliamentary maneuver to strip collective bargaining from the fiscal bill shows that the debate was never about fiscal responsibility, but was always about eliminating bargaining rights for workers. In their desperate attempt to attack unions they lied to the citizens of Wisconsin.
As one who had been actively working to achieve a compromise to protect collective bargaining I am appalled by the shameful conduct of the Governor and Republican lawmakers who showed contempt for the citizens of Wisconsin. Republicans turned a deaf ear to the hundreds of thousands of citizens who passionately believed that their voice would be heard.
Predictably, the Senate Republicans will try to blame someone else for their reprehensible behavior. They may have had the votes to exercise this abuse of power, but they have lost in the eyes of public opinion.
Everyone watching this mockery of democracy is appalled by the Republican behavior that once again stifled the voice of the Assembly Democratic leader in their rush to end worker rights.
Following the vote several Republican lawmakers were seen exchanging high fives and cheering as though they had scored a touchdown. Their gleeful celebration demonstrates a cynical disregard for their duty to serve the people instead of radical ideology.
Their action doesn’t end the debate, it intensifies it. The Republicans may think they have stifled workers rights, but they can’t silence the hundreds of thousands of voices who begin today to restore those rights.
Just heard Wisconsin Public Radio news this morning about tourism in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker will promote tourism with money devoted to tourism. He plans to spend $11 million in 2011 and over $13 million in 2012. The Governor mentioned that putting money towards tourism will lead to 250,000 jobs. Governor Walker stated that people living in Illinois and Minnesota are more likely to come to Wisconsin instead of planning cross-country vacation trips. This is one area that the Governor is protecting; and I must say that being an executive director of a nonprofit environmental education organization this is good news because we implemented a Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI. Shell Lake is ready to invite visitors to our fair city.
There is always two sides to a story. I am concerned that the Governor is keeping money for recreation on the upbeat at the same time that he slices through the Social Programs that are the core of human dignity services that protect the old, infirmed, single adults and disabled. Health care provider organizations and social workers have worked hard over the past few years to ensure that all Wisconsin residents are treated with respect in the area of health care. Many of these special angels of mercy believe in having medical insurance for the poor and the uninsured. As a senior, I know the Budget Repair Bill may take away SeniorCare prescription coverage. This is an affordable plan. How will seniors be able to afford medicine without a wonderful program such as SeniorCare?
I did hear from Senator Jauch today via email with excerpts as follows: “This is an historic moment. We didn’t plan for it, but citizens have seized the opportunity to protect the values, traditions and rights that make Wisconsin special. I stand by my decision to leave Wisconsin to go to the Land of Lincoln to protect these values. When history records our time I wish to be on the right side of protecting workers and not on the wrong side of eliminating workers’ rights.
I hope that the Governor and the Republicans will soon realize that their obligation is to listen to the overwhelming majority of the citizens of our wonderful state and not adhere to the rigid ideologues who don’t care about good government in our state.
Wisconsin policies have always been a beacon to the rest of the nation. It is my hope that we can find a resolution that protects worker rights and taxpayer and preserves collective bargaining. Such an agreement can lead to unity instead of division and enable us to then work together to improve our economy and move Wisconsin forward.”